My first article … let’s go …
What is life? The most complex definitions, philosophical statements about consciousness, higher intention, purpose come to mind. And I am no exception. But, as L.N. Tolstoy: The surest sign of truth is simplicity and clarity. Lies are always complex, elaborate and wordy. Deep inside, the understanding was ripening that everything that was happening around was actually simple, banal and, perhaps, even had no purpose. Although this does not detract from the miraculousness of building the world.
It would be nice to realize that some creator is watching us (managing – this is already too optimistic), interested in our successes, comparing with the results of other creations. But … nothing foreshadows such a development of events. Then what is life?
Probably not worth more water. The understanding of the issue described in this article came after the lectures of Robert Sapolsky “The Biology of Behavior”. In short:
our consciousness does not decide anything – all responses to reactions are born in the brain, and consciousness only thinks out “justification” for them.
there is no neuron that GENERATES thought. In fact, the brain works like a processor – it received at input 1 … at output 2 (or whatever the brain counted for itself).
all that remains after us is our DNA, or rather a part of it – a certain molecule with its own formula. One of the countless different chemical molecules on planet Earth.
What is this all for? And there is no need. Let’s start from the very beginning. A chemical test tube, some compounds are poured inside and a reaction begins, which continues until equilibrium is established.
1 + 2 <=> 3 + 4
In the simplest indicative case, we get 100% of substances 3 and 4 and the reaction completely stops, because 3 or 4 are removed from the reaction zone – they precipitate, are released as a gas. the precipitate is insoluble in the other 3 compounds; the gas simply escapes from the test tube. But in most cases, a certain concentration is achieved, and then the reaction goes in the opposite direction and a chemical swing begins. It all depends on temperature, pressure, lighting, etc.
If you add the substance 5,6,7,8,9, everything becomes much more complicated. If you increase the size of the test tube, this will also create different zones of illumination, pressure, temperature – the concentrations of different substances will differ in different zones. There will be some trends of their own. Yes, a lot of things can appear.
Just imagine – substance 1 is more concentrated in an area with good lighting and a higher temperature. Its very presence there does not at all indicate that IT WAS SO WANTED. This is just an obvious fact, because only there he is supposed to exist in such a concentration. It’s alive? Of course not.
We will expand the size of the test tube to all the planets Earth: climate, heights, pressure, volcanoes, seas, sun – well, everything that you see around. Plus billions of different chemical combinations. It’s just unrealistic complexity. There is no place where gas could “hide” and there is no sediment that nothing could dissolve over billions of years.
I am sure that at some point such compounds arose that created a kind of protection of substance 1 (complex molecules) from substance 2. Thus, this chemical swing was blocked. From this, the amount of substance 1 increased (well, or remained unchanged, which is basically the same thing), because substances 3 and 4 are not created. And here we cannot say that this is life. The chemical reaction just got complicated.
Substance 2 also does not stand aside – it reacts with others, creates something for itself and, by pure chance, creates a chemical structure that can destroy the protection of substance 1.
I am not a chemist, but nevertheless, such a variant of the development of chemical reactions cannot be called unrealistic, given the infinite duration, variability of factors and the constant influx of new substances. The main thing here is to understand that the predominance of chemical 1 is not at all due to its consciousness. There is more of it because it has the necessary chemical bonds. Moreover, new physical properties can be obtained – hydrophobicity, an increase in the melting temperature, etc.
You can complicate it indefinitely, but in the end we will get a prototype of a cell, in the center of which there will be substance 1. Further, it is even more complicated – let our substance 1 be DNA. The purpose of my article is not to explain the fact that life is based on this particular molecule. The bottom line is that this is not a struggle at all, but simply a state in which DNA can be in maximum concentration in a certain part of the “test tube Earth”. DNA has learned to create a comfort zone for itself – our body, our cell. We are nothing more than a receptacle for DNA.
Some DNA organisms have learned to kill others and feed on their substances – this is nothing more than a chemical reaction. It turned out that if mutations appeared in DNA that made them flee from hostile DNA-organisms, such DNA increased its concentration in the “test tube Earth”. And not because they are conscious, but simply because the chemical reaction has shifted. Although … we understand this as intelligence, caution, fear, hardwired into our DNA, innate reflexes.
I don’t think it makes sense to develop the idea further. This is all very pessimistic, in fact. Personally, I am not entirely happy to be nothing more than a vessel for my DNA. In the end, I live in order to give rise to a new life – by prolonging my own, I increase the number of descendants (DNA) and their quality (the duration of the transfer of experience, upbringing) – what is it if not existence in the name and for the sake of DNA?
But … that’s life. Life is the result of an incredibly complex combination of many chemical interactions. Life is part of a chemical reaction and nothing more.