The Life Spirits
What must the pre-life characteristics of a substance be to at least replicate, i.e. become life? It must be able To Take-In something of it’s environment To Grow, to become more of itself and thus have the physical potential To Reproduce.
To Take-In is a manifestation of To Contact in that it’s a coming together of the pre-life substance with it’s environment, either by it’s own action or being present in a moving environment, or both. Earliest pre-life could only “wait” to take-in the nutrients it needed to grow. Plants take-in by being essentially stationary but do extend themselves into the sunlight and soil to grow. Most animals take-in by being active. Just taking-in, however it’s done, is not sufficient for growth in that the conditions for communing with whatever is taken-in have to be just right.
The important distinction between To Contact and To Take-In is that the spirit To Contact is a force of drawing together, Over millions of years of organic evolution that spirit has manifested itself in the physical forms of sensory organs for detecting inner and outer environments, physical behavior such as moving toward and attracting attention and by the emotional state of curiosity. To Take, on the other hand, is like a preparatory step to possible communing with what is contacted. It’s an analytical process of taking apart and identifying what is sensed. In pre-life substances taking-in might have been a condition of vulnerability in the organic compound which allowed communing with other substances. The taking-in process in early organisms is done instinctually and reflexively. Clams automatically close their shells to capture nutrients when the water above is agitated. A mammal infant instinctively searches for a nipple when it senses internal discomfort. To Take-In evolved into a conscious process of analyzing sensory data through learned associations. Most mammals have to be taught what to eat, beyond mother’s milk. And it’s not just what to take-in but how to take-in. In general, the more learning a creature is capable of the more it will be able to take-in and commune with it’s inner and outer environments. For instance, learning a foreign language certainly enhances the conditions for communing between us and a speaker of that language. If a lion hasn’t learned how to catch, kill and tear apart it’s prey there will not be the right conditions for digestive communing in the lion. In contrast to the communing of inorganic substances, where the conditions are dependent on external influences (heat pressure, radiation, etc), control of the conditions for communing has shifted more to within the organic substance.
To Grow is a life spirit evidenced by all forms and species. It’s the characteristic of becoming more-of-self to a condition of maturity; the ability to reproduce itself. It is a process of communing, whether it be pre-life substances joining together, becoming a larger community, or an assimilation of nutrients fueling genetic instructions of living things. To Grow means more than physical growth, it also means the development of intellectual, aesthetic, emotional, social and spiritual potentials where those capacities exist. Spiritual growth might be viewed as the increased ability to express the spirits in awareness. For homo sapiens, continued growth beyond reproductive maturity is vital because we have the tools to influence the survival of our species and the entire ecosystem long after puberty or even death!
To Reproduce is the spirit that all other life spirits serve. Without it there would be no future for life. It is the division of the first pre-life substances into replicas of itself that in turn could divide. It is the asexual division of one cell and the reproduction of multi-cell life. It is the sexual sharing of DNA to create offspring with characteristics of both parents. Beside biological reproduction, primates have demonstrated they pass on to successive generations tools, behavioral patterns, social and conceptual inventions, just as important to survival as genetic instructions.....the spear, writing, democracy, sciences, etc.