Previous papers in this Notebook presented what we deemed ‘insurmountable’ problems with the Chemical model for the origin of Life. We also examined some enormous gaps in the Chemical model of Life. Most important to us is our interactive relationship with environmental information. To fill this Grand Canyon, we proposed our Attention model, complete with its own mathematical system, spatial time and even Realm of Existence.
Our model for Attention provided a plausible explanation for Life’s monitor and adjust relationship with information. However it did not address the origin of Life with its mutually interdependent systems. How did this incredibly complex, intricately interrelated system of systems emerge/arise? Answering this question is one of the greatest, even insurmountable, problems for the Chemical model for the origin of Life. In other words, neither Science’s Chemical model, nor our Attention model have been able to offer a solution to the origin of the mutually interdependent systems of the original Mother Cell.
To fill this gap, we developed our Higher Power model for the origin of Life. Our model has two stages:
1) Providence arranged a series of ‘divine/impossible’ coincidences that were based upon the emergent properties of the ever-greater complexity of self-organizing Matter. In other words, the Universe carefully and intentionally set up the material conditions necessary for the first bacterium – the Mother of all Life.
2) Once everything was in place, i.e. all material systems ready to go, this Higher Force infused Matter with Attention. After the enzymes, membrane, cytoskeleton and cytoplasm were all assembled, it is at this point that Matter became Life – the Mother Cell. Attention’s image overlay process for digesting information conferred a sense of time. This temporal sense was a necessary prerequisite for the cell’s holistic system along with its ability to monitor and adjust to environmental information.
Our Providence model for the origin of Life on our fair planet evokes a big question: What are the logical implications of the model? What inferences can and can’t be drawn from the facts and assumptions of our model?
To better understand potential implications, let us first flesh out our assumptions. Step 1: A Higher Power (Providence, Heaven, Universe, whatever) organized the necessary physical circumstances (the material substrate) for the formation of Life. Not only did this entail arranging self-organizing Matter in sufficient concentration, the process also necessitated gathering the right ingredients. In like manner, the alchemist or cook must first procure the necessary elements before performing the experiment or baking the cake.
For instance (under our model), this Divine Force (whatever personal pronoun you desire: he/she/they/it) must have played with extreme probabilities to arrange for some watery asteroids to collide with the proto-Earth. This water eventually provided an atmosphere for our raw planet – raw in the sense that it was exposed to passing asteroids, meteors and even planets.
Prior to the coming of the watery asteroids, the surface of our fledgling planet was pockmarked as a result of these inter-planetary collisions. The watery atmosphere protected the skin of our soon-to-be fair Earth. Otherwise we would have just been an ordinary planet, i.e. one whose surface is endlessly cratered due countless explosive gravitational crashes between celestial masses – like our celestial neighbors, Mercury, Mars and our Moon.
The arrival of Water was the birth of our Earth as we know it. Indeed geologists deem this time 4.6 billions ago as the date for our planet’s beginning.
Arrival of Water = Birth of our Earth
Prior to water – our current home was just a commonplace lump of matter.
Shortly after water came us – Life. It only took 700 or 800 million years (not even a billion years) for the formation of the first self-replicating bacterium.
Universe: “To arrange this celestial collision was not a simple matter, excuse the pun. Watery asteroids are fairly rare. Then to guide them to their permanent home (4 billion years and going strong) is quite a logistical feat. A divine push here – a divine push there. Playing with probabilities. Not an easy task.
Of course, you might argue that somebody had to take this collision. It was inevitable. The laws of probability over such an enormous expanse of time demands this type of explosive interaction.
But not any celestial object would do. I had to arrange this collision with the Perfect Planet – one where Water would make a crucial difference.
• Just the right planetary mass
(not too big - gaseous, not too small – not enough variation)
• Just the right distance from the Sun (not too hot; not too cold);
The temperatures in a range that would activate the water cycle;
Frozen, Liquid and Gas à to power the pump that energizes Life.
• A nearby Moon of sufficient size to create the tides to shake things up
• Spinning on her axis at just the right speed (not too fast; not too slow).
Creating the rotisserie conditions to slow bake my Creation to perfection.
