The Theory of Life
Robert Howard Kroepel
Copyright © 2003
New Durham, New Hampshire USA
What is life?
From what we know, can we create a theory of life?
For any theory, we must provide operational definitions of terms
and phrases used for concepts, principles and techniques.
Basic Philosophy (Operational Philosophy)
Concepts, Principles and Techniques
A concept is a mental representation, idea, of an object, a
unity which retains its identity for a longer period of time than a related
Examples of objects: Jane, a ball, Dick.
People do not care to be considered objects, despite the fact that they
fit the definition of objects as having longer duration in time than related
events, therefore when objects are described/discussed people and objects
are lumped together as people/objects.
A principle is a relationship between or among objects; relationships
between/among objects occur for a much shorter duration of time than related
Relationships between/among people/objects most often are causal relationships.
Example of a principle: Jane throws the ball to Dick.
Causal relationships occur when people/objects/events who/which are causes
cause/create people/objects/events who/which are effects.
Causality is the cause-and-effect relationship between people/objects/events
who/which are causes and people/objects/events who/which are events.
Causes precede effects in the sequence: 1. Causes -> 2. Effects
Causality never reverses; the sequence of 1. Causes -> 2. Effects occurs
only in one direction and in a limited period of time. We see eggs progressing
into chickens but we never see chickens regressing back into eggs.
Example of a causal relationship: Jane is the cause of the ball traveling
A technique is an application of a concept/principle.
Example of a technique: Jane's throwing the ball to Dick is an application
of the technique of throwing that ball to Dick in contrast to the technique
which is Jane's handing the ball to her dog, Spot, and instructing him to
carry the ball to Dick.
True concepts accurately describe people/objects; false concepts
do not accurately describe people/objects.
True principles accurately describe events, particularly causal
relationships between/among people/objects, causality; false principles
do not accurately describe events/causal relationships/causality.
Practical techniques are effective applications of concepts/principles;
impractical techniques are ineffective applications of concepts/principles.
Facts are true concepts/principles/techniques; opinions/beliefs
are hypotheses concerning concepts/principles/techniques which are not conclusively
proven to be true but which are regarded as being true and used for decision-making
Knowledge consists of facts; belief consists of opinions.
Knowledge is not belief, and belief is not knowledge.
Operational definitions define terms/phrases by descriptions of
the observations and/or measurement of people/objects/events comprised of
matter/energy in contrast to being the content of ideas/imaginings/fantasies/etc.
The fundamental question operational definitions must ask and answer is
What does _______ [term/phrase being defined operationally] do [request
for descriptions of observations/measurements of people/thngs/events comprised
Another form of the fundamental operational definition question is this:
What do ____ [people/objects/events comprised of matter/energy] do when
_______ [term/phrase being defined], or when _____ [term/phrase being defined]
By descriptions of observations/measurements of people/objects/events comprised
of matter/energy operational definitions help make abstract concepts/principles/techniques
Example: What is love? What do people do when they love?
Observation: When people love, they say nice objects/statements about each
other, and they do nice objects/activities for and with each other.
Operational definition of love:
Love [term being defined operationally] is when someone
says they like you and they do nice activities for you and with you
[description of the people/objects/events related/relevant to the term being
A Theory of Life
For a theory of life, we will need an operational definition of life, therefore
we must make observations of life and ask and answer this question: What
do life forms do?/What do atoms/ and molecules do when they do life?
First of all, what is life?/What do life forms do?/What do atoms and molecules
do when they do life?
Atoms seek stability by sharing electrons by forming molecules which seek
stability by forming cells which consume energy, eliminate wastes, and reproduce
and which thereby seek stability by forming organs within organisms.
We see, therefore, a sequence in which 1. atoms share electrons, 2. atoms
form molecules, 3. molecules form cells, 4. cells form organs within organisms.
Obviously, as the atoms arrive at and pass through the stages of the life-forming
sequence a complex organization develops, but this organization is a pattern
of atomic activity, which, although complex, is, at its root, a pattern,
a relationship between and among atoms which cause atoms to form molecules/cells/organs/organisms--a
pattern/relationship between/among atoms which causes molecules/cells/organs/organisms
to form and maintain themselves.
Again, the driving force in atomic activity is the difference between stable
and unstable atoms/ions, and the motion caused by unstable atoms seeking
In physics, a change of motion is caused by a force.
Among atoms motion between/among atoms is caused by the force caused by
the instability which is either a deficiency or excess of electrons within
atoms/ions. Atoms will move to achieve stability, as if they seek stability,
to eliminate deficiencies or excesses of electrons.
