Where did we come from?
How did we form?
And what will become of us?
Strange that a little droplet of water expanding into sluggish oil should give us some insights into ourselves, into our birth, life, and death. Here goes:
Before our droplet can change shape, before information can cross its boundary and endure as a change in that boundary, there must be a 100% probable Here and Now for it to sample. But, for man or droplet, such does not exist at this early stage. Nothing makes sense–there is no recognizable sequence in the samples.
We’re starting with one puzzle piece of information, and nothing we’re sampling connects up to it. That’s what making sense (also making space and time) looks like. Our system must first sample possible locations to create the sequence of locations we call space. Our system must sample sequences of logical next steps to create its own time. It must sample its environment at regular intervals in order to become aware of its own duration. (The natural vibrational frequencies of tuning forks are good examples of a regular sampling rate at a boundary.)
The only boundary configuration that works for longterm thought and memory is complex. One might think of it as the product of the natural selection of creating duration in space and time. At first our droplet’s boundary is too curved to interact, then it becomes so flat that random perturbations from its environment can change it, but the changes will not endure. Only when boundary shapes change for good can sequences in space and time form. The experiment ends when again the boundary becomes so curved no new information can be acquired and the droplet can no longer respond to its environment. We would no longer be aware of our existence.
Next, we’ll explore how similar is the birth, life, and death of the human brain and how, as a complex system, its end might differ from the droplet’s.