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Are humans a natural phenomenon if they are just society of cells?

  1. Apr 2, 2012 #1
    So a human is made of cells. It is essentially a city or society of cells that live together. There is no such thing as human, it's just a bunch of cells. So human is just a natural phenomenon, an emergent property. In addition, a cell is just a bunch of atoms. I.e. a collection of atoms obeying physical laws. There is no such thing as human, just matter and physical laws.

    Surely in this case Earth, the planet, is just a society of living things. A collection of humans and other stuff. Therefore, can the Earth think and is it self aware? What is that phenomenon called?

    Furthermore, if I am just a natural phenomenon, then surely I don't exist in the physical sense, because physically I'm just atoms obeying natural laws. I am a clustering of energy. In this case, when I die, what happens is that the energy that makes up me changes state, and possibly changes vibration frequency.

    Surely in this case, there must be a physical law that wants the energy to not change state, which then translates to I not wanting to die.

    In addition, it is clear that advanced civilizations as such do not exist, because even us are just made up of atoms that are governed by physical laws. It just depends on what level of abstraction you look at: the atom level, the cell level, the human level, the Earth level, the Universe level. Life as we know it must be simply a natural phenomenon.

    For example, how do we know that the Sun cannot think and experience itself and it's not an advanced civilization? Maybe the Sun looks at us and all it can see is just a bunch of chemical reactions on this planet, some chemical stuff. Consciousnesses is just one type of natural phenomenon. There are a lot of other phenomena out there that may be perceived as experiences, such as fusion.

    What I'm getting at is that we as such do not exist. We are just a bunch of atoms obeying physical laws, a clustering of energy. We are no different that any other thing in the universe, for example a rock orbiting a planet, or some gas fusing in a star. How do we know what it's like to be a rock?

    So as we can see physically 'we' do not exist. Which comes to the fact as to what is consciousness, because that's the only thing that matters to us. Consciousness is a complex interaction of matter in the universe. It is a relationship between things.

    Now is there more to consciousness than physical things? If it is the phenomenon of clustering of energy by a definite way. This means the whole Universe is fitted to letting consciousness emerge. Now if everything is energy and consciousness is just a state of energy, then why is it not possible for us to experience the whole universe in every way? Or do we experience it and thus does the universe only exist in our mind? Maybe consciousness is a phenomenon that needs the whole universe to be arranged in a specific way so that it can exist. Consciousness is the universe.

    Unless there's something out there that we don't know about, which is likely. Our mind cannot comprehend it. Life and Death is an illusion, it's just energy changing state. I never live and I never die, I always exist with the universe. I and the universe are the same.

    It's weird why we are stuck at this abstraction level. We don't think in terms of atoms or cells or ecosystems, but we think in terms of humans. I really would like to know what it feels like to be Earth, with creatures being my cells. I also wonder what it feels like to be a cell. I should know since I'm made up of cells, but yet I don't. Similarly, the Earth must not know either what it takes to be human.

    If this didn't make sense, it could be. It's just me trying to understand what I am, but I doubt it that I can. I doubt anyone can truly understand what they are. We have no idea what it is that we in fact are. You just don't know. Not a clue. Impossible. What does it mean to actually 'understand'? Is that another natural phenomenon?

    I have wants, I have will. But does my will just reflect natural laws acting on matter? Does an electron 'want' to orbit around a proton? Is it the same desire that we feel when we want to do something?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 2, 2012 #2


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    Gold Member

    Are you asking for guidance on science or just expressing a viewpoint on an alternative type of metaphysics?
  4. Apr 2, 2012 #3


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    Staff: Mentor

    This was moved from philosophy for not meeting the guidelines for posting there.
  5. Apr 2, 2012 #4
    I doubt i could be of much help here, but the one thing that is relevant to your questions is consciousness and free will. They exist in some way and to some extent(this is beyond doubt, i think) and they are very problematic for the gloomy mechanistic worldview you are espousing. They simply don't fit.

    Well, at least we no longer hang off trees and branches. We have some ideas, we are not absolutely cluless, just generally clueless on the deeper issues, but that's to be expected.

    BTW, in certain extraordinary situations nature allows 32+32 to equal 65. I guess you are that instance.
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2012
  6. Apr 2, 2012 #5


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    Tonio, would it offend you terribly if I point out that you make absolutely no sense?
  7. Apr 2, 2012 #6
    huh, I guess I'm kind of high. I guess I was mixing several concepts with each other like about 20. I will pick two.

    1) so humans are made of cells and some minerals, right? Even though cells are so primitive, when they come together, they can create awareness. A cell has absolutely no clue what it's like to think. Only humans can think, which are a collection of cells.

    Now imagine you are a cell. From atom you step up one abstraction level, you get a cell. From cell you step up one abstraction level, you get a human. So humans interact with each other the same way as cells do. They together, with other creatures and other elements make up an ecosystem. Can the ecosystem as a whole have an emergent property that we cannot comprehend? On the cell level the emergent property is thought. Could there be another emergent property that comes from all creatures on Earth interacting with each other? Something like a higher level of consciousness, that only the Earth as a whole can experience? Can the Earth be self aware on a higher level? Like you are self aware, because of cells in your brain interacting.

    In addition, if you step up one more abstraction level, to the Universe, can the Universe have a subjective experience of its own?

    2) On the basic level we are atoms that obey physical laws. We are made of the same elements that we can find in the environment. The fact that we can think comes from a certain arrangement of these elements. Thought is a phenomenon. Life is a phenomenon. Awareness is a phenomenon. Thought is made possible with the arrangements of very simple elements that obey physical laws.

    Now, granted there are other types of natural phenomenon out there. For example fusion in the Sun. If you look at it from an outsider perspective, thinking can be explained with atoms and physical laws, because it's nothing more than that. It looks like any other natural phenomenon. So how do we know that other natural phenomena do not have subjective experiences? How do we know for example that subjectively, fusion gives rise to some kind of experience? How do we know that fusion doesn't let the Sun "think" in its own way? Granted it won't be the same experience we have because our experience is defined by the physical processes that take place in our brain. But there might be other experiences out there. For example, in this sense, the Sun could be "alien life" in a way. If it were to "look" at us, all it could see that we are some chemical reaction that changes form and alters its environment. On the most fundamental level, having thought and being alive can be explained by the same basic laws and elements as having fusion .

    So really when we look for advanced civilizations out there, we are just looking for the exact same phenomenon as us so that we can interact with it. But there are a number of other phenomena out there. For example, even fire could "think" in its own way, since it exists. How do we know that being a rock doesn't "feel" like something in a subjective way. After all, your feelings and thoughts are just chemical reactions, there's nothing mysterious about them, they can be described by simple elements and laws.

    When I look at another human being, I have absolutely no idea if it has an experience on it own, or it's not just some natural phenomenon. I *assume* that it has experience and a mind, since it *behaves* like me. But if I don't assume, then it's just some elements interacting with each other, and *nothing more*

    3) Granted we we are connected to each other because we are made up of the same basic elements and are governed by the same physical laws. That means we are one and the same as the universe. Therefore, the whole Universe as a collective works together to let consciousness exist.

    I will elaborate on 3) later. I will pick some more concepts and focus on each one. I need to take a rest now. I'm so high.
  8. Apr 2, 2012 #7
    What other world view is there? Spirits and souls?
  9. Apr 2, 2012 #8


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    Sorry this too too overly speculative.
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