Quora answer: Without death can there be life?

Feb 26 2012


Let us consider what Life and Death might be. Life is autopoietic. It is the existential viability of the organism in its environment. As such it is the combination of two Dissipative Ordering Special Systems in symbiosis. This is reflected all over our biology, but especially in the symbiosis between body and mind. Our Body is in the Void of spacetime, and our mind has a substrate of emptiness from the Buddhist point of view because our ego has no Being, we are an-Atman. Now Dissipative structures according to Prigogine appear in far from equilibrium contexts like the universe that is expanding from a massive influx of dark (non-conserved) energy that is causing the expansion of the universe to accelerate since the Big Bang seen in Microwave background radiation. But there are more local instances such systems like our planet in relation to our sun, or the ecosystem of earth with its food chain that we are part of. Negative Entropy can only exist locally as entropy increases globally. Eventually the global entropy overwhelms the local negative entropy, and that is the equivalent of death by disorder. In living systems there are two such dissipative ordering structures that are intertwined and symbiotic which is mirrored all over out bodies like the chiasm between side of brain and side of body which are opposite. Or in the relation of our immune system to our neurological system, which are both considered autopoietic in themselves, so that we even get reflexive social level special systems embedded within us. But basically the organism is taking advantage of the ultra-efficacy that is possible in nature in rare circumstances to allow evolution of creatures, and viable life in general, at least until we destroy ourselves by destroying the ecosystem of the the planet. (Goodbye Earth, Hello Venus or Mars, the nihilistic opposite of too hot due to greenhouse effects or too cold for lack of oceans and atmosphere that escaped the planet). The way I like to explain how dissipative ordering systems are symbiotic is with the example of a tree, with its structures below ground and above ground. These two cooperate to give the plant life, but it actually is poised on the boundary between air with light and earth adapted perfectly to both and working together to maintain the energy balance that allows life to exist. This is how we are with our consciousness in one realm and our bodies in another realm. And the DzogChen MInd is like Space captures the essence of how these two together are at the same time one whole at a deeper level.

People who want to live forever, are forgetting this ultimately losing battle between local negative entropy and global positive entropy. This is what determines our finitude which includes our mortality. And focusing on our mortality as Heidegger says can give our life authenticity. But there is no avoiding death, in this universe where entropy prevails. Entropy is increasing with times arrow, which is pushed along by the negative energy pouring into our universe which causes its accelerating expansion. I guess people have not really put this together yet that it is the negative entropy pushing the acceleration of expansion that ultimately must produce times arrow. Entropy is a global phenomena just like times arrow and linked to it, somehow expanding spacetime assures the disordering of things at the macroscale in the universe but leaves pockets of ordering, for instance galaxies that are spinning down the drain of black holes driven by their dark matter. The actual building blocks of the universe, atoms are extremely stable and are in fact entropy free. So the substrate of all things is without entropy, and entropy only appears as a macro condition.

There are four things that exist together intertwined in spacetime:

information
entropy
energy
matter

And these four things each have their negatives:

negative information http://www.damtp.cam.ac.uk/user/jono/negative-information.html
negative entropy http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negative_entropy
negative energy (casimir effect http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casimir_effect)
anti-matter http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antimater

There is also have their exclusions:

non-information http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Landauer%27s_principle
non-entropy Atoms have no entropy. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absolute_zero
non-energy Dark Energy http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_energy
non-matter Dark Matter http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_matter

There are also spacetime, energymatter, infotropy which are chiasmic and reversible intervals.

So lets go into autopoietic theory by Maturana and Varella which is a kind of existential biology that seeks to define the viable organism, or cell as a whole system of a very special type, i.e. one based on negative entropy that builds organization and maintains it over time. Autopoietic theory defines the organism as a black box that you cannot know what outputs you will get to any given input because the outputs are dependent on the internal processing of the autopoietic system based on its own internal state and variables which are hidden. The autopoietic system gets perturbations, that in effect are absorbed and have quasi-causal effect that is hidden in the autopoietic system. But there is no direct causality of the Pavlovian variety except in degenerative environments like Pavlovian experiments, or behaviorist experiments. The idea is that living and cognitive is mixed together in the autopoietic system from the start. And there is a difference between the structural use of content and the level of organization within the Autopoietic system. In other words the Autopoietic system is constantly rebuilding itself out of raw material from its environment in its self-production activities.

