Hunting for the Elusive Laws of Life

I feel I have written extensively about the difficulty of positing laws of life of similar strenght to laws of physics and chemistry and the like, the "hard" sciences. The problem is that no one can agree on a definition of life. Hacks exist for every "law" that has been proposed. 


I think Thomas Aquinas's account of the soul may have some relevance, as in life is that 'part' of matter that has a soul. The problem with that is that panpsychism can't be disproved, can be a reasonable place to place an assumption.


All that aside here's my current list.


It must be under the second law of thermodynamics. I have written somewhere that the second law of thermodynamics if the first law of life. I have no idea if that's a true statement. The diagramatic aspect of Phase 7 can be also rightly read as a desctription managing a thermodynamic gradient. It adds ornamentation, internally lengthens the line. In this way any section of coastline can be said to have an infinite length. Set your callipers ever-shorter intervals.


  • Life is round. Bachelard made this claim in The Poetics of Space. It was mostly poets he called up as expert witnesses, not so much for proof of the claim but strong evidence. Though I don't fully grasp the consequences of this I can feel how this shape is expressed. I would also revisit here Friedman on minimalist art and what I am just starting writing about orthobionomy as art. Remeber too that Pauls tended to valorize the intuitive (the artist's, poet's way) over the scientific. Life is round says to me that life cannot be fully understood or defined by science, it requires many techniques of many domains.
  • Life is probable and thinly pervasive. Number theory offers some evidence that the number of examples in the universe of planets containing life is ≥4. The numbers 1, 2, and 3 are abstract. Reifications begins with 4. We can see in our home example, the only one we have concrete reassurance of, that living things push into all the nooks, crannies, and niches they can access.
  • Life extrapolates and predicts. Control and value are features of the universe that life expresses.
  • There is no bright line between 'living' and 'non-living..
  • Dollo's Law sort of. Life runs the irreversible arrow of time. Like Heraclitus said, you can't step in the same river twice; it's not the same river and you are not the same person.
  • Reciprocal causality is a prominent feature but then this is true of everything in that nothing exists but in relationship.
  • A gestalt of initial conditions (materials) and boundary conditions.



There is something in the quote following this preramble that will work its way into a list of bionomos, life-laws. It's about that interplay, zone of mediation, of initian conditions and boundary conditions; lower and upper level constraints. I sometimes think of this as a scale. A certain range of the scale and things like meaning and value and life and pupost (teleology) are capable of emerging. Panpsychism is an interesting thought (one perhaps preferred by the more redcutionist and dualistically inclined). It is the idea that all these named qualities seemingly brought into being by life prexist in some primordial state. That contrasts with a more oranismic or holistic way of relating to the world. I recommend leaning in that direction, not because it is necessarily right but because it has been so long ignored and denied.


The lower-level constraints are called "initial conditions," and the upper-level constraints are called "bounday conditions." Traditionally vitalists have attempted to account for the regulation (the limit orientation) of organic growth and structure by an appeal to some nonphysical entity. The organismic telologist on the other hand seeks to account for the directive nature of ogranisms by proposing the irreductible gestalt of material limits and boundary conditions. Organismic teology is not dichotomously opposed to mechanism, it is a complementary aspect of material systems.

 ––STEPHEN T. ASMA, Following Form and Function


It is this 'space' of confluence where orthobionomers dive. What is called Phase 7 in Orhto-Bionomy: the diagramatic representation translates, ithrough visualization, into an embodiment of the process or bringing the upper and lower level constaints into a relationship that contributes best to Life's ongoingness. Being performed in the body while recognizing that the mind that is doing this is emerging from a network (community) of namy 'individual' bodies and beings (even some thingy beings).


Symbolic visualizing is one route to incorpating, embodying, a process or practice. Other sennsory channels also get the job done, perhaps even better. The vestibular channel is perhaps even more powerful as this is less filtered (thus more primordial?) sendory channel and is the basis of the formation of the body schema, the direct means whereby we are interpersonal. My pronoun is we. 



