Home Forums Deep Time Journey Forum Is the universe a "living system"? Reply To: Is the universe a "living system"?

Ed Lantz

Thanks for taking the time to explain. Perhaps I should read your book “The Living Universe” before commenting further 🙂


“…I definitely do not see the universe as “alive” in the same way that biological organisms are alive.  However, I do see the universe as a unique kind of unified and living system nested within the unique aliveness of a larger multiverse… the atoms that comprise the rock… do seem to possess some kind of primary “aliveness”. So, my working hypothesis is that unique expressions of aliveness are found at both higher and lower orders of scale, with “biological” organisms being an expression of life found within the human range.”


Sure. Well the difficulty here is measuring “aliveness.” As you admit, by all definitions, you do not see a rock as “alive” in the way that we are alive. Yet the very word “alive” would imply this, no?


There is another way at this. It is possible to show (by both theory and experiment) that the universe has vast quantum informational and computational capacities (even a rock – even the vacuum, for that matter). Currently, these computational and informational processes are thought to be completely random. Shannon taught us maximum randomness is (or, to be exact, could be) a sign of maximal information. Perhaps if we knew how to look at “quantum noise” we would find (superimposed) bounded informational structures that we might think of as intelligent informational processes. This is completely plausible based on what we know about quantum computation.


We might then posit that life is an outward expression of the “intelligence” that is imbued in all matter, living as it were in this quantum computational substrate (the “quantum foam,” as it is called). Now we have a theory that is (ultimately) testable. Instead of looking for metabolism in rocks and galaxies as a sign of life, we would be looking for intelligence – not in the atomic motions or chemical exchanges of those systems, but in the quantum informational exchanges within those systems.


Measuring quantum informational “patterns” in matter is possible with sensitive instruments. If we could show that matter is imbued with intelligence in this manner, intelligence implies consciousness, and consciousness implies life. So in a roundabout way you could then indeed claim that all matter is alive… alive with intelligence.


I’ve been chatting about quantum consciousness on a LinkedIn forum – I’ll post a summary of my latest research and thoughts on the topic.