II.3. The freedom of living beings
The previous concept of Life and, consequently, the origin of living beings can be interesting in a personal context but it is not relevant in of itself for the exposition of the General Theory of the Conditional Evolution of Life in its scientific aspect, not even for its proof or validation.
By way of example, in citing the possibility that energy, or gravity itself, being the origin of living beings and having certain degrees of freedom which could be so small that we wouldn’t have the means of perceiving them or that, if we perceived them, our model does not manage to explain them. We have no other alternative than to include in the corresponding model of scientific behavior random components derived from the god of science: Randomness.
A more literal example, as far as evolution and characteristics of living beings, is that we humans cannot perceive suffering or negative feelings from the plants when they die, and I would assume that they do not like it at all.
I could say the same comment in relation to small animals.
Nonetheless, this concept of life has indeed been very useful for me, because of the generalization of the concept, in allowing the mind to think about the characteristics of the evolutionary system as a whole, about its objectives, etc., with a greater degree of trust in applied logic. In short, to think what would I do in its place? and to imagine that, of course, Life will have done everything that I could imagine or feel and much more.
This elaboration of the concept of Life has allowed me, from a personal point of view, definitely to surpass philosophical positions in relation to the human specialty and the evolution of man with purely egocentric content, or simply biological reductionism, by placing the debate in a more general context.
To be precise, I am referring to positions a bit primitive such as:
Man is the only rational being (Plato - Aristotle)
He is a political animal (Aristotle)
He is unique for possessing the gift of language
He is unique for creating (not using) instruments (Paleontology)
He is unique for transmitting his culture (Behaviorism –learning in contrast to instinct)
Nature and the cosmos are governed by necessary laws and only man has freedom
Man is an animal, and in this sense, everything is instinct, that is, the biological pre-determinism, to a certain extent, is a result of the contribution by Darwin (Innatism)
From a scientific or philosophical point of view, the human being is one being more, with special or specific traits, but with the same general characteristics of living beings and intrinsic to Life.
The ethnocentrism, the cultural relativism as well as the universalism forget about this last aspect, since all of them refer to the human being with special characteristics but not delimited enough concerning the rest of the living beings.
In spite of this philosophical approach to life that, in the last analysis, would lead to assuming that all beings are living beings, I will continue using the definition of living beings like plants and animals, given that it is a useful term when speaking about genetics and is the normal use of the word.
II.3.a.1. Vital impulse systems
If we had to look for a trend of philosophy that sustains or coincides with the base of the General Theory of the Conditional Evolution of Life, we would have to say that the most adequate would be the theory of Vitalism.
The vital impulse systems will be those that, for one reason or another, behave as if they were living beings or, at least have many of the basic characteristics.
I consider the superior animals as symbiotic macro-societies of more basic units with a life of their own, like cells.
The problems relate to those presented when studying the structure of the brain and the brain functions by the degree of complexity. The trends of modularity and connectionism in the brain suppose two philosophic approaches that could easily be complementary.
By order of intuitive proximity, the following types can be cited:
The first type of vital impulse systems will those systems whose components are, in turn, living beings (nation, state, beehive, ecosystems)
Another type will be formed as a result of the activity of groups of individuals with a specific purpose, the individual protagonists will, therefore, not be individuals but the specific object of their actions (economic markets of products)
Systems with their own dynamics and derived from partial qualities of the individuals (languages)
Any company, medium-term work or objective that numerous beings assign, will have the same evolutionary dynamics as living beings and, in this sense, it can be understood that when it comes to developing and achieving the objective, the relationships and conditions make up a vital impulse system (the evolution of computers, a computer program, the construction of a home)
Certain systems without intervention of the living beings are vital impulse systems in the extent that their internal dynamics are similar enough to that of living beings (hurricanes, ocean currents, volcanoes, galaxies, engines). These models are the typical objective of the theory of chaos.
II.3.a.2. Vitalism and characteristics of living beings
The characteristics commented above would be more or less identifiable but in some way they will be present in all of them. In fact, more than characteristics of the vital impulse systems, the theory of Vitalism defines the characteristics of the living beings in a broad sense.
We can also distinguish between basic characteristics of living beings and characteristics derived from the objectives that all vital impulse systems must have. These can also appear with greater or lesser strength.
The vital impulse systems should have the following basic characteristics:
- They should have a decision-making system allowing them to choose between different options in order to achieve their objective or purpose. This implies, on one hand, the existence of the degrees of freedom in the system and, on the other, operative intelligence.
- The system will take the options according to the information available, for which the existence of an archive will be necessary and will make up part of the system.
- The goodness or good faith of the system can be assumed "a priori" and, certainly, it will always have "a posteriori".
The system must be a teleological system, that is, with objectives. Even if these cannot be clearly determined, one should always try to identify the intermediate objectives of this type of evolutionary systems as well as the methods, processes and specific instruments for obtaining them.
These objectives will be:
- Improvement of efficiency
- Guarantee and certainty
- Internal coherence and compatibility
- Optimization of the resources
In the extent that a system complies with the basic characteristics and we are capable of identifying a sufficient set of these derived elements, we can say that the system will behave as if it had a true Life impulse.
As practical methods of identification of these systems, we can cite the two following facts:
Many of the systems that can be conceptually described and delimited according to the proposals of the theory of chaos, in principle, could enter in this category of vital impulse systems.
Another indirect way of identifying the vital impulse systems can be the obtaining of graphics relating to their behavior or evolution with the typical form of the fractals. It would not be surprising if the fractal form had the certain shape of an arrow tip; the interpretation of this shape would give us some clues about the purpose or objectives of the system.