So, all living materials are fundamentally constructed of non-living atoms. All living things, can be broken down into 92 or so different atoms, 92 or so different pieces of all living puzzles. In fact, all things, living or not, all matter that exists, is made up or no more than 92 or so these different atoms, pieces, ‘building blocks’. Sounds like such a small number to me, to explain all that exists! Yet, then there’s the thought of computers, all ones and zeros, on or off, open or closed, only 2 ‘atoms’. So, 92, maybe its a big number actually.
Since humans have figured out how to play within the atom, not merely with them, but play inside them, the number of elements, or different kinds of atoms, has increased. Plutonium, for example, is ‘man-made’, and there are plutonium atoms existing on the Earth right now. However, some of the heavier ‘man-made’ elements only can exist for very short amounts of time, being radioactive, it decays quickly into a different element.
Life evolved on Earth with the 92, for the most part, and it is an inherent quality of the nature of atoms that life has come into existence. The most logical explanation for life being a favorable outcome of the nature of how atoms work and interact, is through the idea of energy transformations. The Universe has a powerful quality of trying to ‘share’ its energy evenly throughout the Universe, a quality also that could be termed entropy. Through this Universal function of ‘compassion’, atoms move and interact with this ‘compassion/sharing of energy’ quality. The energy transformations that occur between atoms are directed toward maximizing the amount of energy to be transferred, always transferring the energy from higher to lower, a giving quality. Living material, life, is composed of atoms in such a way that has formed a positive feedback loop of energy transformations. We, if you will, are, by default, all beings of compassion, sharing our energy, on the most basic level, with the rest of the Earth and Universe.
So, what is the level at which a level of organization by atoms form a relationship in which energy transformations are self-regulating does this become life? Well, I think it’s exactly when these energy transformations are self-regulating. If self-regulating doesn’t mean life, i don’t know what does!
So, thinking more about it, each atom is involved, they are the basis, the foundation, so the atoms, by the definition above, are in fact living. They are self-regulating energy transformations. For example, just as multicellular organism’s cells evolved by incorporating bacteria to make mitochondria, bacteria incorporated atoms to make a nucleus. Life envelops itself, wrapping and winding up, hugging and processing the energy, adding to the dance of the Universe.
Or something like that.
(I originally wrote this back in February 2010)