Ming the Mechanic:
Life Forms in Evolution

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 Life Forms in Evolution2002-12-27 23:59
2 comments
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Evolution on this planet has gone through many steps towards developing gradually more complex creatures. There seems to be a fractal nature to evolution, where for example stages that microbes pass through in a small scale are later repeated at higher levels of complexity. Young life forms will often irresponsibly try to use up all available resources, and will act aggressively against their neighbors, but later on in the cycle, as they become more mature, the various players will negotiate mutually beneficial arrangements amongst each other. The microbes are in many ways ahead of us complex humans in terms of figuring out how different kinds of beings can live together in peace, to everybody's mutual benefit.

Even the most small and simple single celled organisms, bacteria, classified as monera, specialized themselves in amazing ways and organized themselves into complex social structures where they were supporting each other's existence. They specialized in breaking down different kinds of chemicals, and other bacteria would start using the chemicals the first produced, etc., forming a complete ecosystem. That was 1.7-3.7 billion years ago. These organisms then moved on to a higher level of cooperation. Multiple different kinds of creatures together formed a cell. These cells, which formed another kingdom called protista, were around a thousand times bigger than the monera. They were still single-celled, but we could say that they are multi-creatured, because they combine many previously separate creatures into one unit.

The protists, large multi-creatured cells, further evolved. At first they were prokariotes (before nucleus) and then they developed into eukariotes (cells with a nucleus). Eukariotes are now around a thousand times bigger than the prokariotes. Essentially they are very complex bacterial cooperatives, in many ways as complex as human cities, containing millions of specialized parts that would have been independent life forms in previous evolutionary steps. The nucleus of the cell is the information center, containing a DNA blueprint of how things are arranged.

Next step is that multiple nucleated cells combine into multi-celled creatures. And on and on to more and more complex multi-celled creatures, with more and more different specialized parts. Along the way death is invented, to make it easier to improve on the designs along the way, while recycling the old models.

Now, billions of years later, we humans have developed reflective intelligence, so we have the luxury of being able to sit and think about these things. But we are also rather ignorant about the complex social order that adds up to our existence. And we tend to be rather arrogant about it, even thinking that all these tiny creatures are nothing but a nuissance to us. Not realizing that our own bodies are amazingly complex cooperative organizations of billions of cells that each are complex organizations of millions of smaller specialized creatures. And all of it is pretty much working in perfect unison. And we humans tend to be so naive that we think that our conscious awareness is somehow in control of all of this, despite that we hardly understand it, and we mostly are totally unconscious of it.

Anyway, a question is what comes next, beyond us humans maturing into figuring out how we all can co-exist on the same planet. One quite logical thought would be that we all will arrange ourselves as components of a bigger organism of a higher order. That we'll be cells in the global brain, so to speak, and that humanity maybe will become conscious as a whole. Or, maybe other, more unexpected things will happen. Maybe parts of each of us will start cooperating with each other, and new kinds of life forms will emerge.

I'm no biologist. Better places to study some of this would be, for example the book Earth Dance - Living Systems in Evolution by Elisabet Sahtouris.


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2 comments

28 Dec 2002 @ 04:36 by istvan : Thanks for pointing to this subject.
"And we humans tend to be so naive that we think that our conscious awareness is somehow in control of all of this, despite that we hardly understand it, and we mostly are totally unconscious of it."

Whwen we truly able to observe reality there are aspects of life that are clouded in beleif systems,that tend to fawor the individual minds of humans in thinking that "we are it".
I see many human systems of apparent control of nature as obstacles to the natural flow of evolution. And our lifes could be seen as just another manifestation of this flow, but only if we allow the natural forces to freely create accoeding to what is possible.
Not to interfere with nature is not exactly one of our virtues as humans.
We have to allow the natural flow of the "Force", the natural vigor of life itself to be the guide for determing all of our activities.
The arrogance manifested by the human mind is an obstacle, like dams in rivers.
Luckily nature has ways, like the river, to overcome these obstacles as can be seen in the rise and fall of human civilisations and also the rise and fall os species that failed to conform, rather allow, the natural laws of life.
When we look up at the "HAVENS", we falsely percive a fictional interpretation of a place of havenly pleasures to striv for, and miss the reality of the whole truth, that it is only and always been only a possibility,a resource, an infinitely large cauldron of material for consciousness to create, but only what is possible and what is balanced within the possibilities in time and space.
All of the manifested that can be pecieved is just atemporary "niche" where and how life/consciousness manifest out of limitless possibilities.
Perhaps creation is the experiment in COOPERATION/LEARNING for life to know itself.  



30 Dec 2002 @ 12:07 by tuinsteden : lifeforms in evolution
Very good,this whole story remains me of wat Ken Wilber wrote in several of his books.
That what is ,let say,better(more truth)contains the stages before,both in human development and in biological nature.
Every stage can have his own problems that must be overcome,but nature is very inventif.....
It is good to find this ideas in other sources.

Clarity,
Frans.  



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