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Our bodies are extremely complex systems, one human body is more accurately described as a living organism in itself. The moment you’re born your body is already riddled with billions of microbes (some estimates in adults exceeding hundreds of trillions). Life begets life. But this system, comprised of systems, this organism comprised of organisms, brilliant though it may be, can fail with no warning signs, whatsoever.

It’s estimated that recorded deaths in excess of 100, 000 occur naturally every year among individuals aged between 0 and 35 years old. Most of us know someone, or of someone who though seemingly healthy, retired to bed one night and just never woke up. One of the myriad of systems tirelessly working, for whatever reason, gave out. In my experience it’s these anomalous and inexplicable deaths of the young and otherwise healthy that reveal to us just how fragile our lives can be. Yet, most of us take our health for granted, until something goes awry.


Is life the condition that distinguishes animals and plants from inorganic matter, including the capacity for growth, reproduction, functional activity, and continual change preceding death (dictionary.com)?

Generally it’s agreed upon now that death can only truly be achieved with the declaration of total brain death. Once the brain is dead, the individual is considered deceased. (Some believe the individual should be kept alive, regardless. Others believe that it is immoral to provide means to sustain life when someone is in a severe comatose condition. Usually comes down to decisions made by next of kin and the specific laws of the country involved.)

So in the hypothetical instance (discussed by theoretical physicist Michio Kaku) where future technology has allowed for a brain to be augmented with machinery, is the more capable mechanical component of the brain, slightly less alive? Despite the functionality working in unison to present one singular living mind.

What if (by some extremely technologically advanced means) a human brain was integrated with a highly sophisticated system. Where consciousness as we understand it is existing simultaneously in both the brain (attached to a living body) and in some machine/system. Eventually integration becomes absolute and consciousness as a whole is existing just as it had done so in the organic brain in the system. Then the organic brain, along with the human body, dies and is destroyed. The mind, however, is completely intact, interpreting the world through audio and visual sensors. Generating responses that transmit audible speech. Would you be talking to a dead man? An imitation? Artificial intelligence? The soul?

If this transference of consciousness happened overnight, to an individual who had no idea it ever occurred, the mind placed into a synthetic replica of their previous organic body. Complete with simulations of all organic bodily processes. Would they be dead? They would not think so, because in this scenario they would be completely unaware.

All said and done, I believe who we really are, are our thoughts, our memories, dreams and desires, the things that matter to us, the decisions we make and made. Sure we have impulses, urges with a basis in our biology, but does that define us? Are we defined by our limitations, such as the fragile mortal forms we currently find ourselves within?

Are we alive right now, or is it purely our organs that are “living”, and we are merely the by-product, exactly the same as we would be if situated in a machine, a by-product of a series of complex processes?

Who is more alive, the sentient mechanical being, who can interact with the world around them. Or the (technically) living human comatose patient, who has already experienced brain death?


(Animation from GIPHY.com)

In some ways the birth of our universe could be compared to the lighting of a candle, the “Big Bang” was when it was first lit. With this now burning wick, entropy increases, the once stagnant unaltered order/state of the wick and candle’s pristine structure begins to diminish as time passes. So begins the gradual decline into total disorder. Total disorder being the incineration of the wick, the form of the candle being lost, and equilibrium is achieved. The energy (wherever it came from) has been transferred, converted, but for all intents and purposes, it is gone (a process is deemed ‘irreversible’ if dissipation occurs, which in most instances, it does). As the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics states, in all processes that occur (including spontaneous) the entropy at least in regards to thermodynamics, is irreversible.

So just as the flickering flame of the candle will at some stage burn out, so too, as theorized by some, could/will our universe reach its equilibrium and enter a phase known as “total heat death”. In this outcome of achieved equilibrium everything in the entire universe would be the same temperature. The height of entropy, total disorder, no transference of energy or structure. No rhyme or reason. Just stagnate remaining mass, moving unpredictably in an eternity of darkness.

Entropy is intrinsically linked with the Arrow of Time (in physics). Coined by the British astronomer Arthur Eddington. Eddington gave three factors regarding, the arrow of time:

⦿ It is vividly recognized by consciousness.

⦿ It is equally insisted on by our reasoning faculty, which tells us that a reversal of the arrow would render the external world nonsensical.

⦿ It makes no appearance in physical science except in the study of organization of a number of individuals.

These three factors pertaining to the arrow of time are extremely localized around human perception.

In a way, time going in one direction only → relies on the basis that nothing ever happens/happened after theoretical “total heat death”. Because if something did occur (which it is theorized to be nigh impossible), then we could readdress the definition of the direction of time. As the system of the universe is no longer irreversible. For instance, after total heat death, a gradual pooling of mass begins to occur. Taking billions and billions and billions (times infinity, why not) years, so much mass could be drawn together that a high-density and (and even less likely) high-temperature state is reached. In that scenario, could the “Big Bang” occur again? Could that be the process that occurs over and over and over? If that were possible, the process of our universe’s creation could be deemed reversible. Rendering time no longer linear, but cyclic and infinite.

Meaning time isn’t a straight arrow pointing in one direction, but rather a circle ↻ that always returns to a structured state, a starting position. In a process larger than we could ever hope to imagine.

If that wasn’t as extremely far-fetched and hypothetically scientifically offensive for you to consider, then consider this, what if everything forms, exactly the same, every single time the universe goes through this cycle? (There are some that argue that there is no such thing as a truly random outcome of events. It merely appears that way to our understanding, as we cannot perceive what is going on at the most finite level.)

