I have uploaded my annual update to the Optihumanist Principles. I have inserted one sentence:
Progress promotes pattern perpetuation.
With this statement, I am attempting to summarize a couple of ideas:
- Living things are a type of self-sustaining pattern.
- Living things adapt over time to prevent extinction.
To stretch this, any self-sustaining pattern that does not evolve might not be considered alive. The self-sustaining fusion of the Sun is not alive. Similarly, a personality recorded in great detail within a computer simulation would be lacking if it could not learn and change; it would simply be a high fidelity ghost.
Any self-sustaining pattern that does evolve might be considered alive. Viruses mutate from one flu season to the next. Corporations adapt to changing market conditions. Laws are amended. Religions revise interpretations of holy texts.
Self-sustaining patterns comprise more complex self-sustaining patterns. Wedding ceremonies are perpetuated by humans which are perpetuated by genes. Animals breathe in what plants breathe out and vice versa. The Sun shines upon the Earth, birthplace of an intelligent species which might someday learn how to extend the life of a dying star.