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Duane Elgin

While I don’t presume the following article and study “proves” the presence of a life-force that aids “matter” in its process of self-organization, it does seem suggestive of such a process. See the article in “Science Daily,” April 7, 2015 “New study hints at spontaneous appearance of primordial DNA”  The article states:

“The self-organization properties of DNA-like molecular fragments four billion years ago may have guided their own growth into repeating chemical chains long enough to act as a basis for primitive life. . .” It continues by stating, “The new findings suggest a novel scenario for the non-biological origins of nucleic acids, which are the building blocks of living organisms.”  The article also states that, “While there now is consensus among origin-of-life researchers that RNA chains are too specialized to have been created as a product of random chemical reactions, the new findings suggest a viable alternative. . . The new research demonstrates that the spontaneous self-assembly of DNA fragments just a few nanometers in length into ordered liquid crystal phases has the ability to drive the formation of chemical bonds that connect together short DNA chains to form long ones, without the aid of biological mechanisms.”

Here is the URL for the original article in “Nature Communications“: 
You ask, “Are you saying that “living” is merely our label for self-organised/consciousness-permeated entities that have evolved to meet some bar for complexity?” In reply, I think this is an interesting track to pursue as this article indicates there is a process of “spontaneous self-assembly” at work and this suggests that a “life-force” or “knowing capacity” is at work to enable this “spontaneous” process.