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As I recently prepared for my poster presentation for the upcoming Science and Nonduality (SAND) Conference in San Jose, it occurred to me that my ideas can best be understood from the perspective of the space program.

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With the $2.5 million annually in funding for SETI -NASA’s Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence- drying up perhaps we need to rethink a few things. SETI had their huge radio telescopes trying to pick up patterns of intelligent communication from the stars, under the assumption that only an intelligent extraterrestrial civilization could broadcast such an encoded signal.

The SETI concept of intelligence is a series of sounds or symbols in a discernible, repetitive pattern that implies order and meaning. But in a TED talk in 2003, geneticist Juan Enriquez, compared sequenced DNA code to software in the following description –he was talking about an apple:

“Because this thing codes ones and zeros (software), and this thing (an apple) codes A T, C, Gs, and it sits up there, absorbing energy on a tree, and one fine day it has enough energy to say, execute, and it goes thump. Right?

And when it does that, pushes a .EXE, what it does is, it executes the first line of code, which reads just like that, AATCAGGGACCC, and that means: make a root Next line of code: make a stem. Next line of code, TACGGGG: make a flower that’s white, that blooms in the spring, that smells like this.”


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vertical blueEnriquez was describing the sequenced DNA in the nuclei of our cells.

If SETI had discovered a series of symbols that had a similar meaning and worked according to a precise syntax, they would have exclaimed, Eureka!  Someone else is out there.

So why aren’t we saying the same thing with respect to the code that we now use to cure certain diseases?

The most obvious reason is that science cannot supply an adequate explanation, and that if we considered it deeply it would upset many of our most basic assumptions. If we dig a bit deeper we can admit we now know quite a bit about software. Some of us have written code that makes a picture appear in a web browser and we know that without the proper syntax of HTML, the page will not “express properly.”

We also know that the code and the web browser were designed intentionally by teams of programmers.

Best selling author Eckhart Tolle (author of “A New Earth” and the “Power of Now” has written eloquently how “the intelligence” that runs our circulation, breath and reproduction—our entire body—is much greater than that with which we think or speak.

This intelligence apparently runs (as DNA) and according to geneticists like Enriquez, in the same way as Photoshop and Microsoft Word – on coded instructions. The problem is that our anthropomorphic projections, which make us view everything from a “human” perspective, would then make the leap that some “one” or some “thing” must be a programmer of DNA.

This is one explanation; the Ancient Aliens series on the History Channel has a theory that would also address this issue –but it begs the question –who “designed” the DNA of the aliens? Then of course our own fundamentalist religions have a simple explanation –the word “God.” We have a similar explanation in science for the fact that the Universe is endless – the word “infinity.” Neither of these, of course, is truly an explanation – both are metaphors.

As an outgrowth of quantum physics, Menas Kafatos, Professor of Computational Physics and Director of Excellence at Chapman University has proposed that more accurate “explanations” can only come from a new, observer-based science. Such a science might ultimately be able to account for the undeniable fact that there is computer software “operating” in the nuclei of our cells. It would mean that somehow, some way, nature expresses itself intelligently and not randomly.

Of course ancient civilizations knew this –the Egyptians encoded the mathematical constants Pi and Phi (the Fibonacci sequence or Golden Mean) in their sacred structures. We blindly remain intoxicated with our own “superior” knowledge and are unable to confront the obvious…

What if nature itself is intelligent?  Not metaphorically but actually – in reality?  Wouldn’t that be a shift in our perspective?

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