Life Forms Bridging Up the Gap Between Life and Nonlife

Now we make a further step in exploring cosmic life forms by asking whether life can be continuous with the apparently inanimate world, as many scientists suggested (e.g. Nature, Editorial, 2007). We all know that highly organized life can be manifest only when suitable conditions are present. Yet there are strong arguments telling that there is no sharp boundary between life and non-life. For example, quanta in the double-slit experiment are able to orientate themselves according to the situation as a whole and behave correspondingly (Grandpierre, 2007). Therefore, it seems that quanta conduct their behavior not only according to the laws of physics but also according to the situation as a whole. We attempt here to bridge the apparent gap between living organisms and quanta with the help of a series of steps generalizing the Bauer principle, replacing the requirement of systematic investment of work by some less restrictive conditions that can actually correspond to forms of cosmic life.

Let us try to approach the most general life form by recognizing the special properties of life as we know it on Earth and try to look at what we find if we remove these special properties from the concept of life. First of all, the difference between animals and plants is that animals are able to move. Usually, plants are motile, but are able to govern their shapes (as the Sun, too, regarding its activity forms).

The difference between a physical object and a living organism is that the living organism can select an endpoint for the action principle, like a living bird when dropped from a height, in contrast to a fallen stone which must follow the law of free fall. The fallen stone follows the least action principle, while the living bird follows the most action principle securing the maximum available distance from equilibrium. The selection of the endpoint for the most action principle produces an input for the first principle of physics securing the least action to be consumed. (Grandpierre, 2007) In order that an organism can move its parts like an animal or change its forms as a plant, it must be able to select an endpoint and govern its whole macroscopic structure towards reaching the selected state. In plants and animals, the conditions are such that they are able to realize such hierarchical organization from the global to the microlevel, continuously. It seems to be possible that there are systems in which the conditions necessary for realizing a selected macrostate through organizational processes across all hierarchical levels of organization are not present continuously. In such systems, endpoint selection cannot be realized continuously, but intermittently, or only occasionally. Microscopic and intermittent life may be present in the inorganic world in the form of occasional realization of the most action principle in microscopic processes. Hypothesizing microlife has a definite advantage of allowing life to be continuous with the inanimate world, since microlife in a physical environment without any forms of available free energy content can lead the same result as the least action principle. Clearly, if all the available free energy is zero, the maximum usable energy is identical with the minimum of it. This interpretation may explain the origin, nature and working mechanism of the least action principle, by the same token.

We may add that microlife can lead through relatively long time scales they can produce observable macroscopic consequences in geology and astrophysics. This kind of life form may be referred to as microlife at large or hidden life.

Microlife at large is different from macrolife in that macrolife organisms manifest biological behavior in their macroscopic changes like activity forms or locomotion, while microlife at large show variations only on geological or astronomical time scales.

Exploring cosmic life forms we are led to an unexpected and surprising result. This result tells that the universe may be full with cosmic life forms: stars with stellar activity cycles, intermittent life, microlife can populate the universe from cosmic clouds until stellar surfaces. If so, life can be truly a universal phenomenon, in a more full sense of the word as suspected until now.

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