I first became interested in biomimicry when it pointed out the many natural forms that follow the Fibonacci sequence, suggesting a mathematical perfection at the heart of nature that organic life emulates as it evolves.
The Biomimicry Institute has this definition:
“Biomimicry is an approach to innovation that seeks sustainable solutions to human challenges by emulating nature’s time-tested patterns and strategies.”
Examples from the website:
- Learning from humpback whales how to create efficient wind power
- Learning from termites how to create sustainable buildings
- Learning from kingfishers how to break through boundaries
- Learning from mosquitos to create “a nicer needle”
Other examples would include Velcro and aerodynamic designs based on other birds and insects.
To the extent that nature “mimics” mathematics and geometry it already begins to suggest the primacy of consciousness or an intelligence at the heart of Being.
Eckhart Tolle says that, for example, an immense intelligence regulates your breath, circulation, elimination, sexuality, and all of your bodily functions without the intervention of your “conscious” self.
Scientists like Robert Lanza who coined the term Biocentrism suggest that a more viable scientific approach is to take nature as primary, and our thoughts (discoveries, measurements, etc.) about nature as a byproduct of organic processes.
But isn’t it possible to look at the phenomenon of software from this same perspective?
I have asked the question — “If DNA is software, who wrote the code?” because with the sequencing of DNA the discovery has been made that it operates as computer software.
And as a relatively new phenomenon in human history, from our current perspective, we can see that DNA is the only software or “active” encoded intelligence that was not “written” by a team of programmers.
When I asked about this to skeptics like Michael Shermer or other conventional scientists, the answer to how code could arise organically from inanimate matter — when it clearly conveys a “meaning” that is intentional” — is always “evolution” or “natural selection.”
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But if we instead consider the possibility of consciousness being primary, then the invention of software makes perfect sense as a wonderful example of biomimicry (through evolution); it is the unconscious recreation of the natural evolution to order from chaos (mathematics) through the intervention of Mind.
Even in scripture this is metaphorically suggested — we were created in the “image” of God – perhaps not in a “personal” sense but in the realm of forms or ideas — as Plato suggested — in fact mimicking the geometric and mathematical perfection of an absolute intelligence.
When considering DNA the concept, “in the beginning was the Word” makes an entirely different impression when one views code. Code as symbolic mimicry of nature is in fact sequenced in the letters A, C, T and G, whose “meaning” simply represents the activity and combination of chemical agents that do the “work” — of regulating biology.
In our software the meaning of the code is conveyed in actual English words. If you look at the source code of any webpage you will see the expression of a page in a web browser represented in English, cryptic to the nonprogrammer but perfectly logical (or it won’t work).
She extrapolated the possibilities to suggest that future iterations (with more powerful calculating abilities) could begin to simulate human mental activity to perform various intellectual tasks.
She was the first computer scientist to imagine a programming language.
From a New Yorker piece about Ms. Lovelace:
This science constitutes the language through which alone we can adequately express the great facts of the natural world, and those unceasing changes of mutual relationship which, visibly or invisibly, consciously or unconsciously to our immediate physical perceptions, are interminably going on in the agencies of the creation we live amidst. . . .
A new, a vast, and a powerful language is developed for the future use of analysis, in which to wield its truths so that these may become of more speedy and accurate practical application for the purposes of mankind than the means hitherto in our possession have rendered possible. Thus not only the mental and the material, but the theoretical and the practical in the mathematical world, are brought into more intimate and effective connection with each other.
— Ada Lovelace (Betsy Moray, New Yorker, 10/15/2013)
Of course we now recognize DNA as an organic programming language — sort of a sub-language (in the mode of Visual Basic for Applications as a sub-language to Microsoft Office) — in that we can re-program and even synthesize DNA itself, but not the energetic field within which it functions — Life itself.
In the quote above it is interesting to note that even Ms. Lovelace refers to an “expression of the great facts of the natural world,” revealing the attitude of a time when science did not yet anoint itself as an objective perspective with respect to nature.
Now, contemplated from the perspective of Biocentrism and biomimicry, I wonder if we can begin to reframe the reality of computer “science” as indeed the as yet unconscious expression of that immense intelligence at the heart of nature and begin to see our proper relationship to it as one of reverence and awe; our own intelligence is a pale shadow (from Plato’s cave) of what we are in fact mimicking with our software of Google, Apple, and Microsoft…
From this perspective our science would become a sacred enterprise in its awareness that we are in fact mimicking or simply reinterpreting and reintegrating the secrets of nature itself.
Instead of just mimicking the forms of nature, with software we are mimicking its conscious intelligence.
From this same viewpoint it makes infinite sense that in the ancient world the constant mathematical absolutes of Pi and Phi (the Fibonacci sequence) were regarded as in fact sacred, and the expression of a deity that was not personal, but rather perfect at a level unattainable through purely human reason.
Rather than seeing DNA as an anomaly somehow coincidentally mimicking our own creation of encoded intelligence — “software” — rather we might now reverse the inference and see software, rather, as a higher expression of our own natural functions, which operate on a level of intelligence the programmers of Google, Apple, and Microsoft can barely approach.
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