Dear Hal,
nice to read you again after all those years.
Life is a topic I brought up many times (as a question of course) and have
only a vague idea - opposing the conventional scientific stance based on
the carbon-etc. foundational "bio"/"physiological restrictions.

In my *speculations* 'life' is *much more* than a material-based
process-type - not to mention upon definitions of our (classic?) physical
I had a hard time to draw the line between a pretty open life concept and
my thinking about *consciousness* (which is in my view something like:
 *"response to relations" * without a proper definition of relation.

I appreciate *your* rule to keep the definitions congruent to those in the
physical sciences: I step beyond those in my agnostic view, considering an
infinite complexity as the 'Everything' from which some details keep
filtrating into our knowledge-base (mind content?) and we construct from
these the 'model' of our (physical?) world (continuously) over the
millennia.   I do not argue: I try to spell out whatever I can for the
(I find your restriction of your 'energy' to mass too narrow, since mass
and matter are figment of our physical explanations (mostly by tools of
mathematics)  about phenomena originally poorly understood. (Cf: mental
energy). Also I find the inclusion of 'dark energy' premature which serves
to explain (round up?) some mathematical mishaps in our conventional
cosmology to complement them by some dark matter.

I like your #5.

In #6 I find you just as vague as in your definition under #1 where
'ability" is a hard-to-apply quale in physically stated science-talk. -
"Since"? it may be the proposition ti discuss. Also it does not state how
the 'flow' turns into life - or what it may be to begin with.

To Stephen's excellent remark I have one word:

*1.  Nice post! Any way that the energy/force/work relation can be
considered as a broken symmetry restoration concept?*
*2.  Isn't the maximum entropy of a system a type of symmetry, where all
equiprobable states "look the same"?*
In my speculative story of a "logically lesser mind-boggling" explanation
about the Big Bang fables (around 1990) I presumed the "everything" (called
it Plenitude after Plato) as a (now I use newer language) complexity in
free exchange relation and perfect equilibrium (symmetry?), where
compilations of 'similars' (whatever - unidentified) are not excludible,
consequently 'knots' occur. Such knots - indeed violations of the perfect
symmetry - dissipate back into the homogeneity. I called such 'knots
universes and the re-dissipation their life-path.
I assumed a tendency for restoring the symmetry - something what our
physicists may call 'energy'. The result you may call the maximum entropy
(which is abused in conventional sciences into diverse figments, partial
changes - like e.g. the 2nd law).
Please forgive me the unscientific views in my agnostic stance. I consider
ALL we know a partial input of the "Everything" - adjusted to the
capabilities of our mind.
Beyond that ("The Model")  the rest of the everything is also influencing
OUR experienced changes without our knowledge WHAT they are and HOW they
work. During my successful 50 year career in polymer sciences I believed in
atoms, forces, molecular connections & other figments. Then I became

With best regards

John Mikes

On Wed, Oct 31, 2012 at 9:48 PM, Hal Ruhl <> wrote:

> Hi Everyone:
> I would like to restart my participation on the list by having a
> discussion regarding the aspects of what we call “life” in our universe
> starting in a simple manner as follows: [terms not defined herein have the
> usual “Laws of Physics” definition]
> 1) Definition (1):  Energy (E) is the ability to subject a mass to a force.
> 2) There are several types of energy currently known:
>      a) Mass itself via the conversion: [M <=> E/(c*c)]
>      b) Gravitational
>      c) Electromagnetic
>      d) Nuclear [Strong and Weak forces]
>      e) Dark Energy
> 3) Definition (2) Work (W)  Work is the flow of energy amongst the various
> types by means of a change in the spatial configuration, dynamics and/or
> amount of mass in a system brought about by an actual application of a
> force to a mass.
> 4) The exact original distribution of energy amongst the various types
> can’t be reestablished and the new configuration can’t do as much work as
> the prior configuration was capable of doing. [Second Law of Thermodynamics]
> 5) Time is not a factor: Once a flow of energy is possible it will take
> place immediately.
> 6) Conclusion (1):  Since life is an energy flow conduit, wherever the
> possibility of life exists life will appear as rapidly as possible.  The
> “origin” of life herein.
> 7) Some energy flows are prevented by what are known [in my memory] as
> “Energy Flow Hang-up Barriers” such as nuclear bonding coefficient issues,
> spatial configuration, spin, other spatial dynamics, ignition temperature
> requirements, electromagnetic repulsion, etc.  [“Energy Flow Hang-up
> Barriers” is not my terminology – I think there was a twenty year or so old
> article in Scientific American I am looking for and a quick Internet search
> found a discussion of the repulsion hang-up in “Cosmology The Science of
> the Universe” by Edward Robert Harrison.
> 8) Once life is present it will immediately punch as many holes in as many
> Energy Hang-up Barriers as the details of the particular life entity
> involved allows – this is how it realizes its energy flow conduit
> character.  The “purpose” of life herein.  In other words life’s purpose is
> to hasten the heat death of its host universe.
> 9) Now add in evolution which is a random walk with a lower but no upper
> bound.
> A discussion of the possible consequences [such as qualia levels of
> particular life entities - like degrees of consciousness] should await a
> critique and possibly a revision of the above.
> Comments are eagerly sought.
> Thank you
> --
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