Friday, May 16, 2014

Patterns of Resources in the Universe

This blog will develop and apply a model of life.  Here I give some assumptions which underlie the model. 

Living Things exist in a Universe.

Properties of Living Things

senses — living things can detect certain aspects of their surroundings.
ability to act — living things can attempt to act in particular ways.  Many such acts involve motor or muscular movement.  But other possible acts might be to wait idly or to calculate without moving. Living things can act to imbibe resources. Living things can act to reproduce themselves. Note however that a living thing's choice to act in a particular way does not guarantee that the attempted action will succeed.  Each attempt by a living thing to act might succeed or fail, depending upon circumstances.
purpose — living things have goals.  Typical goals might be to imbibe the resources necessary for life, to reproduce, or to gain security.
memory — living things have some ability to store a record of their experiences.
calculating capacity — living things can “think” about how to act.  Typically this calculation might consider: (1) the present state of the environment as determined through senses; (2) present purpose; (3) present store of resources; (4) memory of prior similar experiences. 
resource consumption — living things necessarily use up some of their store of resources in each increment of time.  The amount of consumption may depend upon the action undertaken.
resource storage — living things can store some of the resources which are necessary for their lives.  Typically living things can store an amount of each resource sufficient for multiple time increments, so that living things can spend some of their time in actions other than imbibing.
nondeterministic choice of actions — living things will employ their memories and calculating capacities to guide their choices of actions with as much "wisdom" as they can muster. But they will commonly find themselves with no definite knowledge about how to act. So, in order to avoid starvation which will certainly come if they remain idle, living things will sometimes guess how to act, selecting an act at random if need be.

Properties of the Universe

space — the universe has one or more dimensions.
resources — the universe contains raw materials and energy of the sorts required by living things.  Most of these resources are distributed in concentrations, i.e. in patterns. Such patterns of resources give rise to the prospect that living things may discover and exploit these patterns. The concentrations of resources vary widely in size, from tiny (perhaps atomic or subatomic) to huge (galactic or larger).
living things — the universe contains living things, in order to give some interest to our model.
time — time passes in the universe.  Resources and living things may move around with passage of time.

Obviously this model has been designed in sympathy with humans.  The living things could be us humans.  The universe could be the Earth.  But the model allows us to look at other implementations, at other “living things” and other “universes”.  These other implementations will ring with suggestions about our existence as humans, about our social orders.

Here I have listed many assumptions.  But note that I have titled this post “Patterns of Resources in the Universe”.  Thereby I highlight one of the assumptions.  I believe this one assumption leads to valuable and novel suggestions which will come from uses of this model.  Our social orders often reflect patterns of resources in the universe, as I seek to establish.

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