The enigma of life – the spark, the processes

Life unfolds all around us – there is growth, reproduction, perishing organisms, mutations, we have started cloning plants and animals, we modify the genes of organisms, we make new organisms (very simple so far). Life science is a “new” science where understanding what life is presumably is a central point.

Science is in a precarious situation – the discoveries are detailed only and technological, answers to the big questions elude us. The integrated completeness is not there and questions are coming up all over.

One of the really big questions is: What is life? What starts it, why does it continue to run, how does it relate to the larger environment, why does it stop, what happens after we perish?

Cells are alive, they are aggregated, they work together, they communicate, they make physical and mental processes possible. Man is a living machine whose movements you can control, you can start and stop thinking about whatever you want to. There is a physical aspect, biology, chemistry, a coordinative system integrating all the cells of the organism.

The organism is usually very stable, it lasts for a long time, but at some point it stops and perishes – life ends – we can not start the organism again.

What is it that starts it – the impulse of life, why does it end, what is it that breaks down, why can we not repair it so that we can continue?

These questions have not been answered, our mindset is scientific, we must measure and formulate and can not, we must repair, but we can not.

Today we can only partly answer these questions, the sciences can only give part answers, the sciences are not set up to answer question like these. But there is hope – “life science” is being organised – a new science is developing. We need that – science as we know is heavily specialised – the overview is lacking. We need revolutionaries – Newton was one – we need several more now.

The organisms are built from small molecules or atoms – measured in Ångstrøms or 10 to the power of 1o fractions of a meter. Molecules and cells are electromagnetic structure, quantum mechanics apply – the world of physics must be included to find an explanation.

When we are conceived by cell joining cell, growth starts and cells divide and grow based on laws or rules, about 40-60 times, cell divisions take place depending on the task of the cell. The technical term is mitosis so that the growth is within pre-ordained limits, there is a recipe in your chromosomes or genes which follow you all the way. You get half from your mother and half from your father. Meiosis is reproduction, also following strict rules.

A some stage during this growth consciousness is created, we start to feel, to act and react, to become independent – later to think and behave consciously.

Our food is made from water, air, nutrients, complex processes driven by light – we need food to energize ourselves, we use energy and emit heat, the laws of thermodynamics apply – we are a thermodynamic system also. The chemical processes of our metabolism take up the food and processes it, keeping cells alive, giving us enegy to perform our daily tasks. The balance is always tight, there is always control. Surprisingly the metabolism is only partly understood – we can not even say for sure what happens to fats, proteins, carbohydrates when they enter our system.

The processes have been described in statistical terms, the probability of these results is high – we need information theory and probability theory. Man is a self-organizing system – on a detailed level the rules of quantum mechanics apply. Therefore the development of man is an outcome of probabilty, the time aspect must be solved, the processes are stable and irreversible and can not be fully explained by modern deterministic science.

Life is matter that chooses through development, cells come from bacteria, it is connected to all other developments in the eco-system. This development goes on and on, it has for millions of years, and will never stop.

This description is clearly jumping about and in and out, but the new life science must set itself the task of pulling together all these factors that involve the living organism – it is clearly interdisciplinary in a wide sense – include sociology, philosophy, psychology as well as the physical sciences.

The spiritual side is completely missing – where does thought arise, what is it. The same goes for emotion, instinct where knowledge is lacking fundamentally. Are we afraid to find out or is it too big for us?

If we can explain the mysteries of life illnesses like cancer, mental disorders, death, feeding, attentiveness can be better understood and handled.

Judging by what we seem to know today the present time is hugely lacking in understanding. We now frown upon the Middle Ages and the knowledge people had, but in 300 years time people will frown upon us: How little they knew!

So let us move on – into the future. The key to it all is interdisciplinary work – the scientific silos or barriers between branches of science that we have made is a huge hindrance to progress. We have lost the overview and must find it again. So get going, all you lasses and lads!

See: Schrødinger, Prigogine, Margoulis a.o.

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