As an entertainment platform, existence has 4 essentials: diversity, continuity, entanglement, and actors.
A universe of singularity would be practically nothing: energy without frequency, which is unimaginable. Hence diversity, which defines every facet of existence. Nature loves variety.
Every identifiable thing – inanimate or alive – is unique. Mental categorization is merely a convenience for managing potential interaction.
“Behavioural individuality is thought to be caused by differences in genes and/or environmental conditions. Therefore, if these sources of variation are removed, individuals are predicted to develop similar phenotypes lacking repeatable individual variation.” ~ ichthyologist David Bierbach et al
The Amazon molly is a small freshwater fish native to Mexico and southeast Texas. The term Amazon in the molly’s name refers to the female-run society in Greek mythology, for Amazon mollies are an all-female species, reproducing clonal daughters.
A tightly controlled experiment tested “whether near-identical rearing conditions and lack of social contact dampen individuality,” as predicted. Instead, each molly showed her own unique personality.
“Substantial individual variation in behaviour emerges among genetically identical individuals isolated directly after birth into highly standardized environments.” ~ David Bierbach et al
Without continuity, there could be no comprehension, as there would be no consistency or predictability; whence arises the vector of time. For individual life forms, continuity provides a platform for memory, and its temporally-vectored converse: the future, which provides for goals, problem-solving, and planning – in short, something worth living for.
The dimensions of space provide localization, which, coupled to linear temporality, afford a venue for both dynamic expression and diversity. Spacetime is the outcome of the requirements for diversity and continuity.
Coherence achieves complexity by combining diversity and entanglement. But entanglement serves a much more fundamental purpose: it is the glue of diversity, facilitating ecological intricacy among constituents. The agents of Nature must be able to interact. The field that delimits every object and life form is woven with entanglement.
Life is an entangled diversity at every level. Populated by legions of proteins working together, even the simplest cell is brimming with intertwined complexity. Multicellularity exponentially entwines synchrony with variety to achieve macroscopic life: the living world of Nature we experience.
Entanglement is apparent at every scale, as are diversity and complexity. Entanglement is an acknowledged quantum phenomenon, but it is also vital at the ambient scale. Ecosystems are expressions of entanglement. Cosmological construction is driven by black holes: massive nothingness entangled with everything.
The sublime moves, the beautiful charms. ~ German philosopher Immanuel Kant
Aesthetics is integral to living. Among animals where females select mates, females want traits that indicate fitness and skill – traits that will serve offspring well. Shapes go wonky and colors go flat if a male is not buff. Antlers need lots of calcium, and the bowers of birds unstinting dedication.
In another instance, an evolutionary handicap principle applies. It is hard to stay alive adorned with a huge or brilliantly colored attraction. Such a male that lives to show off must be sporting a genetic package worth carrying into the next generation.
Winsome allurement does not always signal fitness. Sometimes, aesthetic evolution is to its own end: beauty is itself enough.
“The most refined beauty may serve as a sexual charm, and for no other purpose.” ~ Charles Darwin
“The universe is not fine-tuned for us; we are fine-tuned to the universe.” ~ Victor Stenger
The stage of spacetime is populated by actors: organic agents, interacting to create the drama of life. As an exercise in storytelling, actors have 4 ingredients in their experience: consciousness, ignorance, desire, and jeopardy.
Sentience is essential to experience the entertainment of Nature: whence consciousness. At every scale, a life form is a soul – a resonant consciousness – caged within a mind-body.
Something must propel actors: provide motivation and the will to live. Thus, desire beats like a steady drum on the soundtrack of life.
“All the business of life is to endeavor to find out what you don’t know by what you do.” ~ Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington
Every story is of conflict, involving individuals that struggle. Not-knowing always factors into the fight; hence, ignorance is an essential ingredient to entertainment. By contrast, an enlightened actor acts with a detachment that is dramatically unbecoming.
“Nothing endures but change.” ~ Heraclitus
As an aspect of diversity, there is also the requirement that actors come and go in Nature. Though negligible senescence may be possible for some organisms, jeopardy means that none achieve immortality: the fate of a finality to an individual’s story ultimately catches up to all. More generally, jeopardy is dramatically essential; and, for the individuals that experience it, to rendering life as real, and not just a dream of no consequence.
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Beyond its brief seasons of reason, the mind acts to facilitate a sense of jeopardy (expressed as fear), provide the propellant of desire, and fabricate the fog of ignorance. Thus, the mind is an all-purpose tool: building and maintaining a dark prison for the soul, yet letting its inhabitant see daylight.
“The greatest mystery is not that we have been flung at random between this profusion of matter and the stars, but that within this prison we can draw from ourselves images powerful enough to deny our nothingness.” ~ French novelist André Malraux