I was reading some articles the other day about the probability (or not) of life existing elsewhere in the universe.

The last article was arguing that, because we haven’t yet encountered any other signs or signals of life, Earth may be the only place life has arisen – ie it was a freak occurrence or accident.

To me, that would be like someone saying last century: “We haven’t seen any evidence of volcanoes on other planets, ipso facto they may well not exist.” (To be clear, I doubt anyone would have said that last century.)

Everything else we know about in the universe appears to be consistent with the laws of physics, chemistry and quantum mechanics. There’s no ‘accident’ in which one of those laws just happens to fail, or something breaks the law, or in one place in space there’s a different law (allowing of course that no one understands quantum physics, but at least we’re consistent about what we don’t know!) Given that the universe is governed by (at a minimum) physical, chemical and quantum laws, why shouldn’t there also be the law of life?

My hunch is that life is the logical intersection of chemical systems and the quantum world – more than that, it’s the logical ‘next step’ after the Big Bang created (or at least enabled) matter, energy and the laws of the universe. In other words, life is inevitable.

There are three ways I look at this:

  1. Life ‘manipulates’ chemical systems to create complex structures such as eyes, backbones and brains.
  2. Consciousness is the way the quantum world manifests in the physical world.
  3. The human brain is only able to perceive a restricted slice of reality due to it’s anchor in the physical and chemical world. (Another way of looking at this is to imagine subatomic particles as tiny observers who can ‘see’ wave-particle duality, whereas humans can only practically conceive of it as ‘wave-or-particle’ seeing as that is our current reality.)

These hypotheses rely on matter and energy following the laws of physics, chemistry and quantum mechanics to create complex order that enables life and consciousness. That doesn’t sound accidental or random to me!

Moreover, the more I read about quantum mechanics, the more it appears to me that the quantum world is ‘alive’ – or at least the wellspring of life. Those pesky sub-atomic particles that sometimes act like a particle and sometimes like a wave, appear and disappear, and entangle with each other at huge distances, could in fact be teeny jokers, playing mind games with us humans so we never get to understand or control them!

And us humans? – well, perhaps we’re simply the vehicle by which the quantum world is planning to emerge as the dominant order in the universe. Matter and energy created life which created humans which are creating artificial intelligence which will soon be driven by quantum computers … need I say more?

Let me know your own thoughts about life in the universe. If anyone has any wacky theories as wacky as mine, then … well, congratulations, and I hope you’re looking forward to the coming of our tiny masters as much as I am!

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