The Lens

It has been a long time since I wrote journals or posts online. While I have been in the technology domain for over 2 decades now, especially focusing on education technologies and game technologies, I chose to stay away from social media, keeping to my own cave for my own reasons.

When I had started blogging many years ago, very soon I realised that I do not want to follow the academic and the corporate herd; and developed an understanding that I need to stay away from beating my own drum, till I develop an understanding of my own style of music; why do we see the world the way see it; does the world really exist like it does in our understanding or are there several layers of perspectives intertwined in a unique inseparable way that we cannot completely comprehend for a variety of reasons, limited by the bounds our cognitive faculties, coloured by the opinions of echoes around us, and driven by our needs and desires of survival and social recognition.

The quest of intelligence

The first few years of my curious inquiries took me to the non-fiction books; and I started with very basic questions like – how big is the gap in my understanding as compared to the most intelligent people out there; who are these intelligent people; what drove them to do what they did; what did they really do; what kinds of issues did they face in their lifetimes; how was their work recognised. How big or small a role; does language, upbringing, and curiosity play in dissecting, defining, refining and mutating the capabilities and stigmas of our very own being. I wanted to reach as deep as I could; as far as my cognition could absorb and spread.

The quest for the source and the beginning

I have been born into a family of story tellers and seekers; so I tend to like to understand things from the source, no matter how complicated it may sound; and then build my own metaphors of understanding. I am fascinated by the story of Kalidas, and how he learnt about the universe; it had a hidden message in the story. He learnt things by looking at all the available pieces of knowledge; it gave him a compendium of understanding; it gave him a lens to see and know things, as they are, in the crudest of forms as well as most specific. So I wanted to spend a few years to glance over everything that I can; and was humanly possible.

The quest of the living

I also started with some existential questions like – How did the universe come into existence? What has led to where we are? Why do humans seem to think they have a dominion over other countless lifeforms, many of which we do not even know about. What is the primal pursuit of all life forms? What is life, how is it understood today? And, the biggest mystery of all – what is death?

The Primal Pursuit

The concept of “primal pursuit” can have different meanings depending on the context in which it is used. In general, it refers to something that is fundamental or basic, something that is deeply ingrained in human nature and that drives human behaviour.

The concept of “primal pursuit” can have different meanings depending on the context in which it is used; it can be innate drive for survival or reproduction, it can be existential search for meaning and purpose; it can be a quest to thrive and dominate. It can be fundamental or basic, but something that is deeply ingrained in human nature and that drives human behaviour at large.

In evolutionary biology, the primal pursuit could be considered as the innate drive for survival and reproduction. This drive is thought to be present in all living organisms, and it is thought to be the foundation of all behaviour.

In philosophy, primal pursuit could be considered as the search for meaning and purpose in life. The human quest for understanding the nature of existence and the purpose of life is considered as the primal pursuit.

In psychology, primal pursuit could be the fulfillment of basic needs such as food, shelter, and safety. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs theory proposes that these basic needs must be met before people can focus on higher-order needs such as self-actualisation.

In spiritual or religious context, it could be the seeking of ultimate reality or the attainment of spiritual enlightenment.

The concept of “primal pursuit” can have different meanings depending on the context in which it is used; it can be innate drive for survival or reproduction, it can be existential search for meaning and purpose; it can be a quest to thrive and dominate. It can be fundamental or basic, but something that is deeply ingrained in human nature and that drives human behaviour at large. The pursuit of life can be defined differently for different organisms, let us for a moment examine this further as plants, animals, viruses and bacteria.

For plants, the pursuit of life is primarily centered on survival and reproduction. They photosynthesize to create energy, absorb nutrients from the soil, and use hormones to adapt and grow towards the light, water and other necessary resources. They also reproduce by producing seeds or spores in order to ensure the continuation of their species.

For animals, the pursuit of life includes not only survival and reproduction, but also the ability to move and the possession of a nervous system. Animals are able to move to find food, water, and mates, and they have nervous systems that allow them to perceive and respond to their environment. They also possess complex behaviors, emotions and consciousness.

