by Dr. Hans-Joachim Rudolph & Ac. Vimalananda Avadhuta
Microvita Research e.V.
Life arose on planet Earth through five hierarchical stages of increasing molecular complexity: cosmic, geologic, chemical, informational, and biological (1).
In the cosmic stage, the building blocks of life were formed as a byproduct of a nearby supernova explosion. The material was expelled across space to form interstellar clouds, which are factories of organic molecular synthesis. During the formation of the Solar System, this interstellar material was integrated into interstellar dusts, comets and carbonaceous asteroids, which heavily bombarded the newly formed crust of our planet.
In the geologic stage, nucleobases were polymerized into RNA in terrestrial environments such as warm little ponds or crater lakes. Also, fatty acids readily formed membranous vesicles when dispersed in terrestrial aqueous phases.
In the chemical stage, the mixing and recombination of organic molecules occurred within these primitive cell membranes. Empty lipid membranes began to encapsulate various monomers and polymers for molecular symbiosis.
In the informational stage, programmed protein synthesis became available in the prebiotic system and the peptide/RNA world gave rise to the protein/RNA world. A wide range of protein enzymes and structural proteins were synthesized at this stage by translating genetic codes. Some of these enzymes catalyzed more and more complex biochemical reactions (1).
Viruses can be defined as capsid-encoding organisms. In early stages, primordial viruses probably established a long-term association with protocells, in which the latter released a steady stream of viral particles over an extended period of time, benefiting both host and parasite in symbiosis. These ancient RNA viruses had a high mutation rate and underwent evolution and natural selection, just like in cellular life (1).
Traditionally we maintain the ‘cell-first’ hypothesis. In that case viruses are considered to be parasites, which have no life of their own. Rather they are practically as dead as crystalline chemicals.
The new line of thought is, however, that eukaryotic cells evolved from primordial viruses, where such viruses are not to be identified with the virions, but with protocells, endowed with a single-stranded RNA. In the most archaic case, they would also be devoid of ribosomes (2), having nothing but a lipid membrane, a cytosol enriched with various monomers and polymers, and a translation machine using the GNC code – which is enough to allow for a ‘virus first’ hypothesis.
Accordingly, Jean-Michel Claverie writes in ‘Viruses take center stage in cellular evolution’ (Genome Biology, Volume 7, Issue 6, 2006):
For a viral organism, the virus factory exhibits all the properties of the soma, in which genes are expressed, while the particle state corresponds to the germline, which remains unchanged. If we follow this line of thought, one might think of infection as being analogous to fertilization and the production of new virus particles as being akin to the formation of gametes (3).
In this concept, viruses are very much different from crystalline chemicals! They live and replicate, and there is sufficient scope for microvita to act upon the organic material: The formation of a lipid membrane as well as the folding of proteins and transfer-RNA might occur due to “self-assembly” in consequence of van der Waals forces. But the formation of virions requires more than that, and in my opinion it needs morphogenetic fields to produce such structures.
So, the question is, how could microvita provide morphogenetic fields? Here, the key words are ordered water, corticons, bosonic quasiparticles (4). The latter can be produced and annihilated by microvita (5).
Regarding their visibility, I expect that it should be possible to display patterns of ordered water and even single corticons by a sophisticated microscope of the future. To make it more practical, just have a look at these demonstrations:
Table 1: Analogies between Chladni Plates and virus infected protocells
Virus infected Protocells
The metal plates
Tiny spheres confined with a lipid membrane and filled with a gel-like substance
The patterns on the plates
The powder on the plates
Water dipoles, arranged as clusters of ordered water
The vibration of the metal plates
Collective excitations of the water rotational field
Release of corticons
The fiddler’s hand
Acting Principle in P.R. Sarkar’s “Four Chamber Model” = microvita
Microvita and Organic Macromolecules
In the previous part we dealt with the origin and function of morphogenetic fields. Now the question arises as to where these microvita actually reside?
