Highlife Theory - Part 1 - Gaia, Greek Goddess of Earth
Highlife Theory - Part 2 - A New Look at Evolution
Highlife Theory - Part 3
by Tony Bondhus
Also available in Other Languages
To understand this better, we need to examine exactly what is the criteria of life. What is it that makes one thing a living thing and another lifeless. Is a rabbit truly a living thing or is it just a complex machine running a program? What about a computer or a computer virus? Just what is it that makes one thing alive and not another?
The question has baffled scientists for years. Some of the answers suggested are just plain absurd. Others appear to have validity, but when examined more closely turn out to be just as absurd. The commonly accepted view is that no virus is a living thing, because no virus can function independently, as if independence has anything to do with life.
Ask yourself this, is your soul a living thing, or is only the body, which holds the soul, alive?
Science may soon be able to separate the soul from the body, keeping the soul in computer memory, or perhaps transferring it into a new body. By the soul, I mean the entire consciousness as well as a lifetime's worth of memories. This may someday be transferred from one body to another. Nothing is left behind but an empty shell, not a single memory, nor any ability to think or make decisions.
The idea may sound far fetched, but regardless of how feasible or moral the idea is, it demonstrates the idea of the soul being a separate entity from the body. It also explains what exactly I mean by the soul.
According to the commonly accepted beliefs of the scientific world, a soul would not be considered a living thing because it can not exist on its own. It requires a host, or a body. Just as a virus requires a host cell to reproduce itself, a soul requires a body to contain it.
If someday rich people began to transfer their souls, from their own aging bodies into young healthy bodies of other people, would we call that murder, our would we see nothing wrong with it?
What then is life?
Clearly, information is a very important criterion of life. Obviously not the only criterion of life though, as information that's just sitting on your hard drive can hardly be considered life.
Another important criterion of life is interaction. The millions of chemical interactions in one cell organisms. The billions of interactions in multicellular organisms. When information interacts with information, it creates more information.
So important is this interaction of information, that it may even be the very essence of life, just as the soul is considered the very essence of life in higher lifeforms. Notice that the word "animal" comes from the root word "anim" which means "to have soul".
The soul is not reproduced and transferred from the parents to the children through reproduction. The soul is reproduced through the child's interaction with the parents. If a man has a hundred children, and doesn't spend time with any of them, his soul has not reproduced. His children have little or no soul imprint from him, therefore his body is the father of the children's bodies, but he (his soul) is not the father of the children (their souls).
We often speak so of a loved one living on in our hearts. Never before, have we known how true that statement is. We do in fact live on in the memories of others, to some extent.
Some people seek to live on through their work, which actually works. Their souls are actually reproduced in this way, in their work. People instinctively know this, which is why many people really put their hearts into their work and do a good job. People naturally strive to accomplish something in their lives. As you read this, my work, the information which is my soul connects with you and begins to grow in strength. Likewise when old folk teach their trades or crafts to their children and grand children, they live on in them. People instinctively know this, but current society makes a person feel like there's no point. Society makes people feel like they can not accomplish anything, which naturally depresses them.
Are there any other criteria of life? I've heard many strange replies to that question come from the scientific community. Criteria such as having carbon (as in carbon based life), eating, crapping, reproducing, being able to survive on its own. We also seem to think that physical connection, and only one set of DNA, are also requirements, but non of these are criteria of life. None of those things are necessary in order for a thing to be a living thing, nor do they have anything to do with life. They are only only specifications of the machines, not criteria of life.
Are there any other criteria of life? Maybe it is our own vanity that makes us believe that there is more to it than that. Maybe a computer is equivalent to a single cell organism, or a higher lifeform such as an insect.
Since interaction of information is important to life, it stands to reason that the more processing power available, the more sophisticated the life will be.
Take for example, a single cell organism. There is a wide variety of single cell lifeforms, many having a wide variety of abilities. Some single cell organisms can sense prey, and fire projectiles to kill the prey, propel themselves self closer, and finally eat the prey. In addition, they must find a mate for reproduction. Imagine the processing power required to do all that. Processing power that rivals that of a computer, all from a single cell organism.
The single cell organism I was describing is called a "lower lifeform". Organisms made up of more than one cell are called "higher lifeforms". A human being is a higher lifeform, 'cause we have many cells in our bodies.
We have much more processing power than single cell organisms. We are therefore far more sophisticated life. If then more processing power means more sophisticated life, what happens if we connect many humans together, like we do with computers? Logically, we'd have even more sophisticated life, wouldn't we?Highlife Theory - Part 4 - The Connection
Highlife Theory - Part 5 - Communal Thinking
Highlife Theory - Part 6 - Amplified Intelligence.htm
Don't forget to check out the plan for a better future, a new form of society which was inspired by this theory, the Society of Conceivia.