Combined with Water, these unique conditions enabled the dynamic climate that Life requires to survive and thrive.
Water + Perfect Planet = Life
It took a lot of advanced planning to achieve this ‘miraculous’ feat. My scientists worked overtime to provide the precise calculations.”
Our supposed Higher Power must have been able to plan far into the future (hundreds of million years as a low estimate). However as Einstein and Dirac stated: if there is a God, he must be a superb mathematician. In other words, with sophisticated material equations, She/They could have anticipated just when and where to push and pull to move a celestial mass on and off course. Perpetually keeping it on the Path. After all Matter is deterministic.
As the ultimate mathematician/physicist, our Higher Power could easily predict the precise course of Matter. However, this ability does not imply that She could predict the future of Life. Similarly astrophysicists can plot the course of a rocket-ship centuries into the future, but are unable to anticipate what their children will do one day in the future.
Higher Power: “Creating Life was an experiment with an unknown result. Providing us with some excitement. A welcome diversity from boring old predictable Matter – forever stuck in time’s linear (horizontal) dimension – eternally obeying the same old laws – over and over and over again. We were ready for something fresh and yes alive.
What was the special ingredient that turned a lifeless lump of entropic mass into a living, organizing cell?
We decided to infuse perfectly arranged Matter with an information digestion system that confers the ability to interact, not just react, with a dynamic environment. This ID system includes the capacity for Attention and Choice. We instilled this first Matter with the ability to sense the past, create models to organize the present, and anticipate the future. This temporal sense combined with analytical abilities enabled my progeny to make better choices in order to survive, replicate, evolve and pass on information.
Whoa! It wasn’t easy. But once Life came she was and is such a Joy! So spontaneous and unpredictable. Love my Life.
Only one dimension of linear time
Obedient equations, eternal boundary lines,
Law-driven and continuous.
How predictably boring!
But ultimately Real.
Spatial time both linear and spiral – material and experiential.
Whoa! What a ride!
Recursive functions – feedbacks loops – Disobedient Equations!
The mathematics of living systems
Never can tell where they are going.
All those damned fractalized boundary lines. Yikes!
How unpredictably thrilling
But immersed in Image- ination.
Never know what is next.
Whoa! To just assemble the materials necessary for Life took a lot of advance planning – billions of years if we include the fine subatomic structure that was necessary to even enable the formation of galaxies and solar systems. A little less structure and just formless gas; a little more and too blunt. Goldilocks effect again; the early organization had to be just right.
We are attributing this fine detail along with the perfection of Earth for the formation of Life to a Higher Power. What are the implications of our model? Let us start with the ideas or beliefs that can not be inferred from our Higher Power Model of Life’s Creation.
Even if a Providential Force was involved in the formation and enlivening of the first bacterium, this does not imply that the Bible is the Word of God, that Allah is the one and only God, or that the Buddha is the ultimate source of Wisdom. Plus, traditional attributes of divinity such as just, loving, all-knowing, omniscient, kind or vengeful are all beyond the reach of our Higher Power Model.
Further, we cannot infer from our Model that there is only one God, that there is a Prime Mover, or that everything is predestined due to divine sources or scientific laws. In fact, we argue in another article1 that determinism was, at least in part, science-derived. Ptolemy’s mathematical system enabled the precise prediction of planetary position – both into the past and into the future. Employing this material logic of the heavens as a conceptual metaphor2, ancient priests and philosophers inferred a god that was all-knowing and a Universe that was deterministic. Modern science ran with this baton, but excluded God from this formulation.
In contrast to determinism, scientific or otherwise, our model simply holds that the God(s) was a superior mathematician/physicist (ala Dirac) who was able to predict and thereby manipulate material behavior. However, this divine predictive ability does not apply to living behavior. In addition to the Material Realm, Life also participates in the Realm of Attention. This unique (orthogonal) realm of existence enables choice. Just like modern day scientists, our Higher Power can predict (is all-knowing) the behavior of Matter, but not the behavior of Life.
Indeed, we suggest that Heaven infused Matter with Attention out of boredom. Just like humans, They/She were afflicted/blessed by the Boredom Principle, i.e. pain from shrinking Deviations. Tired of Matter’s predetermined regularity, the Divine Force created Life – a unitary entity with the ability to choose. This living capacity for choice results in endless unexpected, unpredictable results. Enlivened by this spontaneity, Divine Boredom was and is alleviated (like the choice to have children).