I am familiar with physics down to the level of atoms and subatomic particles,
and and not familiar with elementary particles, so I limit my theoretical
thinking to the subatomic and atomic levels.
We know that atoms tends to have two configurations: (1) Stability,
when the number of electrons is the same as the number of protons, electrons
= protons; (2) Instability when the number of electrons is (A) less than
the number of protons or (B) more than the number of protons, when electrons
n= (is not equal to/does not equal) protons.
Thus atoms are either (1) stable or (2) unstable.
Unstable atoms of either Type A or Type B are called ions.
General Principle: Motion is caused by unstable atoms, by ions, by either
A or B ions.
Type A ions tend to act as if they 'desire' or 'intend' to gain missing
electrons. They 'move' to 'steal' electrons from other atoms, as if they are
atomic thieves. In some cases they 'share' electrons with atoms that act
as if they 'are not willing' to give up electrons, to let atomic thieves steal
Type B ions tend to act as if they 'desire' or 'intend' to get rid of excessive
electrons. They 'move' to force other atoms to 'accept' their excessive
electrons, as if they are atomic rapists. In some cases they 'share' electrons
with other atoms that act as if they 'are not willing' to allow other atoms
to rape them; in other cases, they share electrons with other atoms which
act as if they are willing to share electrons.
Thus, motion, change, is caused/created by the 'desires' or 'intentions'
of ions, atoms with too few or too many electrons.
The 'desires' or 'intentions' of atoms are assumed to be nonconscious because
of the assumption that consciousness requires a nervous system, which is
a higher order of organization than found in basic atoms, in ions.
Thus, motion is caused by unstable atoms seeking stability, to become stable
If atoms can share electrons then molecules can be formed. Atoms do in
fact share electrons and molecules do in fact form.
When atoms share electrons there is an assumption that the resulting molecules
are more stable than the naked ions prior to the sharing of electrons in
the formation of the molecules.
We thus observe a general tendency of unstable atoms, ions, to move as
if they seek stability, and in the process create larger structures, molecules,
which tend to be more stable than the basic unstable atoms/ions.
If the process of forming molecules for the purpose of achieving stability
continues, there is a possibility that larger structures, larger molecules
We do in fact observe larger structures forming larger molecules.
When molecules reach a certain size, they can develop within themselves
atomic configurations that have specialized functions within the overall organization,
and the confederation of atomic configurations may require and therefore
seek energy in the form of food, food being other molecular structures which
can be absorbed and converted into usable energy, at which point these molecular
structures can be called cells.
Life certainly exists at the level of cells. Cells eat, eliminate wastes,
When we observe molecules as cells feeding upon other molecules then we
are observing life feeding upon nonlife.
As cells seek stability, they can form larger structures called organs,
and still larger structures called organisms.
We thus can observe a general trend of atoms seeking stability and forming
larger and larger molecules then cells then organs then organisms. This
is the general sequence of the development of life from non-life.
We note that from the simple arises the complex. And that the complex arises
from the simple because of the 'desire' or 'intent' of the simple to gain
We have noted that as complexity increases patterns of organization appear,
and that the patterns themselves seem to seek stability, which is the correct
interpretation because the patterns themselves at their roots are unstable
atoms/ions seeking stability.
We observe that life (A) uses and therefore seeks energy, as food, and thereby
processes food, and (B) eliminates wastes, and (C) reproduces, creates offspring.
Scientists have noted that single-cell life forms called amoebas can live
indefinitely if their surrounding fluids--the fluids in which they live--are
replenished/refreshed so the amoebas do not die from toxins/poisons in their
We note, then, that at least one life form has an indefinite duration,
and we can wonder if or not there is a possibility that more complex life
forms can ultimately have indefinite durations. Perhaps the effective elimination
of wastes is one factor in producing life forms of indefinite duration.
Summary: An Operational Definition of Life: Life
is comprised of unstable atoms and molecules which are organized into cells
and organs and organisms in which (A) energy is sought as food, food is absorbed
and transformed into usable energy, (B) wastes are eliminated, (C) the organisms
reproduce; the pattern of organization of unstable atoms/molecules/cells/organs/organisms
causes life forms to process energy, eliminate wastes, and reproduce, therefore
life itself is ultimately the pattern of organization which has the equivalent
of desires/intentions/purpose and causes the processing of food for energy,
the elimination of wastes, and reproduction.