The answer depends on the underlying philosophy: Those who adhere to idealism or dualism will reply that they reside in the realm of ideas and res cogitans respectively. And those who adhere to physicalism (material monism) will reply that they reside inside matter. To bridge these approaches, Gotthard Günther made some interesting remarks in his book ‘The Consciousness of Machines’ (6), where he writes:
“It is perfectly possible to translate idealistic terminology into that of intelligent dialectical materialism and vice versa. Unfortunately, our eastern colleagues have not yet understood this fact! However, no arrangement is possible between transcendental idealism and the “stupid” materialism, which has not yet realized that the “material” must have reflective properties as well.” And then:
“Even the deadest, most “mindless” stuff is endowed with reflexivity. It would be – remaining in the usual physical perspective – e.g. quite impossible that on planet Earth self-organizing living beings emerge, which call themselves in self-reflection “humans”, and claim to have a “mind”, if not all reflection components of what we call consciousness and mind are already in that hypothetical gas cloud and its surrounding space-time dimension, from which our solar system was supposed to have originated. Whether one calls that metaphysical X God, soul, spirit or self-reflective matter, is totally irrelevant. Only children are allowed to quarrel over words.”
Generally, this approach is called dual-aspect monism (7); in Indian philosophy it is also known as Advaetadvaeta’dvaetava’da, meaning non-dualistic dualistic non-dualism. It denotes a philosophy where myriads of entities evolve from an original oneness, but do have a potential to return to the oneness of the supreme conception. So, during their separateness, they are governed by dualism, but when returning to their original abode, they are again governed by monism. In Nama’mi Krs’n’a Sundaram (8), Shrii Shrii Anandamurti beautifully describes this as follows:
“… non-dualistic in the beginning, residing in the heart of Parama Purus’a. Parama Purus’a was One, but He desired to become many in a sportive mood. Eko’ham’ bahusya’m — ʻI was One but I became many.ʼ Later, after playing with all, He finally called them unto Him, saying, ʻMy children, return to Me. The day is over, it is evening. Return home.ʼ Not only is Vrajagopa’la the quintessence of all human sensibilities and the nucleus of the human mind, but His heart is the last and final shelter of all the jiivas of this universe.” (Discourse 22, Vrajagopa’la and Pariprashna).
In Microvitum in a Nutshell (9), He additionally says that atoms are made of billions of microvita. As soon as they combine to form molecules, some of these microvita get released from their tight atomic structures into the energy fields created by chemical valences, van der Waals bonds and the water rotational field of aqueous clusters.
Actually, all the five types of Tanmatras are media for microvita to travel and float around. In the microscale, we can assign the solid factor to the conditions in the atomic nuclei, the liquid factor to those in the electron shells, the luminous factor to those in the chemical valences, the aerial factor to those in the van der Waals bonds and the ethereal factor to those in the water rotational fields. In particular, the folding of macromolecules, i.e. their shape, is determined by van der Waals bonds; likewise, their receptivity is facilitated by the water rotational fields. (10) This is prominent in case of polymers of amino acids, nucleobases, and/or glycosides, where the weak energy fields are so numerous that groups of free floating microvita become prevalent – a process comparable to electrical conductors allowing the free flow of electrons. In contrast to electrons, however, they don’t reside in common space, rather an extension of 3D-space is required for their accommodation (5). And in this way we accomplish the demands of dual-aspect monism: Microvita as well as their related substrates occupy lateral space-times, but stay in the proximity of these macromolecules, enveloping their physical substratum.
Viruses May Very Well Be Conscious
After discussing the role of microvita in macromolecules, the next step is to consider consciousness, where I don’t mean any higher or even supreme consciousness, rather these macromolecules are to be related to a very rudimentary consciousness, similar to the one, Tam Hunt referred to in his article ‘Electrons May Very Well Be Conscious’ (11).
So, what is consciousness in its most fundamental sense, and how is it related to microvita? Actually, the word “consciousness” is an umbrella term that covers a wide variety of mental phenomena (12).
