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Force of Life

  1. Dec 25, 2009 #1
    Just a quick thought...

    Everything to our knowledge is governed by four fundamental forces: the gravitational, electromagnetic, and strong and weak nuclear forces.

    But I am wondering, my desire to spontaneously move my hand to the right for example -- what is the explanation for this. Can we call this the 'life force'?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 25, 2009 #2
    Nerve signals are generated by an action potential which is essentially electric current.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Action_potential" [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  4. Dec 25, 2009 #3
    Right, ok. That makes sense. I understand that somehow the movement of my hand is complicatedly realized through the other forces (you are telling me the basis of it is the electromagnetic force). What I was trying to talk about was the thing that decides this random action. But I imagine that topic is hardly suitable for this forum...and maybe not to relevant/interesting because there is hardly anything conclusive to say about it. Or at least that is what I assume.

    Thanks for the reply!
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  5. Dec 25, 2009 #4
    I support the view, that it is all just plain physics in your brain. But our brain is programmed to be arrogant so that we think we are the center of the universe and also our brain is programmed that every event has to be man-made and so we invent a god for everything.

    Just as a dog will never be able to understand algebra, we are only one little step ahead and so still most of the world we are unable to understand.

    If you read about all sort of brain disorders, which are very hard to understand for healthy people, you understand that all of our abilities are "brain hardware" that is given to us at birth and thus precoded in the DNA. There are probably lots of brain hardware block that nature hasn't given us.
  6. Dec 25, 2009 #5

    That view is interesting I think. It is not the least bit intuitive, and I am inclined to think the opposite, but maybe, as you said, it is just our "arrogance" in the matter i.e. how we are programmed.

    By the way, I read a bit about Kim Peek the 'megasavant' that recently died, and how his abilities were due to the odd configuration of his brain. In this respect, I caught myself thinking how we really are our brains.

    I have a hard time with this though, because the answer you give does not seem satisfactory to me, yet maybe that is how it is supposed to be...
  7. Dec 25, 2009 #6
    I think some of the diffucilties accepting that the product of the brain is simply the result of the work of your brain cells is that you do not sence the work of your brain. You have no registration of the processes. If the same was true for your arm and legs - that is if you couldn't sence the work of your arms and legs - you'd have similar trouble realising what went on when you move aorund in the world or when your fork reaches your mouth. You'd have no clue how you got the food in your mouth and would probably imagine hidden forces to be responsible :-)

    - Henrik
  8. Dec 25, 2009 #7


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    The brain works through electric impulses and chemistry, there is no need for a magical 'force of life'. You can visualize the signaling with electrodes or with an MRI.

    This is not a question that you answer with a "quick thought". If you really want to know an answer you need to look at very simple systems. How does a white blood cell chase bacteria?
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  9. Dec 25, 2009 #8


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    :eek: That's an awesome video...do you have any idea how much it's sped up?
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  10. Dec 26, 2009 #9
    These kind of examples are when I also started to think that we cannot solve universal tasks, but rather only what is given as a special feature to our brain.

    You find more examples thinking about people who cannot recognize faces, cant do algebra, cant read, cant recognize what is on the left side of their view field despite reacting to it (if its scary for example). These are all examples of brain disorders which show that many of you abilities are just prepackages hardware and I'm sure there is never a complete set of packages.
  11. Dec 26, 2009 #10
    hmm...yes. I don't doubt it. But in subscribing to this i don't want the amazingness of life to be understated.

    The similarity i saw between the fundamental forces and life, was that they all manipulate matter, albeit life does so in a random, non-constant way. And here I am mostly talking about human life, as this is where it is most prominent. We make intricate complex things, send rocket ships into space, and all this stuff that the fundamental forces seem incapable of creating on there own, let alone moving in the ways we compel them.

    I agree though, to consider life as another independent force would probably not be correct. We seem to rather manipulate matter though a facilitation of the existing forces in a complex way.

    I understand that it's immensely complex. I was listening to a presentation by Aubrey de Grey recently (leader in the field of life extension) and said this about metabolism (the process that results in the movement of the hand essentially, no?), and how instead to target aging we need to work on repairing the effects (damage) of metabolism.

    So I was not really looking into the process of how this works, but more the element of free will that seems to accompany the movement of the hand. And how the random and spontanious quality of life *seems* to be in discordance with the fundamental forces.

    But, I am kind of conflicted with what I am saying...the point is I think, is just that life is interesting, and maybe more so than we think. Or at least more so than I used to think ha.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  12. Dec 26, 2009 #11
    True. There is no reason to think that life in general as well as the human mind and it's products isn't governed by chemistry and electricity resulting from the four fundamental forces.

    And I also find life is overwhelming. And that even though we might not have the brains capable of understanding "everything" it is enchanting that we can grasp the uniqueness of being alive amongst a complex biology.
  13. Dec 26, 2009 #12


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    Life is amazing, but it also obeys the fundamental laws of nature. If you want to understand life, you should study how cells works. It really is amazing. We are composed of little machines that are all designed to do a job and everything works together in perfect harmony.

    Understanding the process of free will is very complex, there will be no simple answer. It's like asking what the universe is. When you see the white blood cell chasing a bacterium, do you think it is doing it out of free will, or does it only appear to be so?
  14. Dec 27, 2009 #13
    Will to live and meaning of life seem to follow along the same lines.
    I thought meaning of life was something out of the lines to reduce entropy and the meaning of free will is to proceed against a changing environment.
    Btw, anyone want to tell me how to quote someone?
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