Be real! Has anyone ever said that to you? I get it a lot. I’m a big fan of dry humor – being facetious and sarcastic (only when called for!). I’m also silly – trying to live in a fantasy world because the real world seems yucky.
“Real world?” What is the “real” world? Last week we talked about the most basic kind of reality, the reality of matter and energy. Stuff we can measure and agree upon. But the stove in our example will last for a thousand years, unless someone melts it down. The garlic pasta is going to disappear. Are they both real?
Of course they are real. But the pasta will disappear much faster than the stove because I will have eaten it. If I don’t eat it, the flies and bugs will get to it. One way or another, that delicious combination of ingredients is going down someone’s gullet. And that gullet is going to change those ingredients into stuff that we need to live. The stuff of life.
Life. This is the second reality. There are certain things that all life does that are agreed upon. In the “real” world we aren’t worried about mountains and oceans; they have been behaving themselves for billions of years. What we’re worried about is greed and war. These are evils of life, specifically, human life.
Those things that are common to all living things are the next level of “reality.” All life exchanges elements with the environment. All life attains higher states of order relative to their environment. All life reproduces. And all life creates offspring that are slightly different than the parents. If there were “laws of life” they would look something like this.
The fact that life has been around for a few billion years is a pretty good achievement. We know that because of the “real” physical evidence left behind; fossils, footprints, tooth marks. But life in and of itself is real. Isn’t it?
So now we have physical reality, and the reality of life. Anything else? Care to take a guess?