This research paper presents the hypothesis that the universe itself may be alive.
The search for the origin of life has so far been unproductive, with the RNA world, metabolism first, and cell first hypotheses all failing to provide conclusive answers.
The nature of matter that we describe as living and inanimate is identical on a quantum level, with no discernible difference between the quarks and electrons. Quantum entanglement also makes no distinction as to whether particles belong to something alive or dead.
Consciousness cannot be explained by a single neuron, but only, if at all, by many neurons. Similarly, life cannot be explained in terms of what we would see as a single lifeform, but only in wider terms, and the distinction between what is alive and what is dead is not clear cut. We are totally dependent upon the existence of other living and non-living things, and due to the constant breakdown and re-constitution of cells within our bodies we never completely comprise of living components.
A thought experiment in which a single proton is alive in its own world reveals a world that is not too dissimilar to our own, with similar horizons, and with little awareness of its place in the larger universe.
This paper suggests we are part of a larger whole, with a connection between us and our universe which commenced at the Big Bang. Some interpretations of what existed before the Big Bang suggest the universe is capable of self-replication and Darwinian evolution, and able to both sense and respond to its environment.
The paper describes how a previously existing high entropy universe could give birth to a new low entropy one, and concludes with a thought experiment in which we are placed within Schrödinger’s box to ascertain what we our understanding would be about the universe outside it.
Quantum Life: The Unity of Life in a Quantum Universe
Richard Underwood, Independent Researcher
Manchester, United Kingdom
First Published 12 Oct 2022