Chapter 7, Buddha Science, Science of Life
(edited July 29)
Chapter 7a, Science of Life, That’s life, I can’t deny it
¶a2 “Carl Sagan and trying to define life. It’s been impossible. Capacity to change, ¶4 division between living and non-living, …”
It’s a good question, but what do the answers actually offer us regular people in regard to our normal lives?
We live and experience. We know what life is and what death looks like, and what non-living material looks like, and that sometimes the boundaries get momentarily blurry.
Then the hair splitting can begin. One could argue, biological life is never “dead” because, for instance, once a person dies, the microbial world takes over with an explosion of life forms that inhabit and consume the carcass, transforming it’s tissue back into constituent living biological elements, that are then reabsorbed into the next life form to come along. There is also time. It can turn living creatures into life-less rock fossils, only to be ground up again, then absorbed and utilized by another living creatures and so on.
Still, for regular people why over complicate, or over dramatize? Life has more interesting aspects for wondering about.
¶a6 “Life in either sense requires balance, a chain of causes and conditions that allow life to emerge and sustain itself. … James Lovelock, Gaia Theory, Earth as interconnected complex living organism…”
¶a10 “… the pattern of the individual cannot be separated from the broader pattern in the seed…. ¶11 patterns cross not only individual lives, but different life forms as well. … ¶12 individual organisms are constantly changing patterns. …¶13 what about cancer. …
Very true and all of major importance in trying to figure out life on Earth and our own place in the great scheme of things.
Chapter 7b, Science of Life, Karma Chamelions
¶b1 “Not-self does not deny that there is a consciousness contained within the body, but it says that an autonomous and unchanging self is an illusion. …”
From my Earth Centrist evolution-appreciating-bottom-up perspective, I can’t conceive of the notion of anything being unchanging, let alone an “unchanging self.”
It goes contrary to all of my experiences and expectations.
¶b2 “What about life as a whole? Is there some constant, unchanging essence to this universal quality of things we call alive . . .
“Unchanging” is a very tricky concept and leads to disappointment because nothing physical (or mental) is unchanging, principles might be unchanging, but the conditions those principles work on change. So we’re back with the only constant being change.
Poetically, it could be fairly said that life is simply slimly ancient ocean bottom that wanted to do better. Biology used every resource that geology and time has to offer, to explore and exploit possibilities.
Advancing as circumstances allowed, sometimes prospering, sometimes dying back. Change is the one thing, all things, can be sure of.
¶b5 “So how did all this come about? How did life emerge and evolve? …”
That’s one of the beauties of these days. For the first time in human history we people have an evidence based, rational, harmonic, scientific understanding of Earth’s history, which is our history, with a story that is amazingly internally consistent.
This past century people have witnessed mind boggling advances across the board, unfortunately, none of it has helped us in the “wisdom” department. Here we are 2023 and we seem greedier and more blindly ruthless and thoughtlessly angry than ever.
We understand human physiology and neurobiology to an astounding degree, including dramatic images of human consciousness processes in real time and a solid appreciation for consciousness being a product of complex biological systems.
Let's better absorb what all that information can telling us.
¶b7 “… Parts of our anatomy can be traced directly through ancestral creatures that existed hundreds of millions of years ago. The biological, chemical, and physical interconnection of life can be considered a form of reincarnation. … In fact, as we will see in the next chapter even the Buddha diagnosis of suffering in the world can be explained through the science of evolutionary psychology.
Chapter 7c, Science of Life, Out, standing in the field
¶c1 “… Ecology is based on the scientific understanding that organism and their environment are inextricably interconnected. Not only does the environment affect the propagation, life, and distribution of organisms, but also organisms affect each other and their environmental surroundings. …”
¶c2 “Communities are critical to the survival of species and therefore of genes, but as communities impact their surroundings, the surroundings also impact the communities in never ending dynamic. …”
¶c8 “Though human beings, as a species, tend to judge these changes as good or bad for the environment, the environment itself doesn’t “care.” It simply adjusts to find new balance, or changes according to whatever new dynamic presents itself. …”
¶c9 “Humans inject intention into the equation. …”
¶c10 “… We evolved a degree of intelligence that allows us to use found objects as tools, to invent new tools, and radically alter our environment in order to raise our own food. …
¶c11 “What is intelligence? … composite of definitions:
The ability to learn through experience education, and training.
The ability to pose problems, by recognizing there is an issue and forming a problem concept.
The ability to solve problems by fashioning a solution to the problem as conceived.
¶c13 “… emergent behavior, … complexity studies, … However, the confusion may not be in the behavior itself, but in our concept of what intelligent behavior looks like.”
¶c16 “So the paradigm has changed. We have the ability to see and understand the interconnectivity of all living beings and the environment. We have the ability to see that there are far reaching effects of the decisions we make and the actions we take. ¶17, Yet, we persist in competing for resources …”
… and worse.
¶c18 “to explore these questions, we need to look more closely at the way our minds work, not only through observations of Buddha Science, but also through the lens of psychology and neuroscience. That will lead us into asking about consciousness itself. We will tackle these topics in the next chapter on the science of mind.”
Recognizing the Human Mind ~ Physical Reality divide is about as fundamental as it gets. One of its first lessons is that Religion and Science are both products of our human mind, along with art, literature, music, etcetera.
I appreciate Steve Daut for writing out these concepts and I thank him for allowing me to share them in this virtual discussion with his book.
Buddha Science, ©2016, For a copy contact Steve Daut:
Is there anybody out there?
citizenschallenge at gmail