Är detta landskap livlöst, eller har kanske tiden flera dimensioner?
från Aubade av Olle Adolphson från 1956.
(Unauthorized) Translation:
Is this a lifeless landscape, or could it be that time has several dimensions?
from Aubade, by Olle Adolphson from 1956.

In a time when science has had many triumphs and many more are expected at an accelerated rate, it may be interesting to ponder over the facts regarding living matter. The established position on this is that there is a fundamental difference between living and other forms of matter. The definition would probably involve various types of protein molecules or perhaps some other large molecules. If a more general definition would be used, there would be nothing to prevent artificial life forms, based on computers etc. Although science has been able to create very accurate and impressive models of the making of living creatures down to the scale of individual atomic constituents of the life-carrying codes, nobody has, sofar, been able to synthesize anything living, starting from these atomic constituents. The only time we see anything living created it is through the intervention of some already existing living thing. Therefore, there is still room for doubt about the true nature of life. It is important to point out, that although we are often shown mechanical models and even electron (or ion) micrographs of the molecules of life, the precise nature of all such microscopic phenomena is quite dim. Thanks to the work of a relatively small number of brilliant people, it has been shown that very accurate numeric agreement can be obtained between theory and experiment concerning an important class of microscopic phenomena, but this theory is not very outspoken about the true nature of matter. The pictures we have of life's molecules are in a sense only a kind of symbolic model. The properties of atoms are so foreign to anything human, that one american physicist once stated something like : 'If you have heared about it, and you ain't scared, then you haven't really understood it.' This referred to a class of phenomena later studied with extreme precision, in particular by a french group of physicists, where these 'scary' aspects were proved to be real in an irrefutable manner. One possible conclusion is that matter is globally connected in a manner that doesn't go well together with the idea of atoms as localized objects and hence the picture we have of the molecules of life must be considered as an incomplete one. This is not a question of building more expensive microscopes. It is about a fundamental inaccessibility of the microscopic world. You can cause fragments of matter to smash together in many ways, but you still end up with a small number stable entities when things cool down. These entities can not be completely localized and studied since their nature is partially wavelike. You can never come really close to these little creatures. They just bounce off or scatter or whatever.
If it turns out that atoms under certain conditions can be combined into living things without cheating then it would tend to give credibility to the hypothesis that life could have evolved in some kind of primordial soup.
If we are unable to reproduce any such sequence of events, even when we have exhausted all thinkable schemes, it would be a profound discovery. It would seem to mean that there are additional aspects of reality than those represented in the present scientific scheme of things.
In my view you don't really explain anything by saying that life came from somewhere else in the universe.
One crazy idea that I have been playing around with sometimes, is that there is some kind of synchronization among all the living things. Maybe such that plants and animals differ in the complexity of the synchronization. The term synchronization is used in a generalized sense, implying that time may be multidimensional, in particular three-dimensional. Actually it would be possible to reinterpret all the equations of physics without getting into any disagreement with known facts, by interchanging the meaning of space and time. This would only be a formal interchange. It begs the question of what precisely this would mean. If I had the answer, it would be a theory. As it stands it's little more than a play of words, with the point of departure to avoid contradictions with existing experimental facts. Keeping all the formal relations but stubbornly insisting that they can be interpreted differently and that there may be cases when it actually makes sense.
Moreover this was just one, (and maybe not a very good) example of how one might try to find multi-dimensional time.
Continuing. If it were really true that there can be such a thing as multi-dimensional time, it would open up an immensity of possible worlds existing in parallell and not necessarily completely disconnected. We have already talked about the elusive character of microscopic phenomena. The ancient division of matter into mineral plant animal human(?) and spiritual domains is one concerning different degrees of complexity and freedom. A very crude but still intuitive analogy in one time dimension is a so called Lissajou figure, which results from mixing two signals in a certain way.
It is an analogy in the sense that an unended succession of waves results in a closed figure.
Moving up into higher dimensionalities means going beyond human experience and most of it would probably be almost incomprehensible. People who have been experimenting with visualisations of higher dimensional models with or without computers are said to have developed some degree of intuition for it. There ought to be ways to create improved aids for this purpose using computers, should it be considered desirable to probe into that frontier.

Although I wouldn't mind being completely wrong in all these speculations, it is almost unavoidable that science doesn't evolve along a monotoneous line of successes. Therefore if the old intuition about mineral etc domains would unexpectedly turn out to have some foundation, this would just be an example of such a deviation from the ideal of monotoneously accumulated wisdom.
The idea I have tried to communicate above is that the usual, and undoubtedly very successful model of matter, is just one of many possible models. The atoms of life, according to the periodical system, are not fundamentally different from the other atoms. They just have the properties that makes them particularly suitable for the construction of large molecules. A carbon atom has properties that stand out a bit but not enough to make it qualify as something other than an atom.
If one begins to think about microscopic regularities as one aspect of some kind of underlying phase locking of varying waves of some sort, it seems less surprising that they are a little elusive than when you depart from some kind of mechanical model. In that scheme it may be less relevant to talk about atoms built out of fundamental particles and more relevant to view the molecules of life as a particularly important class of modulations or phase lockings of possibly higher dimension than ordinary time. It was discovered by the british astrophysicist Fred Hoyle that Carbon atoms have a very improbable nuclear energy level explaining the distribution of some elements relevant to the existence of life. Again if you examine such unlikely contingencies from the point of view of a mechanical model it seems mysterious. However if you change the perspective and think of it as something more like tuning a radio receiver to a wanted frequency and or phase relation, it might be less of a mystery.
In this connection, it should be mentioned that nuclear theory is not very exact. And no one knows that atomic nuclear energy levels are located at the proper places since there is no precise theory to compare with. It is even conceivable that there is no formalism that can explain nuclear spectra quantitatively by any application of quantum mechanics.

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