The Enlightement way of studying, and thereby conceptualizing, the body has been to redcuce it by individualizing it. The anatomocalized body is splayed open. It is usually (and preferably) a 'dead' body. And "dead" is also a culturally defined concept. An extreme (and most repellent) only people are fully alive and humans are the only people. This arbitrary assignment becomes a more refined private club (e.g., Christian white men only). Cutting a body open to peer at what goes on in the depth removes depth and turns a person into a two-dimendional surface. By bringing it into the suface we translate it into a surface, edadicating other dimensions. It is here too where Nature is invented, a separateness and apart from World. Man against nature, man in nature, nature being thus invented is available to be struggled with, conquered, tamed, reduced, and ultimately replaced: transormed into a World perfectly suited for the thriving of man his his allies. Ideally the allies will all be eventually replaced by techological avatars.his is the 'logical' extension the Enlightement valorizing 'individual freedom.'


The main benefit of Pauls introducing the idea of "Phases" in Ortho-Bionomy is to move in the direction of restoring other dimensions to the body/person. It has this great value irrespective of how awkwardly it came into being, with constantly shifting meanings. Many important things start tentatively, awkwardly. Inchoate means a thing is just beginning, not yet fully formed.


As an orthobionomer I find it moves the needle in the direction of the organismic teleologists. Orthobionomy aims me in the direction of transcendence as a response to nonseparable differences. The spiral movement of Phase 7 places me in a position of transcendence, the level where contradiction disappears. 


This takes me to the product of metabolism, a physiogic propistion given a larger view. The site of metabolism is in the body so wherever metabolism is taking place it is is withing some body boundary condition. Metabolism takes place on the interior. There is little access to these deeps. Move the thing that is alien and other into a space of metabolism, of transformation, and let it sort itself.


I am drawn to repeat a passage from Patricia Hampl's memoir meditation, Virgin Time, when she asks the question, "What is prayer?"


I make a list:




Begging/pleading/cutting deals

Fruitless whining and puling


There the list break off, I had found my word. Prayer only looks like an act of language, fundamentally it is a position, a placement of oneself. Focus. Get there, and all that’s left to say is the words. They come, from ancient times,…from the gush and clutter of the day’s detail longing to be rendered.

So what is silence?

Silence speaks, the contemplatives say. But really, I think silence sorts. An ordering instinct sends people into the hush where the voice can be heard. This is the sorting intelligence of poetry, marked by the unbroken certainty of thigh, perfect pitch, the placing of things in right orders in metrical form. Not rigid categories, but the recognition of a shape always there but ordinarily obscured by—what? By noise, which is ourselves trying to do the sorting in an order that may be a heroic effort but is bound to be a fantasy.

Silence, that inspired dealer, takes the day’s deck, the life, all in a crazy heap, lays it out, and plays its flawless hand of solitaire, every card in place. Scoops them up, and does it all over again.


There is a reason for the interior silence. It is a necessary condition for metabolism, for sorting. It is shielded from conscious probing, interrogating, interfering. Such activity makes it second guess and doubt itself, makes it wobble.





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The vision is for Ongoingness; Life continuing on . . . .


Flaneur (Out for a Stroll)


  Richard Valasek           1308 Ala Kapuna St. Apt 103

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I am I and my circumstance;

and, if I do not save it, I do not save myself.                       —JOSÉ ORTEGA Y GASSET

Changing the Conversation

I was born. I am always a vessel for something other than myself. The self is only a

vehicle for Foreign matter which comes from elsewhere and is destined to go on

elsewhere without me, whether it's words, smells, vision                                                      ––EMANUELE COCCIA  Metamorphoses

The Story Teller

Now, more than ever . . . our place in the universe and the place of the universe in us, is proving to be one of active relationship. That is more than a scientist's credo. The separateness of our lives is a sham. Physics, mathematics, music, painting, my love for you, my work, the star-dust of my body, the spirit that impels it, my politics,  clocks diurnal, time perpetual, the roll, rough, tender, swamping, liberating, breathing, moving, thinking nature, human nature and the cosmos are patterned together.

      —JEANETTE WINTERSON                Gut Symmetries

What you do, what you become, is not my concern.                      ROBERT MCCALL



Yes, there is beauty

There is love

There is joy.

All you who suffer from

the world's miseries

Defend them.

                         ––EEVA KILPI


"Don't immanentize the eschaton."  

                     ––ERIC VOEGELIN

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