What Exists

Look, here is a tree in the garden and every summer is produces apples, and we call it an apple tree because the tree “apples.” That’s what it does.

Alright, now here is a solar system inside a galaxy, and one of the peculiarities of this solar system is that at least on the planet earth, the thing peoples! In just the same way that an apple tree apples!

― Alan Watts

My current and always flawed understanding of what exists and how we got here is that the universe was created with a Big Bang that caused the creation of quark–gluon plasma.

What continued from there was a change over a never-ending stream of single moments, that we perceive of as the passage of time. As conditions to a given entity being examined fall in or out of specific Goldilocks zones, additional layers of complexity can be created or destroyed. When a new layer of complexity exists, the underlying elements still exist, but are bound together by sets of rules.

Energy levels decrease and quark-gluon plasma combine into atoms of Hydrogen. Electromagetic forces pull a growing number of Hydrogen atoms together until forces become strong enough to cause the start of fusion.

The group of atoms influence each other’s movements such that they are bound into a well defined structure, which is what we refer to as a star.

Fusion in the star consists of fusing the nucleus of two atoms together, resulting in the creation of atoms of larger and larger atomic weights, new elements as defined in the periodic table. It also releases massive amounts of energy as photons and an electromagnetic wave.

As less and less low atomic weight atoms exist within the star, the star will cool as fusion slows, a trend that would ultimately result in collapse.

Since speed is relative, you can view the star as being stationary, or in motion relative to a specific fixed point. Each star in existence exert force upon each other in accordance with the rules of gravity. Stars collide, resulting in the spraying of atoms too low in density to sustain fusion.

Energy is lost, and objects of varying size continue in accordance with the rules of physics. Some become trapped by the gravity of a planet, and dragged behind the sun forming what could be perceived to be an oval from the perspective of the sun, or a corkscrew from the perspective of a distant point perpendicular to the motion of the sun.

On planets where the right combination of elements and energy are achieved, compounds may be formed which have the ability to self-replicate, likely in the form of RNA. Replication continues with errors in replication resulting in small changes.

Eventually an error in replication caused the ribose in RNA to be replaced by deoxyribose of DNA, which provided for better stability in copies.

On our planet, multi-cellular organisms of increasing complexity appeared. Replication errors resulting in new mutations like the ability to obtain increased amounts of energy through processes like photosynthesis, or through consumption of other cells. Over time these collections of cells join with other cells of other independent organisms (gut flora for example) living the bounds of a large organisms that we would call animals.

Sexual reproduction provides for a greater diversity of life, with a benefit granted to those organisms with traits best suited to the environment as it exists during their lifetime.

Life evolve in tandem with the changing of the planet itself, with the gravity of neighboring bodies causing small adjustments the motion of the planet, sometimes causing shifts in temperatures, and occasionally being changed by impacts of foreign bodies.

Species grew and shrank in size based upon the impact of mutations within specific environments. Some continuous chains of replications ended as a given species would become extinct. Other forms of life continue, often with the loss of one form being a benefit to another form in the moment.

Complexities in the nervous systems of some species of animals resulted in what we call memory, which provides for the perception of the passage of time.

One specific chain of replications became the genus Homo, or what we would call humans. Early human species spread from Africa around the world, but were eventually replaced by a newer species called Sapiens which left Africa at a later date.

Mutations allowed for speech, allowing for greater collaboration. Words spread ideas between people in what Richard Dawkins would call memes. These ideas increased in complexity until they became epic stories, allowing for individuals to unite in larger and larger groups, like towns, cities, and nations.

Writing further improved the process of spreading memes from person to person while increasing the fidelity of the copies, much like the change from RNA to DNA.

Ideas are used to force sets of rules governing the behaviors of these intelligent apes. Individuals are able to leverage knowledge, logic and reason to either overcome their animal instincts, or to justify them. Societies rise and fall based upon the content of the stories shared by the individuals within them, as well as the impact of all forces that would typically shape evolution.

Patterns of behaviors result in patterns of results, with poets, religions and philosophers recording observations and defining rules for individual behavior, which are honored or ignored on an individual basis, creating trends which may be observed over time. Each occurrence being unique to it’s own time, but also reflecting the truths of the underlying instinctual animal.

Each human contains their own unique understanding of their world and the rules which govern it, based upon what they have learned through personal experience or education. Each person is aware of a small subset of what truly exists.

Specific humans will succeed or fail based upon the synthesis of themselves and their surrounding environment. An understanding of this can be found in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

Groups of humans use stories called laws to regulate the behaviors of the individuals within the group. Each human will either honor those stories or not based upon their own personal knowledge, experience and needs.

Laws are created by humans with incomplete and biased understandings of the whole of existence, and are subject to regular change as societies evolve around them.

Individuals join groups of varying types in order to achieve specific goals ranging from making growing food to controlling international markets.

Collaboration is more effective in large groups, which often requires the creation of tiers of power. This dynamic can be found in governments, churches, corporations, and any other organization of considerable size. Concentrated power is a mixed blessing since it enables the best we’ve been able to accomplish, but attracts the worst individuals.

Like much of existence, change creates a trend towards complexity, with laws becoming increasingly difficult to change, while simultaneously becoming divorced from the ever changing reality around it. Those who benefit from these unjust laws use the power it provides to maintain the current system, while those who suffer from the use of that power reject it. Sometimes enough rejection exists to change an unjust system.

Those with power rarely give it up willingly.

Technology produced by humans collaborating eventually resulted in the emergence of new forms of global collaboration, deep learning and artificial intelligence.

These technology were created by individuals playing out a story of collaboration, paid for individuals playing out a story competition and the acquisition of power. This story of power is referred to as Capitalism, which exists as a theoretical construct that is not understood in a consistent way across the willing and non-willing collaborators.

Power acquisition has been so complete that at the time of writing concentrated power within industry has co-opted power within government in order to force the global population to continue on a path which demonstrably ends in disaster.

While this has predictably created a counter story which refuses to ignore a larger reality outside of the economic realm, it is impossible for a given participant to understand enough of the complexity of the world sufficiently to predict what will occur in the future.

Each of these layers of complexity coexist.

Humans are intelligent apes containing other multi-cellular organisms dependent on the output of external living creatures on a large chunk of heavy elements trailing behind a large ball of fusing plasma.

The ever increasingly complex dance of quarks. A never ending series of moments as a reality plays.