At its simplest it is, however, “awareness“ or “sentience“, which means that content is supposed to oscillate between or resonate with two levels of existence. This reflectivity was pointed out already in the previous chapter, where I referred to Gotthard Günther saying that “even the deadest, most ‘mindless’ stuff (must be) endowed with reflexivity” (6). So, we might agree that reflexivity is at the core of all consciousness. And in this context, Shrii P.R. Sarkar‘s ‘Four Chamber Model‘ provides a scheme (9), by which the contents of four planes (chambers) can be reflected onto each other, with microvita being the agents or mediators of these reciprocal oscillations.
Figure 2: Modified Four Chamber Model (5), derived from P.R. Sarkar’s Microvita Cosmology (8)
Regarding macromolecules with group C microvita in their chemical valences, group D microvita in their van der Waals and group E microvita in their water rotational fields, the released microvita are commissioned to reflect these energies on the para- (A objective) and metaphysical (A & B subjective) planes.
Now, if a number of macromolecules are combined as a virion, their force fields are lacking group E microvita, simply because there is no water rotational field. But if that virion enters a cell and transforms it into a virus, group E microvita are enabled. This is why the level of reflexivity is higher in viruses than in virions. On the same grounds we can say that a virus is alive, whereas a virion is only potentially alive.
Regarding Tam Hunt‘s electrons, it is concluded that calling them conscious is quite a stretch, as they are lacking group A, C, D and E microvita, which means that their energy fields are reflected onto the paraphysical plane (A objective) in an extremely reduced way.
Microvita and Consciousness
The idea that not only the cosmos as a whole, but each of its parts must be endowed with consciousness is not new. Rather, it gained remarkable prominence 350 to 500 years ago, particularly among Italian theologians and philosophers. Unluckily, they were neither supported by the Catholic Church, nor by the proponents of the upcoming natural sciences. Consequently, they were sandwiched between the advocates of Scholasticism and the torchbearers of the objectivist and mechanistic worldview that followed.
Their names are Giovanni Pico della Mirandola (1463-1494), Girolamo Cardano (1501-1576), Bernardino Telesio (1509-1588), Francesco Patrizi (1529-1597), Giordano Bruno (1548-1600), and Tommaso Campanella (1568-1639).
So, Pico writes in his Conclusiones: “Nothing in the world is devoid of life. … Wherever there is life, there is soul; wherever there is soul, there is mind.” Cardano, on the other hand, says: “All things have soul, but only the higher forms – such as humans – have minds.” Telesio, on the other hand, conveys that a primordial sense of “being affected” pervades the entire universe. This Sensus is necessarily self-awareness, “and accordingly nature is conscious nature.” Here, the question arises as to whether the individual objects of the world possess souls in themselves, or whether they are merely extensions or the one world-soul. In that respect, Patrizi opts for the pluralist view. He sees soul as a manifold entity, present both as distinct individuals and as united in the comprehended world-soul. Likewise Bruno: He takes the Aristotelian orthodoxy, according to which nature has two internal constituent principles – form and matter – but interprets them in a Platonic or Plotinian manner. In particular, he considers form as produced by soul. Bruno asserts that “… every form is produced by a soul. For all things are animated by the world-soul, and all matter is everywhere permeated by soul and spirit” (P. Kristeller, Eight Philosophers of the Italian Renaissance. Stanford University Press, 1964). Finally Campanella: He argues that, because all things sense, they can be said to know, and consequently to possess a kind of wisdom. First and foremost, things know themselves. Each thing knows of its own existence and its own persistence over time: “All things have the sensation of their own being and their own conservation” (13).
So, when we say that viruses may very well be conscious, we refer not only to the late Indian philosopher and social reformer Shrii P.R. Sarkar, but also to the great philosophers of Italian Renaissance. Admittedly, they didn’t become mainstream thinkers in their days; Bruno was burnt at the stake for his ideas and Campanella had to serve for his beliefs 27 years in prison. But they are cherished nowadays, and in case of Bruno, his death sentence was commuted with regret by the Catholic authorities (13).
After all, this line of thinking maintains the Non-Emergence Argument, which says that soul cannot arise from no-soul, and hence soul must have been present at the very origin of things. Campanella, for example, argues that “like comes from like,” that is, that emergence is impossible: “Now, if the animals are sentient…and sense does not come from nothing, the elements whereby they and everything else are brought into being must be said to be sentient, because what the result has the cause must have.”
