- The more general use of this term could apply to any kind of life.
- This is a sophontigraphic term used in biology and other studies of galactic life.
Life is the tendency of matter to seek order and form self-reproducing complexity. A Lifeform is any type of Life, whether baryonic or otherwise. A Creature is a type of Lifeform considered to be comprehensibly graspable, usually of conventional "wet life" or unconventional "dry life" varieties. Exotic lifeforms tend to simply be called Lifeforms despite the fact that the term Creature might also apply.
- Exotic life can properly be called lifeforms, but are usually more exactingly known as something else. The terms A-life or pseudo life are often used for non-baryonic lifeforms.
Definition of Life
Almost all definitions of Life are based upon the five fundamental hallmarks of life: "Life is any lifeform or organism, which displays the following biological processes: organization, irritability, metabolism, reproduction, and adaptation." There is clearly some grey area within this definition. Lifeforms not displaying all of the processes are classified as Pseudo-life or A-life.
Hierarchy of Life
- Biosphere > Biome > Ecosystem > Biocenosis > Population > Organism > Organ system > Organ > Tissue > Cell > Organelle > Biomolecular complex > Macromolecule > Biomolecule
Hallmarks of Life
All life, according to conventional definition, holds five properties or fundamental hallmarks and their metasystemic associations:
- 1. Position (Motion)
- 2. Motion (Irritability)
- 3. Irritability (Reflex)
- 4. Reflex (Association)
- 5. Association (Thought)
- 6. Thought (Culture)
One additional hallmark is held by the advanced life known as sophonts:
- 7. Culture (Technology)
- Biochemistry (A-life) → Biology (Creature) → Culture (Proto-sophonce) → Technology (Sophonce) → Singularity (Post-Technological Period)
Creatures, Intelligence & Technology
And, by non-intelligent, what is really meant is a non-user of advanced technology. Some creatures are certainly intelligent on the level of animal (creature) cognizance (...or ethology), but not on the level of advanced technology-using sophonts. This is all a matter of subjective dispute though.
Creatures differ from the minor and major races (...of sophonts) in that they are not fully sentient or sapient (i.e. creatures are not sophonts). Some creatures may display some attributes of sentience or sapience, but lack enough of these attributes to be fully qualified as sophonts. This is also a highly subjective matter, much like the highly disputed definitions of the sophontic Minor and Major Races.
There are three basic theories for the origin of life.
Within the Imperium the ability to discern which of these is true is muddied considerably by the activities of the Ancients about 300,000 years before the foundation of the First Imperium under the Vilani.
- Conventional Life AKA Wet Life (Organic)
- Unconventional Life AKA Dry Life (Inorganic)
- Exotic Life AKA Strange Life (Neither Organic nor Inorganic), i.e. outside the normally understood parameters
The presence of advanced lifeforms or sophonts is what most scientists believe distinguishes Charted Space from Uncharted Space or Wildspace. Simple life or creatures are rare enough, but still vastly more common than sophontic life. The rise and fall of creature and sophont species is of great interest to exobiologists and sophontologists throughout Charted Space.
Life is a focal point of sophont societies and civilizations. Despite this importance, very little is really known about it: from whence it first arose, the breadth of lifeform types, the full cycle of civilization arcs & cycles, what the Singularity is... And so much more is so poorly understood.
The universe as a whole is governed by two major forces: Entropy and Extropy.
|Entropy||In the most simplistic terms, entropy is the force of decay and disorganization. As things break down, wear out, and become used up, that's entropy in action. Entropy tends to reduce matter to its most simple and basic forms.|
|Extropy||Extropy is the countervailing force of increasing complexity, growth, development, and life. Somehow despite what seems like overwhelming predominance of decay, "life finds a way." And also despite what might also seem like colossal odds, sophontic life repeatedly develops.|
While no one knows exactly why these two forces are so prevalent, a number of theories have arisen about how life has originated, how civilizations develop, the very nature of life itself, and the endgame of the universe, widely considered to be the eventual heat death of the universe or the eventuality of the Singularity.
Theories of the Rise of Life
No known sophont species yet seems to possess definitive knowledge of how life first arose within Charted Space. And that idea is based upon the supposition that life did not exist when the universe came about. It's probably just as possible that life arose with the universe itself.
Life Origin Types
There are two primary types of life origin theories:
|Abiogenesis||"Not-live matter begetting life"|
|Biogenesis||"Life begetting life"|
Lifeform Origin Theories
Many persuasive theories exist, some more and some less, as to how and where life came from:
|Chronotaxistic Creators||Biogenesis||Chronotaxistic Traveller/s||A theory that time travelers may have seeded life in the galaxy.|
|Galactic Gardeners||Biogenesis||Transgalactic Ascendant/s||A theory that more advanced species may have seeded life throughout the galaxy.|
|Godly Genesis||Abiogenesis & Biogenesis||Singularity||A theory that an unknowable deity created everything including life throughout the galaxy.|
|Panspermia||Biogenesis||Random Chance||An idea that organic, biological matter gets implanted within meteorites that then by chance travel the interstellar voids entering hospitable environments, where they may grow.|
|Precursor Programming||Biogenesis||Transgalactic Ascendant/s||Uplift, geneering, etc. This is the idea that advanced species intentionally create new life and is already occurring with TL-15 science although nowhere near the level that the Ancients are conjectured to have achieved.|
|Pure Happenstance||Abiogenesis||Random Chance||This is the theory that life simply arose by chance. A random mixing of chemicals, electromagnetic energy, and other factors that created life as we know it.|
|Simple Evolution||Abiogenesis||Random Chance||This is another theory of chance that random elements slowly developed and evolved into life.|
|Transdimensional Tourists||Biogenesis||Transdimensional Traveller/s||This is a theory that travelers from another dimension made their way to a different universe into a selected galaxy and seeded it with life.|
Cycle of Life & Civilization
- A-life → Proto-Life → Creatures → Proto-Sophonts → Sophonts → Ascendants → Transcendents → Singularity
- Proto-Life (transitory stage)
- Proto-Sophonts (transitory stage)
- Ascendants (transitory stage)
A-life, or pseudo life, is life "not as we know it." These kinds of beings, are mostly conjectured at and do not fit the definitions of conventional or unconventional life. They are exotic in nature. They are often believed to be non-baryonic in nature and some believe that they come from destinations other than the known universe such as jumpspace or alternate dimensions.
Proto-Sophonts are TL–0 lifeforms possessing advanced intelligence hallmarks and forming sophont cultures and civilizations. Their proto-technologies form a proto-civilization that will become the foundation of more mature societies and civilizations.
Sophonts are an intelligent lifeform and technology-using beings [Native Intelligent Life (NIL)] or Sapients, including humans as well as other "intelligent" lifeforms, that have a significant presence within Charted Space.
Ascendants live strange lives with even stranger motives. Their technology has advanced to a point at which their cultures and civilizations are barely comprehensible to conventional sophonts. Many ascendants no longer confine themselves to single bodies or minds. Most flaut the laws of physics as their technology permits. Their very existence defies conventional paradigm.
Life that approaches the singularity and a post-technological period of civilization are known as Transcendents. These beings are only conjectured at by modern sophontologists although the legends and folklore of many sophont species discuss them at great length.
The Singularity is a point in the future at which all science, philosophy, and all conventional knowledge has lost normative meaning. It is functionally a post-technological existence where anything is possible. Some races think of it as the afterlife, while other consider it something entirely different. Whatever it is, it exists outside of the comprehension of TL–15 science as a much-disputed theory.
|This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Life. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. The text of Wikipedia is available under the Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.|