The meaning of life
February 17, 2015 10:56 AM   Subscribe

I saw a quote recently, possibly here. It was something like, "the point of being alive is to produce energy to support the creation of more life." It wasn't about procreation but more about how our biological processes exist to create energy for other living things, as part of the ecosystem. Can't remember more of the phrase but I really liked the concept and would love to know more about the quote.
posted by zutalors! to Grab Bag (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
"the point of being alive is to produce energy to support the creation of more life."


You cannot create or destroy energy. Only transfer it.

So, wherever you heard it from, it was either misquoted, or just not science.
posted by hal_c_on at 11:07 AM on February 17, 2015

Ok, it might have been "transfer energy" then. I'd still like to find the quote.
posted by zutalors! at 11:10 AM on February 17, 2015

"transfer" was a good clue, I found this:

From direct and indirect observations of the thermal state of the living structures, we can say that:

Life is a delay of the spontaneous diffusion or dispersion of the internal energy of the biomolecules toward more potential microstates.

Life is the transfer of energy by the Proton Motive Force carried out by some specialized molecules called ATP synthases bonded to a biomembrane. Then, life is a state of the energy experienced by a specific array of organic matter. The most important thing to keep in mind is that, thanks to those oscillations in the electrochemical field of a biomembrane, some thermodynamic systems are able to delay the dispersion of their energy toward more potential microstates.

This is along the lines of the thing I was reading but not the exact thing.
posted by zutalors! at 11:50 AM on February 17, 2015

This really reminded me of the latest VSauce, where he talks about energy transference, entropy and the law of thermodynamics. This starts at around 6:30.

Towards the end of the video (around 9:15) he talks about contribution to entropy (by humans), its ties to the 'heat death' of the universe, and how we do or don't slow/hasten it through our action or inaction (of energy transference).
posted by stubbehtail at 12:13 PM on February 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

I could have sworn this showed up on Metafilter at some point, but searching for keywords and the scientist's name turns up nothing. There's a biophysicist who is positing that life, while temporarily negentropic (i.e. creating order where there was once disorder), is actually a way for the universe to accelerate the entropic process.
posted by one_bean at 1:25 PM on February 17, 2015

Albert Szent-Györgyi said something related - "Life is nothing but an electron looking for a place to rest" (referring to metabolism and the electron transport chain).
posted by James Scott-Brown at 6:45 AM on February 18, 2015 [1 favorite]

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