As opposed to this, modern theories of consciousness are generally based on the Emergence Argument: Novel holistic properties arise in complex systems, created by interactions at smaller scales. Various levels of life emerge from multiple lower levels. At each level of complexity, entirely new properties appear. These emergent properties can then act down on the lower levels, which means that life depends critically on both top-down and bottom-up interactions across spatial scales (14).
Apart from such vertical (bottom-up/top-down) interactions, horizontal interconnectedness has been demonstrated among neuronal assemblies, creating networks that are believed to give rise to consciousness, as soon as a certain level of complexity is reached (15). This approach is applied in Integrated Information Theory (IIT), allowing models of interconnectedness that develop higher numbers of evolved concepts and “integrated conceptual information“ (“Big Phi”). An example can be seen at: http://integratedinformationtheory.org/animats.html.
In addition to that, we have discussed discrete oscillations between subjective and objective states *. As opposed to the aforesaid, these can be called “lateral” interactions, commemorating Carl Friedrich Gauß‘ suggestion, who wrote in 1831: “Had the units +1, –1, √-1 not been called positive, negative, imaginary (or even impossible), but rather direct, inverse, and lateral, it would have hardly been possible to speak about their obscurity” (16).
In summary, horizontal, vertical and lateral interconnectedness do not exclude each other, rather the Emergence and Non-Emergence Argument allows for a third one (tertium datur), which amounts, at higher levels of integrated information, to what we may call a complete aggregate of consciousness.
(1) Sankar Chatterjee: The Protein/RNA World and the Origin of Life, Preprints, 2019100167 (2019)
(2) Sankar Chatterjee, Surya Yadav: The Origin of Prebiotic Information System in the Peptide/RNA World: A Simulation Model of the Evolution of Translation and the Genetic Code. Life, Volume 9, Issue 25 (2019)
(3) Jean-Michel Claverie: Viruses take center stage in cellular evolution. Genome Biology, Volume 7, Issue 6 (2006)
(4) Mari Jibu, Kunio Yasue: Quantum Brain Dynamics and Consciousness: An Introduction. Advances in Consciousness Research, Volume 3 (1995)
(5) Hans-Joachim Rudolph: Microvita: Exploring a New Science of Reality. AuthorHouse, 2017
(6) Gotthard Günther: Das Bewußtsein der Maschinen: eine Metaphysik der Kybernetik. AGIS-Verlag, Krefeld und Baden-Baden, 1963
(7) Hedda Hassel Mørch: Is Matter Conscious? Why the central problem in neuroscience is mirrored in physics. Nautilus, April 2017
(8) Shrii Shrii Anandamurti: Nama’mi Krs’n’a Sundaram. Ananda Marga Publications, Kolkata, 1997
(9) Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar: Microvitum in a Nutshell. Ananda Marga Publications, Kolkata, 1991
(10) Mari Jibu, Kunio Yasue: Quantum Brain Dynamics and Consciousness, An introduction. John Benjamins Publishing Company, 1995
(11) Tam Hunt: Electrons May Very Well Be Conscious. Nautilus, May 14, 2020 (http://nautil.us/blog/electrons-may-very-well-be-conscious)
(12) Robert van Gulick: Consciousness, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philo-sophy (Spring 2018 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.)
(13) Skrbina, D.: Panpsychism in the West. MIT Press, Cambridge/Massachusetts (2017)
(14) Nunez, P.L.: Complexity, Physics, and the Emergence of Consciousness.
Psychology Today (2019)
(15) Albantakis, L., Hintze, A., Koch, C., Adami, C., Tononi, G.: Evolution of Integrated Causal Structures in Animats Exposed to Environments of Increasing Complexity. PLoS Comput Biol (2014)
(16) Finck, P.J.E.: System der niedern und höhern Algebra, zum Gebrauch für höhere polytechnische Lehranstalten. Leipzig (1841)