The Nature of Consciousness

Piero Scaruffi

(Copyright © 2013 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions )
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These are excerpts and elaborations from my book "The Nature of Consciousness"

The Steps Of Life

Life evolved through momentous leaps forward.

As the Israeli physicist David Deutsch described it, once replicators were born, they joined forces in self-replicating groups. Such groups are organized in a way that each member contributes to the chemical reactions that allow the whole to replicate itself (with all its members). That was the birth of the first living organism. "Genomes are group of genes that are dependent on each other for replication". The genetic code itself (the way to encode all of this) had to evolve until it reached a point beyond which it did not need to evolve anymore (it hasn't evolved for billions of years) while still allowing for organisms to evolve. The code, that had originally encoded just a single-celled organism, stopped evolving, but it was now powerful enough ("universal") that it could encode a virtually infinite range of (multi-cellular) organisms. That is the power of representation systems when they are universal. They can describe a lot more than what they were originally built for.

First, reproduction occurred: an organism became capable of generating another organism of the same type. Then sexual reproduction occurred, in which it took two organisms to generate an organism of the same type. Then multi-cell organisms appeared, and organisms became complex assemblies of cells. Fourth, some of those cells developed into specialized organs, so that the organism became an entity structured in a multitude of more or less independent parts. Fifth, a central nervous system developed to direct the organs. And, finally, mind and consciousness appeared, probably originating from the same locus that controls the nervous system.

 


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