For viruses and bacteria, the pursuit of life is centered on replication. Viruses and bacteria reproduce rapidly by making copies of themselves, they can do this by infecting host cells, or by using resources from the environment. They can also evolve rapidly to adapt to changing conditions, this is seen especially in viruses.

Overall, the pursuit of life for all organisms is centered on survival and reproduction, but the means and complexity of achieving these goals can vary widely among different species. While plants and bacteria focus on survival and reproduction through chemical and biological means, animals and viruses focus on mobility and genetic transmission. Additionally, higher organisms such as animals, possess consciousness and complex behaviours that allow them to navigate the environment and make decisions that support survival and reproduction.

The evolution of man

The evolution of life forms into the modern human of today is a complex process that has taken place over millions of years. Here is a brief overview of some of the key stages in the evolution of human beings:

The first living organisms on Earth are thought to have appeared around 3.5 billion years ago. These were simple, single-celled organisms that evolved into more complex forms over time.

About 600 million years ago, multicellular organisms began to appear. These organisms were made up of multiple cells that worked together to perform specific functions.

Around 540 million years ago, the first animals appeared. These animals were the first organisms to have specialized cells and tissues, which allowed them to move and respond to their environment.

The first fish appeared around 500 million years ago, and these were the first animals to have a backbone. This allowed for greater mobility and more complex body structures.

Around 365 million years ago, the first land animals appeared. These animals were the first to be able to move and live on land, and they were the ancestors of all modern land animals, including mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians.

Around 200 million years ago, the first mammals appeared. These animals were characterized by their warm blood, hair, and mammary glands. They were also the first animals to have a specialized brain that allowed for greater intelligence and adaptability.

Around 25 million years ago, the first primates appeared. These animals were characterized by their grasping hands and feet, and they were the ancestors of all modern primates, including apes and humans.

Around 6 million years ago, the first human-like primates appeared. These animals were the first to have a large brain, a bipedal posture, and a large thumb, which allowed for greater dexterity and tool use.

Around 2 million years ago, the first true humans appeared. These were the first animals to have a brain that was similar in size and complexity to that of modern humans. They were also the first animals to make and use complex tools, and they were the ancestors of all modern humans.

For centuries, men have debated the process of evolution, the history of the human kind, the primal pursuits, the purpose of life, the meaning of death; and so on. The human mind is a rather complex sieve, carrying and processing information into abstracted understanding of what matters and why.

The journey of inquiry took me into different realms, different minds, different cultures, different ways of thinking; and yet all of it seemed to be one universal whole, inseparable, indivisible yet segregated into different forms of understanding, lifestyle and living. Such is the nature of man and its pursuit; it is clever, sophisticated and sometimes also foolish and limited.

The quest of the right metaphors of understanding

Philosophy had fascinated me for long. Perhaps for the very simple reason that inquiry helps us abstract the lenses of our layered understanding, sewing the context of boundaries to give it a shape of a plot, we truly and yet inaccurately call our thought process, our mindset, our key to unlocking the secrets of our comprehensible universe of thoughts and things.

What is life?

According to Wikipedia –

Life is a quality that distinguishes matter that has biological processes, such as signaling and self-sustaining processes, from matter that does not. It is defined descriptively by the capacity for homeostasisorganisationmetabolismgrowthadaptation, response to stimuli, and reproduction. All life over time eventually reaches a state of death and none is immortal. Many philosophical definitions of living systems have been proposed, such as self-organizing systems. Viruses in particular make definition difficult as they replicate only in host cells. Life exists all over the Earth in air, water, and soil, with many ecosystems forming the biosphere.


The definition of life has long been a challenge for scientists and philosophers.[2][3][4] This is partially because life is a process, not a substance.[5][6][7] This is complicated by a lack of knowledge of the characteristics of living entities, if any, that may have developed outside Earth.[8][9] Philosophical definitions of life have also been put forward, with similar difficulties on how to distinguish living things from the non-living.[10] Legal definitions of life have been debated, though these generally focus on the decision to declare a human dead, and the legal ramifications of this decision.[11] At least 123 definitions of life have been compiled.[12]


Further information: Organism

Since there is no consensus for a definition of life, most current definitions in biology are descriptive. Life is considered a characteristic of something that preserves, furthers or reinforces its existence in the given environment. This implies all or most of the following traits:[4][13][14][15][16][17]

