The basis for my philosophy and model of the universe is quite simple. Everything existing is a string of non-existing pre-things in moments, so defined over states of the universe and thus being in zero time, over a suitable nonzero time interval I call existence interval. I was thinking about the relation between the existing universe we try to observe and the universe out of time, meaning the totally ordered string of states without time passing by, so seeing all changes as being simultaneously but still totally ordered (like a finished book with ordered pages but not reading it!). With a mild shock I realized that neither one contains the other, the exact relation is that of a potential.
Recall the notion “potential energy”, it is a form of energy abstractly defined, not an energy existing in reality but a potential in the sense it can become active in some (future) situation but is not active “now”, where now is a moment and thus nothing exists now. This is exactly how I defined pre-things, so a pre-interaction is a potential interaction to be realized in the future as an existing interaction in some time interval; a pre-object is a potential object in the same sense.
The difference between living organisms and dead matter is that living organisms create new potentials by their actions in reality, there is a decisive moment where some new interaction is started as a potential in the state of the universe at the decisive moment. This new potential is created not from the history of the potentials over the state at that moment (the history of some potential at moment t being all potentials at moments t’ before t which transit to the chosen potential at t under the transition correspondence F(t’t) between the state at t’ and the state at t), so not an image of a transition correspondence from an earlier state.That means that all living organisms have some “freedom” in participation in the creation because their creation of potentials does not follow from material “laws of nature”, these are only expressing consequences of the history of the potentials involved. Thus Life creates new potentials dead things result from potentials always having a history.
About the origin of viruses for example there are three theories,the progressive one,the regressive one and the virus first one.A virus is a self replicating RNA molecule with some enzymes ,in particular a transcriptase (allowing to transcribe RNA to DNA upon entering a cell) and an integrase (allowing the putting of viral DNA into the genome of the host). The progressive theory considers viruses as a result from genetic components moving freely within a cell obtaining the RNA property of self replication and starting to behave like a parasite learning eventually to break out of one cell and moving to another host. The regressive theory starts from the idea of symbiosis between cells,e.g. a bacteria having invaded a host cell and staying alive inside, then the guest transforms inside the host by dropping non-essential DNA and becoming a parasite not being able to replicate itself unless by invading the DNA of the host on which it becomes completely dependent ,finally it succeeds to break out and look for other hosts? The virus first theory is simple it just assumes there are pre-cell structures with RNA and some basic enzymes which evolved into “living” cells and later to eukaryotes.
The transcriptase looks like a pure biochemical actor one could view as following the laws of nature but the integrase seems to create a potential ,it enables the main function of the virus and at some decisive moment it enters the host genome which will eventually lead to its replication via the host genome. There are six stages in the virus replication cycle: attachment, penetration, uncoating, replication, assembly, and release.The selection of the host cells which allow (!) the entering is chemically determined via some structures on the host cell membrane. The “freedom” I look for seems to be in the “choice” of the moment of integrating i.e.replication and assembly,the moment of irreversible infection.When the system is ready to invade the host DNA I found no rule for doing the final attack immediately or at some specific moment,seems to me there is some choice there. There are many parameters dealing with the moment of infection ,there can be for example immunity of the host. Even if the host was selected by the virus via some chemical signaling we may see as transmitting the “allowance” to try to enter the cell, what happens afterwards is not completely determined by the “laws of nature”,perhaps there is another form of bio-chemical “agreement” to go on with the invasion?
That decisive moment is determined by both actors and thus it depends on both systems and it seems to me the immunity for example, cannot be predicted if the virus is new and thus not even known in any way to the attacked host.That means the “decision” on infection results from a new potential in the state of the universe at the moment it starts and that potential has no history. For that potential having a history it would be necessary there is some form of “contact” before the virus attacks the host but that would only move the origination of the potential to an earlier state and then the virus still would create a potential without history at that moment!
So in terms of potentials I guess viruses may be seen as being a living organism,that is if we define Life as organisms being able to create new potentials.
It must be said that science, for the moment, has no answer to the question where viruses come from,the virus-first theory is very attractive,but scientists state that the three existing theories could all be wrong! Can some primitive RNA structure as a non-living thing develop further by the “laws of nature”, steered by potentials of interactions, thus by the history of those potentials during the being ‘s evolving, create at some moment a new potential without history? Then this creation would prove the non-deterministic property of the evolving process which then would contradict the assumption that the process would be determined by the law of nature (if that exists)unless the laws of nature themselves are non-deterministic and do not allow predictions. Hence either the arrival of Life follows the principles of the organization of the material universe but then the principles are non-deterministic so not rules of everything,or else there is a moment of creation of new potentials outside the history at that moment…in other words then Life is created (by something). It seems to me that both possibilities sort of amount to the same thing ,namely: something wonderful can happen!