The Nature of Consciousness

Piero Scaruffi

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These are excerpts and elaborations from my book "The Nature of Consciousness"

Life and the Universe

Life appears less and less like a weird exception to the rules of Physics and more and more like a natural consequence of the way our universe works.

The British physicist Freeman Dyson was instrumental in building the field at the borders of physical, biological and information sciences. Inspired by the British physicist Jamal Islam, who calculated how matter would evolve in universes which expand forever, Dyson computed mathematically what life is and how it will evolve.  A closed universe is doomed to collapse and life with it. Since a system's entropy is a measure of the number of alternative states of the system, the complexity of a living organism should be proportional to the negative of its entropy. Dyson even computed the entropy of a human being (the rate at which humans dissipate energy times the human body's temperature times the duration of a unit of consciousness): 10 to the 23th. Life is a form of order, and low temperature favors order. Life and intelligence are immortal, because sources of memory will grow constantly as the universe cools down. Interestingly, "life" for Dyson is not necessarily the stuff made of proteins. "Life resides in organization, not in substance".

As the US physicist Steven Frautschi, among others, noted, there is a striking parallelism between the evolution of the expanding universe and the evolution of life on Earth: because life on Earth has a steady free energy source (the sun), it does not need to come to equilibrium and may even evolve away from it (as it did when it created more and more complex beings, such as ourselves); because the universe has a steady free energy source (the uniform expansion itself), it does not need to come to equilibrium and may even evolve away from it (as it did when it created more and more complex clumps of matter, such as galaxies).  Both biological evolution and universe evolution could turn out to be consequences of non-equilibrium processes.


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