As the Divine Purpose could be, although not necessarily, the alleviation of Boredom, we cannot infer a Grand Purpose or Design. It is possible to infer (not necessarily) these attributes (a sense of meaning or purpose) from experience, but not from the event – Divine Creation. Rather than heading anywhere in particular, it could be that we are just supposed to be ourselves. Just like ideal parents, it is possible that the Higher Power wants us to manifest our innate nature, wherever that leads us – joy and happiness or pain and suffering. Of course, these are merely personal projections of possibilities that negate the notion of Divine Purpose or Goal (such as Armageddon).
While most religious beliefs are beyond the scope of our model, it is possible to infer a few basic principles. The Higher Power model of Creation does imply that:
1) Life has an immaterial component. According to our model, the ‘higher power’ infused the first self-replicating bacterium with the ability to interact with immaterial information, e.g. immaterial models based upon memories derived from immaterial experience.
It is also possible to infer from this model that this higher power has a:
2) Sense of time along with an Intentional relationship with Information In order to manipulate matter with the purpose of setting up the necessary conditions for Life, They/She/It must have had some kind of temporal sense. Under this perspective, the Higher Power simply infused inanimate Matter with the divine attributes, i.e. the ability to interact with information via presumably an image overlay process.
3) Meaning Due to the complicated planning involved, we must assume that this Divine Power had some kind of reason for creating Life. This reason implies that He/She/They had a meaningful existence – to create the first bacterium and see where this leads. However, let us not fall into a common logical fallacy. Just because some Events seem to have a hidden ‘divine’ meaning does not imply that all Events have divine meaning.
4) ‘Divine’ Force possesses Will, albeit mysterious (unknowable), and acts with Intent. Random forces have no Will and thereby don’t have the capacity for playing with probabilities. Manipulating extreme Deviations in order to set up the conditions for Life, indicates some kind of desire, a will to achieve this end, and the ability to execute the plan.
We can go along with this Will or resist. Signs are everywhere.
Overall, our Model indicates that our Higher Power/Heaven/the Universe/Providence, whatever, has an Information Digestion System just like ours. The main difference is the models that He/She/They are working with are on a much higher level of complexity – orders of magnitude more complex.
Could the Universe have created Life in order to have someone to play with? Maybe He/She/They was lonely and/or bored.
Divine Force: 1) manipulates Matter to set up conditions necessary for Life
2) infuses Matter with Attention to create Life.
Rather than violating material laws, the Universe plays with extreme, ‘impossible’ probabilities. In other words, He/She/They manipulated events to create a series of ‘divine coincidences’.
The God of Divine Coincidence is a feature of many, if not most, religious traditions.
1. Greek gods guide affairs via manipulated emotions, e.g. love and hate. In the Iliad, Aphrodite infuses Paris with an undying passion for Helen, which leads inevitably to the highly significant Trojan Wars. Plus they arrange for happenstance (coincidental) meetings. Rather than controlling every action, they watch with interest as events unfold. Their position is more akin to active parents than omniscient beings.
2. The Christian God is frequently associated with Providence. God works through the Holy Spirit to manipulate events to manifest divine Will. The German poet Goethe has a great quote about Providence. Once aligned, there will be random meetings, books and circumstances that forward your Path.
3. The Chinese have a construct called Heaven. The logic between Chinese Heaven and our Higher Power is exceedingly similar. The first Chinese classic, the I Ching, reveals the Way of Heaven via random events. In similar fashion to our Higher Power model, Heaven is able to manipulate how yarrow sticks fall to reveal the best course.
Chinese Heaven ≈ Higher Power (in our Life’s Creation Model)
The Mandate of Heaven speaks through events to reveal Heaven’s Will. Example: A lightning storm destroys a large section of the Ming Emperor’s construction project, the Forbidden Palace. The falling timbers kills his favorite concubine. Due to denuding forests for his building, there are riots in Vietnam, a previously stable territory. These events revealed that Heaven was not happy with him. He had presumably lost the Mandate.
