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Introduction
& Prolog
Part 1.
Metabolic Metaphysics
Part 2.
Star Larvae
Part 3.
Space Brains
Addenda
Epilog

The Star Larvae Hypothesis
Nature’s Plan for Humankind

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Why do stars need us?

When that question surfaced in my mind I already had concluded that the sun is burning itself out on our account. The nagging question was, "Why?" And then nature yielded its secret: It is because biological life constitutes the larval phase of the stellar life cycle. We are star larvae.

"Still, it has been a bruising battle. I've devoted most of my working life to Gaia. Most of my research has been self-funded. I could never get a grant. No surprise, though. If you start any large theory, such as quantum mechanics, plate tectonics, evolution, it generally takes about 40 years for mainstream science to come around."

— James Lovelock
Salon interview, 8.17.00

That conclusion, formalized as the star larvae hypothesis, might look like it lands out of bounds, violating categorical distinctions between nature's animate and (seemingly) inanimate processes. But that is what new paradigms—new interpretive frameworks—do. They violate assumptions and reconstitute categories. They redescribe the universe.

In elaborating the hypothesis, I've been grateful for accommodations provided by the scientific community. At every turn it delivers discoveries that fill in pieces of the puzzle: complex organic chemistry in interstellar space, nuclear catalysis inside stars, neuroplasticity in developing brains, and, in 2010, the publication of "Evolution, the Extended Synthesis." This sourcebook from MIT Press includes papers from researchers across various fields of evolutionary biology. The findings they present not only marginalize natural selection as a causal factor in shaping phenotypes but also unintentionally recast evolution as an instance of development, an implication that challenges the neoDarwinian, modern synthesis. And the more recently coined, extended evolutionary synthesis.

The star larvae hypothesis introduces a paradigm shift that, in Kuhnian fashion, gathers into a new understanding of nature anomalies that have grown up around normal science. It removes the anomalous qualities and normalizes them. In doing so it also overspills science's usual boundaries. It drags in religion, politics, and philosophy.

Anyone interested in inter-, multi-, trans-, ambi-, omni-, or metadisciplinary studies owes the star larvae hypothesis at least a passing glance.

Insofar as the hypothesis includes in its account of evolution an ascent of terrestrial organisms to a weightless realm (outer space), in which they become transfigured, the star larvae hypothesis incorporates religious mythemes. It interprets these mythemes as harbingers of biological development. Cherubs are an example. Rendered as putti, or flying babies, they portend extraterrestrial phenotypes, which the hypothesis expects weightlessness to render neotenous. More generally, the hypothesis explores the notion of weightlessness as an ecological/evolutionary niche. The effects of weightlessness on human physiology are understood well enough, and for that reason weightlessness is seen to be a threat to the health and fitness of bodies. But this concern grows from a psychological/emotional attachment to the (terrestrial) human form per se and the assumption that successful spacefarers always will end up back on Earth or some other lump of big geology. But that need not be the case. Native extraterrestrials, those born into weightlessness, might not bemoan the loss of a terrestrial physique. Never knowing the depressive effects of gravity, they likely will relish living in a world of three-dimensional sensorimotor acrobatic freedom. Bones and biceps be damned when weightless flying is the natural mode.

"Creative people are occupied not so much with creativity as they are fascinated with an opus."

— James Hillman
The Myth of Analysis: Three Essays in Archetypal Psychology

The page on conspiracy theories conveys some of the hypothesis' political concerns, "conspiracy theory" being a convenient gloss for unofficial narrative. The hypothesis has these concerns because politics keeps the hypothesis’ prescriptions from being filled. The global elites seem to have little interest in opening new frontiers for exploration and habitation. They seem content to sabotage the project of creative evolution, which is nature's ongoing ontogenetic development, which is the historical instantiation of God's will. The elites embody malfeasance on the grandest scale. Comprising psychopaths, they can't do much else.

The ontogenetic, teleological, aspect of the hypothesis entails that history have a preferred direction and that biology be no special case of metabolic process. It is for historians to sort out whether these and other assertions of the hypothesis might be called true. As a philosophical pragmatist I have no dog in that fight.

If the predictions of the hypothesis come to pass, then the future skeptic will be free to ascribe the fulfilling events to contingencies and coincidences. No one will be compelled to ascribe the events to any kind of teleology that inheres in nature, though the hypothesis proposes for nature a developmental direction.

And if events play out in much the same way predictably across the universe, then that's just how things happen to happen, as directed by directionless physical laws, the skeptic will be free to claim. If outcomes in nature concur routinely with the predictions of the hypothesis, then all that one will be able to say is that the hypothesis outperforms its competitors. No settling of accounts is to be had in terms of Truth, beyond agreements regarding best fit to the data and whatever other justification criteria future critics happen to settle upon. The merits of the hypothesis, from a pragmatic point of view, involve whatever efficacies it provides as a conceptual and interpretive framework within which to formulate policies that minimize the suffering and maximize the well being of our descendants. Pragmatism suggests that we can pursue these goals perfectly well without debating Truth.

In any event, surrounding the hypothesis' inherent universe-as-laboratory testability, is a thematic coherence (such as there is) and a logic (such as there is) that bind the ideas that constitute the argument, which stands as a curation. (A critic might call it a cherry picking.) The hypothesis constitutes an exposition that strives to deliver stellar-caliber infotainment value while it edifies.

"Because I do not think that philosophy is ever going to be put on the secure path of a science, nor that it is a good idea to try to put it there, I am content to see philosophy professors as practicing cultural politics. One of the ways they do this is by suggesting changes in the uses of words and by putting new words in circulation—hoping thereby to break through impasses and to make conversation more fruitful. I am quite willing to give up the goal of getting things right and to substitute that of enlarging our repertoire of individual and cultural self-descriptions. The point of philosophy, on this view, is not to find out what anything is 'really' like, but to help us grow up—to make us happier, freer, and more flexible. The maturation of our concepts, and the increasing richness of our conceptual repertoire, constitute cultural progress. "

— Richard Rorty
Philosophy as Cultural Politics: Philosophical Papers, Vol.4

 

 

 

 

 



The Star Larvae Hypothesis:

Stars constitute a genus of organism. The stellar life cycle includes a larval phase. Biological life constitutes the larval phase of the stellar life cycle.

Elaboration: The hypothesis presents a teleological model of nature, in which    

 

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