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26   Whitehead's world of organisms, but limited
       to what I consider to be living organisms,
       that is: everything possessing the genetic

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(website version 2.30 - august 2007)


Interference is not the only source of discontinuity.
A second factor which also interrupts continuity, is `displacement'.
Inorganic displacement leaving tracks will be first discussed. But, when life began to spread, displacement, particularly of animals, became a major factor of discontinuity.

things moving, leaving tracks
Let us first consider two inorganic examples:
• A mass of rock slides down the incline of the submarine sediment floor. As it slides down, it leaves a groove on the sediment surface. This groove reflects some of the shape of this rock, poorly to be sure, but it is nevertheless a print of one of its form elements.
This print is formed by the potential energy of the rock-mass having been changed into the kinetic energy of its down-sliding. It represents a single impression, left in passing by this kinetic energy. The rock with its substance and information, slid further down and is no longer there. But its impression is still there, still representing a small amount of that energy.
• Rocks enclosed in the ice at the bottom of a glacier sliding seaward over the surface of an older bedrock, will leave glacier-striae on this surface.
Such scratches have for instance been left by a Permian glacier in South Africa. They were made some 250 million years ago by the kinetic energy of the seaward gliding glacier. The Permian glaciers have gone long ago, but the striae are still there.

organic tracks
And then there was life:
life, inventing the software of the genetic alphabet
       which enables organisms to multiply manifold;
life, inventing entirely new processes, such as chemo- and photo-synthesis,
       processes that enable the intake of carbon in order to build
       all sorts of organic molecules;
life, introducing individualization, separation of an exterior from an interior; 26
life, exploiting all available energy, transforming it into negentropy;

organisms, moving around with the energy thus acquired, developing
       sensory organs on the skin, so that they can feel or see where they are going;
organisms, developing a neural system for the internal integration of their
       observations, enabling coordinated reaction;
       an entirely new system, that in evolution eventually led to the development
       of a brain.

animals, leaving tracks.


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