The Emperor consulted his advisors as to why Heaven was displeased. They told him that Heaven was not happy because he was focusing upon building, business, and international exploration, at the expense of the commoners, who were starving due to exploitation and neglect. To appease Heaven, his advisors counseled him to pull back from his current Side Path (international exploration and expensive building projects) and tend his populace. Taking their advice, he withdrew behind Chinese boundaries.
In order to appease Heaven and regain the Mandate, the Emperor made an abrupt about-face - from outward-looking international China to inward-looking domestic China. This move opened the way for European dominance, thereby changing the course of history
4. For spiritual people, our modern Universe is similar to Chinese Heaven. Moderns believe that the Universe speaks through events. This orientation is revealed in the following typical sentence. ‘The Universe seems to be telling me to pull back.’
Chinese Heaven ≈ Modern Universe (spiritual)
5. Islam/Christianity has a common message. Let God/Heaven/Allah’s will be done.
A common theme for a higher power runs through many diverse cultures (East/West, Islam/Christianity, ancient/modern spiritual, science). Although framed in a variety of ways, the underlying theme is the same. A Higher Power (Providence/Heaven/Universe) plays a role in Cosmic events via divine coincidence. As such, the belief seems to be a human universal; an experience shared by many humans despite differing cultural contexts.
Our Higher Power Model for the origin of Life is analogous to these formulations of Living Experience. In like fashion, our Higher Power manipulates seemingly random coincidences to create Life.
‘Let the Universe/Heaven decide.’ (Variant: ‘May Allah’s Will be done.’)
Let us unpack this loaded comment. What does this phrase imply? What are the underlying/implicit assumptions behind the seemingly simple statement?
1) The Universe makes better decisions than me or any other human.
2) The Universe acts through seemingly random events. These fall in the ‘possible, but highly improbable’ events/outcomes category.
3) The Universe has a Will, but with Mysterious motivations. We can guess what these motivations might be. Yet our guesses are not definitive, rather mere speculation.
4) Aligning with Divine Will is the best course.
AA provides a great example of this mentality. One of their famous 12 steps is to place trust in a higher power. Rather than assume complete personal responsibility for good or bad fortune, Life’s circumstances are under Heaven/Universe/God’s control for better or worse. It’s out of our hands.
There are choices. We can choose to align with this Divine Wave, ignore, or fight it. According to this model, it is best to align.
Chinese, Muslims, Christians and Moderns of a spiritual bent all frequently employ statements such as these to communicate a common sentiment. This commonality across time, space, and culture is also aligned with our Higher Power Model.
The underlying logic is straightforward. If our Higher Power can arrange for the Creation of Life, it must be wise and Providential (active). As it is obviously wiser than us humans, we would be smart to go along with Divine Plan. Don’t resist. Don’t get in the Way.
Our Life Creation Model indicates that the Divine Force is Providential, i.e. an active energy rather than a passive force.
Divine Force ≈ Providential
Divine Force = an Active Intentional Energy; not Passive Reactive Force
One significant qualification:
No violating the laws of nature;
Rather manipulating extreme (miraculous) probabilities
with an intentional purpose – a deliberate goal.
Providence ≠ Violating Laws of Nature
Providence ≈ Manipulating Extreme Probabilities
This is excellent news for my writings! If the Universe can create Life by playing with extreme probabilities, They/He/She can easily arrange to have someone discover and promote my scientific writings. Child’s play compared to the Creation of Life.
If I have confidence in the Higher Power Model, then I must trust the Universe. Life's circumstance are not under my control. Yippee!
Great News: It’s out of my Hands!
2 Cognitive scientists have established that our primary way of understanding reality is via ‘conceptual metaphor’ – employing the logic of a known system to understand an unknown system. In this case, ancient thinkers employed the predestined logic of celestial objects to understand the nature of the gods or God. See Ptolemy & Monotheism, Notebook 61:2. As I have contended elsewhere (Living Logic vs. Material Logic, Notebook 43), deterministic material logic is helpless before the holistic, interactive aspect of living systems. As such, the Calculus-based model of Matter cannot be employed to obtain a complete understanding of reality, as many 21st century philosophers and scientists continue to maintain.