I have no idea where this idea will lead me, but I am thinking of exploring the philosophical implications of an interesting world-view statement.
- Life is anything that uses negentropy to continue its own existence, and replicates itself.
This is a very inclusive definition of life, as it allows us to consider viruses, prions, and computer viruses to be 'alive'. I do not find this inherently troubling (though some do). After all, to me, these are just very strange forms of life that do not function as we would expect.
For the first 'interesting fact' that results from this, I am going to argue today that languages are living things in symbiosis with humans. In order for my claim to be true, I have to show that language uses negentropy to continue it's existence and that it replicates itself. I will not offer rigorous proof, but I will argue for why I think that this rigorous proof would exist.
For the first part of the definition, the use of negentropy to continue it's own existence. Language must be represented by structures in the brain that are ordered in a definite way. A definite ordering must maintain itself with negentropy or it will eventually cease to exist. Therefore, language likely consumes negentropy. It's pulling it right out of our bodies and has our brain provide it.
For the second part of the definition, the self replication. Young children have no language, but almost as soon as their ears fully function, they begin to acquire and understand language. This appears to happen without a definite learning process. I suspect that this process is self-replication into our universal grammar.
Then, we can say that language is alive. Since we benefit language (by providing a universal grammar for it to exist in) and it benefits us (by allowing us to communicate ideas with great precision and power) we can see that it is symbiotic with us.
Thus, we all have a symbiote inside of us, a symbiote that appears to only exist in our species. It appears to set us apart from all other life (that we know of). Rather cool, yes?
When I next get around to making a post, I will discuss how we have more symbiotes inside of us, and that they are even more weird than language.