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Schrodinger, Erwin - What is Life - Atoms



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

Erwin Schrodinger – What is Life?

 A single group of atoms existing only in one copy produces orderly events, marvellously tuned in with each other and with the environment according to most subtle laws.  I said, existing only in one copy, for after all we have the example of the egg and of the unicellular organism.  In the following stages of a higher organism the copies are multiplied that is true.  But to what extent?  Something like 10 to the 14 in a grown mammal I understand.  It needs no poetical  imagination but only clear and sober scientific reflection to recognise that we are here obviously faced with events whose regular and lawful unfolding is guided by a mechanism entirely different from the ‘probability  mechanism’ of physics.  For it is simply a fact of observation that the guiding principle in every cell is embodied in  a single atomic association existing only in one copy [or sometimes two] and a fact of observation that it results in producing events which are a paragon of orderliness.………………. We must be prepared to find a new type of physical law prevailing … or are we to term it a non physical, not to say super physical law?

To the unprejudiced mind, the principle producing ‘order from order’ appears to be much simpler, much more plausible [than order from disorder in creating life]

The source of the experience

Schrodinger, Erwin

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