As it stands, our current time traveling abilities are extremely limited. We have access to such a tiny portion. At best, around 100 years. We’ve mastered travelling forward through time. We’re doing it right now. As your eyes trail over this text, the words previously read give an indication that you are progressively moving forward.

But consider this science-fiction scenario:

The adult son of two prominently known archeologists (by some extraordinary hypothetical means) manages to momentarily travel back in time, some 145 million years, for a total duration of 15 seconds. He travels to a region somewhere in North America, during the Cretaceous period. Where his brief appearance momentarily distracts a pack of deinonychus (the 100kg version of the 15kg velociraptor) from noticing a tenontosaurus in the distance, prey they would have otherwise eaten. Thus, eliminating the specific archeological dig site where his parents first met. Subsequently, either, eliminating himself from existence, creating an alternate reality. Or whatever other scenario someone might imagine.

One of the many problems with this hypothetical scenario is that small, minuscule detail skimmed over at the beginning. The act of travelling backwards in time. It’s virtually impossible to imagine a means by which anyone could travel backwards through a process while entropy is taking place.

Unless, a being was somehow capable of making itself entirely independent from the process (the universe reaching equilibrium). In which case, according to the theories suggested (total pseudo-science, if that wasn’t obvious already), the way to travel backward in time could be to actually go so far forward, that you catch the past as it occurs again for the first time, in one of the next formations of the universe.

Perhaps beings beyond our comprehensible universe have been aware of this cyclic order of things longer than we even have words to describe what we call “time”?

Could God himself be a being who discovered how to isolate himself from the process? Or perhaps his ability to escape the process is innate?

If extraterrestrial life does have an interest in our planet, could it be monitoring the formations of this universe each cycle? Comparing our status with last time and the time before that? Eternally making comparisons to previous visits. Maybe they require things that occur so rarely, they come to a specific point each cycle to gather a valuable resource.

These theories are just a handful of many theories that are more than likely, all completely wrong (like most theories). But, it’s still intriguing (for some) to entertain the thought. Maybe we’ll never truly understand the mysteries of the universe, maybe next time around?


Where are we now? As a people, as a species, as a world?

It’s easy (for some) to believe we’re on a downward spiral headed for oblivion. It’s been easy to believe that for as long as time has been recorded. Our inescapable and impending doom. The end of all things as we know it. “The Apocalypse”, something each our ancestors spoke of even when the world was new, well, newer than it is now. A fear that has existed alongside the first known civilization that sprung up in Mesopotamia, so many long-lived lifetimes ago. They knew then just as we know now, that one day, it is within the realm of possibility, for us to lose absolutely everything. Everything we’ve ever known. Perhaps even in the blink of an eye.

“The end is nigh” is such an old sentiment that the word “nigh” is seldom used (commonly) in the English language anymore. Empires rose and fell and our demise seemed to pass from the elusive hands of Gods and Titans, into our very own. So what became of this passing of fates, what followed this age of enlightenment? Thus began the Industrial Revolution. The less we had to fear from this world, the more we were willing to take from it. So that’s exactly what we did.

Wars scorched the earth, we mined metals to kill one another with. It’s estimated that as many as eighty-five million people lost their lives in the second great war. That’s almost twice as many as the (predicted) death toll of the Black Plague. But then, for a time, (with the help of the atomic bomb), we grew tired of killing one another in grand world wars. Fighting continued, the fighting always continues but some scattered around this planet experienced something new. For the longest time, relatively speaking in terms of this planet, they knew a sort of peace.

But life is relative, nothing is absolute. We take things for granted. The age of apathy is upon us. As the world grew smaller (technologically), strangely we found ourselves growing further apart. In the years between 1970 and 2012 it’s estimated that our planet’s collective marine species have declined by 75%. Species of flora and fauna considered iconic to most humans are beginning to fade from existence. At the time of writing this sentence, it’s believed that there are less than 4,000 tigers left on the planet. Islands are being reclaimed by the ocean. But while the world around us faces uncertainties, the human race has grown by over 6 billion people in less than 100 years.

Minds that not so long ago saw only to plundering what they could from the earth are now working to solve the problems crippling it. Where once we were something of a pathogen to this world, in time we could become the antibodies that attempt to sustain it. But is it too late? An unpopular theory, is that the things we are seeing unfold are natural events of a grander scale than we can comprehend. Something we often fail to accept is that in the fullness of time, by a myriad of possible catastrophic (or even not so catastrophic) events, this planet will be lost.

It’s becoming increasingly apparent to many, that maybe we were never meant to stay fixed upon this planet indefinitely. Like the spores of a plant, we are the spores of a planet that go beyond this solar system and forge a future that was only possible because of the millions of years our species had to develop here. Our terra nursery.

It will be a long and arduous road, riddled with many difficult choices along the way. But as a species, alike as an individual, if you do not adapt and grow you will stagnate and inevitably fail.

So why not bring about a new age, to end this age of apathy? An age of wonder. Because it’s going to require a great deal of imagination to contemplate the extent of our potential. It will require imagination to confront what part we truly have to play in the fate of our planet and our fellow earthlings. Regardless of species and evolutionary progression, all life from this planet, on an individual level, is considered an ‘Earthling’.

In the end, no matter what happens, the one thing that will bind all human beings alike all other forms of life under our care, wherever they should go in the universe, will be the small blue planet of the Milky Way Galaxy, from whence our ancestors came.