Darwiniana

History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

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Matter, life, ‘consciousness’

February 5th, 2015 · No Comments

origin of life theories

One of the possible issues in the puzzle of the origin of life is the way that ‘non-life’ has to give rise to life, granting that the language there is possibly a pitfall. But my point is an obvious one for anyone who thinks in terms of something like the model of J.G. Bennett where we see things in terms of a hyponomic, autonomic, and hypernomic realm, roughly the physical realm, the life realm, and, well, the hypernomic is the tough one. If you wish to call it the spiritual realm you get a rough idea but you should pay a fine for intellectual littering. The spiritual and the material are not antithetical in a dyad, but exist in a triad with matter, life, ????.
After this rigamarol we see suddenly that we are trying to derive life as an emergent from physical matter. No doubt that is only one component, at most. In some fashion the larger system is what is behind life. Note that we can’t therefore call the hypernomic realm ‘alive’. To grasp the reclassification is tricky, since Bennett’s treatment is controversial, but we do see the power of a larger model to resolve confusions. It might really help to consider that the emergence of life stands in relation to a lower AND a higher level.

To get a sense of the difference consider that Bennett considers the hypernomic realm to be correlated AT ITS LOWEST LEVEL (which is still above ‘life’) with ‘conscious energy’, which is not the ordinary animal awareness mixed with life energies, but the correlate of ‘mindfulness’ energies at the threshold of ‘real consciousness’, a rare state in man, who nonetheless has a clear penny ante stake in ‘real consciousness’: man puzzles over this question, but understands at once the transition, brief or permanent to ‘real consciousness’. We see that his is not the same as saying someone is alive. Although almost all ‘animals’ have a grubstake in ‘basic mechanical consciousness’ the reality of life is larger than that of consciousness. Here just as we set ‘plants’ as exemplars of life without consciousness, vociferous proponents of talking with plants will leap out of the bushes and beg to differ. I give up, I don’t know. But it makes sense to see that ‘consciousness 101’ as the level of the man/primate/animal awareness is real, but still short of the ‘self-consciousness’ that man alone, we suspect, can sometimes achieve. So man has a connection with the hypernomic! And here we have a problem, probably due to Bennett’s still too crude model. And that is that if the universe at the hypernomic groundstate is ‘conscious’ then why can’t we talk to it. We fall into the limitations of our model, and actually we don’t know. The riddle explains itself if we keep in mind that in animals awareness always comes with an instrument, the brain/maind, the visual and sensory apparatus. An entity without these in the forms we know could be ‘conscious’ but we have no idea what that means.

But on the OOL question we can set all that aside and use the model for its suggestion that ‘life’ is the middle spectrum band between the hypo and the hyper, and arises through the predestigaton of its own triad, which is not a solution to the mystery but a stunned realization that the higher is drawing the lower to the middle, Life, the fantastic vital realm that spawns the profusion of life forms but which is also being drawn slowly by higher nature via its expanding sensory apparatus into the low octave realm of consciousness, which if immersed in life, but beyond it.

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