Now as Kant said Spacetime is a singular. There is only one spacetime we know of that we can intuit and we project it as an A Priori synthesis that we then intuit. So one of the things that an autopoietic system does is to ecstatically project spacetime as a context for itself and other things in terms of schemas (cf General Schemas Theory). We should distinguish between spacetime (relativity theory of Einstein) and timespace (Minkowski, Heidegger). The combination of the two I call the Matrix. The Matrix has four dimensions of space and four dimensions of time with every possible symmetry breaking. We experience 3s+1t, and so somewhere there is 1s+3t complement (see F Theory in 14 dimensions), i.e. monadic strings in three dimensional time. This is called Heterochrony that puts to end the Metaphysical Era with either linear or circular time singular time strands now known as Worldlines.

So the organism/cell exists in spacetime which can be interpreted nondually as Void and it has a static boundary, like a twin soliton breather, which defines its inwardness which can be defined, nondually in terms of emptiness. The boundary is like a domain wall between emptiness and void in Bose Einstein condensates. In these condensates it was discovered that there were three types of singularities, point singularities, line singularities which are static vortices with winding numbers, and surface singularities called domain walls. Since Autopoietic Systems are closed to outside observation, we can consider that surface to be like a domain wall between two modes of nondual existence, i.e. emptiness/Void. We will define this singularity as being of the nature of Ultra Being the fifth meta-level of Being. Due to this domain wall there are dual types of nonduality external and internal.

The Autopoietic System is dependent on energymatter flows from a copious source like the sun, and other life in the food chain by which the energy from the sun is mediated to it. These flows must be in a far from equilibrium state for negative entropy to appear. But since infotropy is also a chiasmic and reversible interval we actually get several configurations of infotropy from the combinations of negative and positive information and entropy.

An Autopoietic System has organization because it imposes order (a design) on itself. It does this through a combination of positive and negative feedback and feedforward which keeps it in a range of viability given its own internal needs and the environmental resources that are available. Feedback and Feedforward (planning) are types of information circuits from self to self and thus realize reflexive relations between the Autopoietic System and itself. This infotropy used in feedback/feedforward relations is used to control the digestion, production and expenditure of energymatter chemical reactions within the bodymind of the Autopoietic system. Information is local and entropy is global. Matter is global due to gravity, and energy is local mostly released by electromagnetic relations between atoms and molecules. So in one way we can see this as a special kind of relation between entropy/matter (mattropy, the matter that is organized and then that escapes ultimately all attempts at organization) and energy/information (enformy, The capacity to organize). [http://www.enformy.com/$enformy.html]. There is normally a hypercycle (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypercycle_(chemistry)) in the orthogonal virtual control dimension of the Autopoietic System. This hypercycle is the control structure that produces homeostasis, but allows also for adaptability within the environment in the best case scenario. Ultimately it is the infotropy in relation to the energymatter expenditure that is the key to the maintenance of viability. But because the energymatter rich environment far from equilibrium must be maintained and the autopoietic system is sensitive to its environment and easily overwhelmed, then the probability of continued viability over the long term has a low probability, due to constant flux in the environment. But life is constantly turning the non-living and the living environment into itself, and pushing back out non-living and living entities so that there is a continuous turn over in the structured content of the Autopoietic system via its organizational capabilities. So infotropy confronts energymatter as well as enformy confronting mattropy on a continual ongoing basis.

And it is in this context that negative and non-information play an important role. There is a lot of non-information in the Autopoietic system as in any other system. Information flows in channels and basically anything that is not in an information channel is non-information. But negative information plays an important role in the autopoietic system because it signifies its singularity surface, or domain wall between inside and outside that produces the difference between nondual void outside as spacetime and nondual emptiness inside as the virtuality of consciousness within which appearances appear which are comprehended by the absolute reason of the Autopoietic System as an existential viability.,

The upshot of this is that life and death are mingled continually in the midst of life is death and in the middle of death there is life.

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