  1. Homeostasis: regulation of the internal environment to maintain a constant state; for example, sweating to reduce temperature.
  2. Organisation: being structurally composed of one or more cells – the basic units of life.
  3. Metabolism: transformation of energy, used to convert chemicals into cellular components (anabolism) and to decompose organic matter (catabolism). Living things require energy for homeostasis and other activities.
  4. Growth: maintenance of a higher rate of anabolism than catabolism. A growing organism increases in size and structure.
  5. Adaptation: the evolutionary process whereby an organism becomes better able to live in its habitat.[18][19][20]
  6. Response to stimuli: such as the contraction of a unicellular organism away from external chemicals, the complex reactions involving all the senses of multicellular organisms, or the motion of the leaves of a plant turning toward the sun (phototropism), and chemotaxis.
  7. Reproduction: the ability to produce new individual organisms, either asexually from a single parent organism or sexually from two parent organisms.


Further information: Entropy and life

From a physics perspective, an organism is a thermodynamic system with an organised molecular structure that can reproduce itself and evolve as survival dictates.[21][22] Thermodynamically, life has been described as an open system which makes use of gradients in its surroundings to create imperfect copies of itself.[23] Another way of putting this is to define life as “a self-sustained chemical system capable of undergoing Darwinian evolution“, a definition adopted by a NASA committee attempting to define life for the purposes of exobiology, based on a suggestion by Carl Sagan.[24][25] This definition, however, has been widely criticized because according to it, a single sexually reproducing individual is not alive as it is incapable of evolving on its own.[26] The reason for this potential flaw is that “NASA’s definition” refers to life as a phenomenon, not a living individual, which makes it incomplete.[27] Alternative definitions based on the notion of life as a phenomenon and a living individual have been proposed as continuum of a self-maintainable information, and a distinct element of this continuum, respectively. A major strength of this approach is that it defines life in terms of mathematics and physics, avoiding biological vocabulary.[27]

Living systems

Main article: Living systems

Others take a living systems theory viewpoint that does not necessarily depend on molecular chemistry. One systemic definition of life is that living things are self-organizing and autopoietic (self-producing). Variations of this include Stuart Kauffman‘s definition as an autonomous agent or a multi-agent system capable of reproducing itself, and of completing at least one thermodynamic work cycle.[28] This definition is extended by the evolution of novel functions over time.[29]


Main article: Death

Animal corpses, like this African buffalo, are recycled by the ecosystem, providing energy and nutrients for living organisms.

Death is the termination of all vital functions or life processes in an organism or cell.[30][31] One of the challenges in defining death is in distinguishing it from life. Death would seem to refer to either the moment life ends, or when the state that follows life begins.[31] However, determining when death has occurred is difficult, as cessation of life functions is often not simultaneous across organ systems.[32] Such determination, therefore, requires drawing conceptual lines between life and death. This is problematic because there is little consensus over how to define life. The nature of death has for millennia been a central concern of the world’s religious traditions and of philosophical inquiry. Many religions maintain faith in either a kind of afterlife or reincarnation for the soul, or resurrection of the body at a later date.[33]


Main article: Virus

Adenoviruses as seen under an electron microscope

Whether or not viruses should be considered as alive is controversial.[34][35] They are most often considered as just gene coding replicators rather than forms of life.[36] They have been described as “organisms at the edge of life”[37] because they possess genes, evolve by natural selection,[38][39] and replicate by making multiple copies of themselves through self-assembly. However, viruses do not metabolise and they require a host cell to make new products. Virus self-assembly within host cells has implications for the study of the origin of life, as it may support the hypothesis that life could have started as self-assembling organic molecules.[40][41]

Living systems

Living systems are life forms (or, more colloquially known as living things) treated as a system. They are said to be open self-organizing and said to interact with their environment. These systems are maintained by flows of informationenergy and matter. Multiple theories of living systems have been proposed. Such theories attempt to map general principles for how all living systems work.

According to James Grier Miller‘s living systems theory is a general theory about the existence of all living systems, their structureinteractionbehavior and development, intended to formalize the concept of life.