The Nature of Life
Welcome back! What is the basic mechanism of life? What is the relationship between man and all other life? Can science provide a basis for a philosophy for the human? The answers to these questions are in the basic elements of the foundation of all life.
Tradition is very strong in human thinking. A lifetime of learning that life consists of being born, having offspring and then dying produces a mind set. Relationships within families such as sister, mother, father, etc. are fundamental in our thinking. A human, we believe, is an individual, another human is a separate life. One must understand that the life forms produced by life are conceptual and that it is life itself which permeates all living things, and all life is one and the same.
DNA does not bear young, it grows into multiple copies. DNA is not born (created), it comes directly from the DNA before. DNA does not die unless something in its environment kills it. It is immortal except for accidental death. The living characteristics of life (DNA) are different from those of the organisms that it specifies.
This does not eliminate the very human need to separate and categorize when such is required for performing a task. Categorization is often necessary. The human consists of the male and female. The species consists of three races. The dog is one species, the cat another. What it does say is that life (DNA, the life force) is universal in all living things and that the essence of life, that which gives all things life, is the same life in all living things.
Survival then becomes a matter of the survival of life, not necessarily a particular species which by accident it formed as the result of its mindless interaction with the environment.
This then is fact: the human is a variation in life form produced by life (DNA).
Fact does not produce philosophy. It can only guide. Still, surely, a philosophy based on fact is more apt to be useful than one based on opinion, conjecture and fantasy
This text advances one thought, life is extremely close knit (so close in fact that it is one). Any philosophy we express must now be based on that.
No evidence is found (so far) that life has been endowed by the universe with any special purpose or value. It is merely a fact, a mechanical thing that follows the same rules as the rock. Life developed as the result of ways that compounds may be constructed, and how they fit together. If life has purpose or value, it must be assigned after the fact.
We are here, now what…?
If we wish to do so, we can look at this whole charade as nonsense, a cruel and stupid joke. If we adopt that attitude as the basis for our cultural philosophy, we will not be around long. If no one cares, the ending will be swift, and we would have wasted four billion years of pain and suffering.
Or we can look at it another way. We can define our own value and purpose, then seek to fulfill them. We can adopt the universe as our domain and set idealistic goals for ourselves, then strive to grow into our expectations. No one else sets our destiny for us. It is our responsibility. We write our own story. And we can make it as long and as pretty as we wish. Or end it quickly.
A description of the detail of a culture is a statement of the individual behaviors of the members in a group. It includes all that they do, both moral and immoral. The details of a culture may be ascertained by observation, a matter for sociology and psychology. But what forms a culture? Why do they differ so significantly? It develops from a group concept.
The human's concept of the human, and its position in the universe, is basic to all cultural thought.
The direction of a culture, its goals and aspirations, are established by its philosophy. The judgement of the culture, and of each behavioral element within that culture, then, is a matter of and for philosophy. A proper philosophy, therefore, is basic and necessary for the determination of a proper culture for the human. There are inherent restrictions on the form of that philosophy. A reasonable philosophy must fit the species. It can't be formed without full functional knowledge of that species. None of the ancients had access to that knowledge Modern philosophers ignore it. That knowledge must become a part of the philosophy.
Human philosophies have always been based on a particular concept of the human. Each philosopher defines the human then forms a philosophy for the human that fits with that definition. That definition has always been formed by considering the basic unit of human life as being the whole human. Therein lies the error. The facts of the human are far more complex. It is a philosophy of all life, which is needed, not of the human alone. That philosophy of life would then contain the required philosophy for the human and inherently provide the proper relationship between the human and all other life.
It is not that the human needs to take care of all other life as a moral obligation, though that is certainly true, it is that the human is a small part of life, but one which possesses a characteristic (intelligence) which is valuable to the survival and well being of all life. It was life which developed that intelligence, not the human, therefore its service is for all life, not merely the human. The human is, in that sense, a servant to life, a caretaker in the service of life, the good shepherd for all of life.
Watson and Crick announced the double helix construction of DNA in 1953. It changed the study of living organisms in an irrevocable manner. Biologists were the first hit. Their viewpoint was considerably altered. Until that announcement, organisms were studied on the basis of the organisms themselves. After that announcement, all life became studied on a molecular basis. This is causing (or should be causing) a restructuring of thought in every life science.
The genome project started the molecular study of the human. A torrent of information has resulted. The eventual redesign of the human by the human is inevitable. And that will not end the progression. The evolution of the human will not end when the human controls evolution. A progression of entirely new species, one after the other, is ensured.
Stephen Hawkings recently created a stir among the righteous academic elite when he made the statement that the human (its DNA) needed some competent engineering, which it would surely get someday in the future. One need look only at his physical condition to see that such engineering is a requirement, and that objections to such a course are hardly righteous. Once the survival of the human is insured, then attention can be turned to the problems and frailties of all other life.
A garden of Eden is possible, if our philosophy sets that as a goal.
In the same manner that life was studied on the basis of organisms, human study and the philosophy of that study has been on the basis of the human. The error is the same. A problem can't be solved from its middle. A philosophy, likewise, must begin with the beginning, and that is the dividing line between the animate and the inanimate, some four billion years before the beginning of man.
A philosophy of life must be in perfect harmony with life - from the beginning of life. Philosophy, as with all of the other studies of the human species, must start at the molecular level. And it must be a dynamic philosophy, one which can evolve as the human evolves.
Kemo D. (a.k.a. no.7)