12.2 The Household Set: Second Level
— The Living Cell —
Second Level: The Living Cell
As with the atom, the living cell consists of an active cell body and a passive nucleus that contains all information to run the cell. Same as with the atom, the nucleus can't change without altering the very constitution of the cell, while the body is perpetually composed according to the available nutrients, be it after the format the nucleus demands. The body maintains communications with neighboring cells and all cells comprise the economy we call the bio-sphere.
- Loosely connected smears;
- Tightly knitted forms; colonies, symbiotic partnerships.
- Conscious Minds.
It's really quite difficult to pinpoint precisely at which level of complexity a bundle of atoms and molecules may actually be called alive. A living cell is nothing but a vortex in which material particles are captured, applied and at some time or another done away with. Compare life with traffic on a street during rush hour congestion. Cars standing still seem to form something, a mechanical snake that releases cars at one end and absorbs cars at the other. Wait half an hour and the snake is still there, even though every car that made it up half an hour ago has been replaced by another one.
Just like traffic congestion starts when cars are forced to slow down a bit, so may we speak of proto-life when atoms begin to form chemical compounds. And just like there's a big difference to having to brake every once in a while, and running into a traffic jam that backs traffic up for miles, so is a living cell different from complex chemical structures. Still, there is an obvious relation and no real separation.
According to the fossil record, life began, just like electron activity, as cells without a nucleus (prokaryotes). Much later, living cells emerged that had nuclei (eukaryotes). Single cellular organisms ruled the planet for about the same amount of time as multi cellular organisms have. The fossil record suggests that planet earth has known only single cellular life from the moment life emerged about 4 billion years ago to 2 billion years ago, and although their presence is not immediately obvious (their existence wasn't known until Van Leeuwenhoek invented the microscope) they are still very much around and form the foundation of the bio-sphere. In fact, most life on planet earth is single cellular. And, as with the atom, material may enter the cell body and alter the condition of the cell but not the constitution. Any change in DNA however will produce an entire new creature.
An astonishing conclusion of the Household Set is something that has been previously suggested by certain cosmologists and students of the Evolution Theory: if indeed the formation of living cells is due to the powers of self-similarity, then the genetic nuclei of cells were formed long before eukaryotes emerged on planet earth. As with the nucleosynthesis in the realm of matter, the complex molecular strands of DNA may have been formed along with prokaryotic life forms, perhaps even in space instead of on the surface of our planet. DNA and prokaryotic life may have existed side by side just like protons and electrons have, only to unite in an incredible event that mimicked the formation of hydrogen atoms, when the space-time continuum commenced and the Great Light shone. A genius biologist recently figured out that life began as a family of eukaryotic life forms that has largely died out. But one member of this large family gave rise to the entire group of multicellular creatures which lived on. Much alike the way matter was established.
Most, if not all, single cellular organisms are part of some ecosystem or another; the "molecules" of the bio-sphere; colonies and symbiotic partnerships. Some of these bio-molecules are small while others are huge and intensely complex. So complex even that the identity of the individual seems to vanish against the "identity" of the colony.
And all the way up against the ceiling of the first floor are "colonies" that are comprised of cells which all contain the same DNA. These colonies are more than tight partnerships; they are multi-cellular organisms, the Household Image, Third Floor.