Saturday, September 22, 2007

Weird dream

So I had a dream where I was trying to survive some trip with sentient robots (think Transformers) on another planet, but it became a sort of nightmare as we were attacked by another species of sentient robots. Yeah I know it's nuts, but it got me thinking - what defines something as alive? The difference between a rock and a rabbit. Between honeybees and cell phones. There is a delineation between the animated and non-animated.

The key definition is an independent will to survive. That's the only thing which defines a living organism. All life wants to continue. All life does not want to end.

But it makes you wonder about the grand Origin. Where did the first cells come from - recent experiments show how life can evolve almost exponentially in certain situations (e.g. complexity theory) but the start of that life is still undetermined. Some cite God or divinity, but I imagine the truth is a bit more complicated or even simpler than a one-all, be-all answer.

Though I haven't followed outerspace research, I wonder if one day we find organic residue or fossils on other planets. This would be important, not just as evidence of past life on other planets, but also as support for a hypothesis of mine - that perhaps Earth is a successful experiment of life, while the rest of the planets in our solar system are not. Which alternatively makes me wonder how life could begin and then evolve in completely different environments than our own.

Why is this important? Because even if our own existence seems to be a chance development, and that Earth is a beautiful accident, then the question of God or divinity is less relevant. We must see beyond the petty disputes and struggles we face, to defining our role as a species. Our passports too narrowly represent us - it is not so much to be human, but to be a citizen of the universe.

No comments: