There is a clear and present difference between living organisms and machines. Living organisms are internally motivated manifestations of biological evolution whereas machines are both designed and moved by external agency. In other words, organisms possess sentience — some form of receptive and responsive awareness of their natural situation and future possibilities — whereas machines do not.
Attempts to explain the origin and evolution of life as if organisms are machines designed, driven and controlled by external agency therefore fall fundamentally short of addressing the pivotal question of life: whence and how does sentience arise? Even Charles Darwin recognised this problem when he commented, ‘one might as well speculate about the origin of matter’.
Darwin’s comment, made at a time when atoms were still believed to be hard, massy, indivisible particles, was unwittingly prescient. For, as Marman (2018) has shown convincingly, all the mechanistically inexplicable findings of quantum mechanics that have been made subsequently have equivalents in the receptive-responsive relationships formed by living organisms with one another and their natural surroundings. This suggests that the origin of life and the origin of matter really do share a common ancestry.
Moreover, it is possible to work out from simple first principles what is essential both for the existence of matter and for the existence of life, but has been overlooked by objectivistic scientific theory and methodology that views reality solely from the standpoint of an external observer who discounts internal agency. Quite simply, as Rayner (2017, 2018) has clarified, this is the mutually inclusive relationship between omnipresent intangible spatial stillness or void and locally informative energetic flux as receptive and responsive presences in all material bodies, including our own living human bodies.
The purpose of this short essay is simply to draw attention to this evolutionary relationship between the origin of matter and the origin of life. Detailed argument and evidence for this relationship is and will be provided elsewhere along with an exploration of its far-reaching implications for human understanding and flourishing…