ISBN 0-521-42708-8, Canto.
What is Life by Erwin Schrödinger, 1944.
chapters 1-5 make a number of interesting conclusions about DNA before
it was discovered.
the rule is good to know:
The laws of physics and
physical chemistry are inaccurate within a probably relative error of
the order of , where is the number of molecules
that co-operate to bring about that law...
chapter 6 Order, Disorder and Entropy is where it gets fun:
... Order based on order - Living matter evades the decay to
equilibrium - It feeds on `negative entropy' ... Organization
maintained by extracting `order' from the environment.
What is the characteristic feature of life? When is a piece of matter
said to be alive? When it goes on `doing something', moving,
exchanging material with its environoment, and so forth ...
in the epilogue On Determinism and Free Will he goes all the way:
Athman = Brahman ... the mysics of many centuries,
independently, yet in perfect harmony with each other ... have
described ... the unique experience of his or her life [as] DEUS
FACTUS SUM (I have become God) ... their thoughts and joy are numerically one ... Consciousnesss is never experienced in the plural
see Huxley's Perenial Philosophy.
see William James on monotheism vs polytheism in The Varieties of
Mind and Matter, 1958.
he relates consciosness to learning:
on frequent repetition the whole string of events becomes more
and more of a routine, it becomes more and more uninteresting, the
resonses become ever more reliable according as they fade from
consciousness ... hundreds and hundreds of manipulations and
performances of everyday life had all to be learnt once, and that with
great attentiveness and painstaking care ... now this whole state of
affairs, so well known from the ontogeny of our mental life,
seems to me to shed light on the phylogeny of unconscious nervous
processes, as in the heart beat, the peristalsis of the bowels, etc.
... consciousness is associated with the learning of the living
substance; its knowing how (Können) is unconscious.
see Turchin, Zygon.
on Ethics he says:
Indeed in our days, more perhaps than in others, we hear this
demand often enough mocked at `I am as I am, give room to my
individuality! Free development to the desires that nature has planted
in me! All the shalls that oppose me in this are nonsense, priests'
fraud. God is Nature, and Nature may be credited with having formed
me as she wants me to be.' It is not easy to refute their plain and
brutal obviousness. ... our conscious life ... is necessarily a
continued fight against our primitive ego. ... consciousness and
discord with one's own self are inseparable linked up, even that they
must be ... proportional to each other.
Dangers to Intellectual Evolution: ... We are ... in grave
danger of missing the `path to perfection' ... the increasing
mechanization and `stupidization' of most manufacturing processes
involve the serious danger of a general degeneration of our organ of
intelligence. ... by alleviating the responsibility of the individual
to look after himself and by levelling the chances of every man, they
also tend to rule out the competition of talents and thus to put an
efficient brake on biological evolution. ... Next to want, boredom has
become the worst scourge of our lives. Instead of letting the
ingenious machinery we have invented produce an increasing amount of
superfluous luxury, we must plan to develop it so that it takes off
human beings all the unintelligent, mechanical, `machine-like'
handling. ... This will not tend to make production cheaper, but
those who are engaged in it happier ... there is small hope of putting
this through as long as the competition between big firms and concerns
all over the world prevails. But this kind of competition is as
uninteresting as it is biologically worthless. Our aim should be to
reinstate in its place the interesting and intelligent competition of
single human beings.
i think he's missing that cultural/technological evolution has taken
over and is moving so fast that biology is standing still: eucaryotic
cells haven't changed much compared to the organisms made up of them.
the eugenic overtones make me wonder about a connection with the Nazis
(he fled when Hitler took over).
see the Unabomber and New Technology: Society, Employment, and
Skill seem to make similar errors.
The Principle of Objectivation: Neither can the body determine
the mind to think, nor the mind determine the body to motion or rest
or anything else (if such there be) - Spinoza's Ethics Pt III, Prop 2.
Sir Charles Sherrington's Man and Nature ... The Arithmetical
Paradox: the Oneness of Mind ... Aziz Nasafi the 13th century Persian
mysic ... Plato's theory of forms, the origin of abstraction
... Science and Religion.