Cover photo

Adaptation and Infinity: Minimal Genome Evolution and Spirituality

How on evolutionary experimentation is bringing us closer to embracing a relational universe.

This weeks contributors: Ron Rivers

We cannot go a week without the nexus of science and spirituality strengthening. A recent investigation into the evolutionary dynamics of minimal genomes by researchers at Indiana University has yielded fascinating insights. They reduced a bacterial genome to its bare minimum, where every nucleotide (DNA parts) counts, and observed evolution. Over 300 days—approximately 2,000 bacterial generations—a minimal cell can regain its fitness that was lost through genome reduction. Interestingly, the critical mutation helping in this process had a context-dependent effect, manifesting as a survival advantage. Unearthing an essential fact about evolution - it doesn't follow a set direction but is a response to the organism's environment and circumstances.

Moger-Reischer, R.Z., Glass, J.I., Wise, K.S. et al. Evolution of a minimal cell. Nature (2023).

The research raises questions about the previously perceived evolutionary constraints. A minimal cell's capacity to adapt would be limited if every gene in its genome is essential. Yet, this study shows that even a minimal cell can evolve freely. Its exceptionally high mutation rate acts as the motor of adaptation. Thus, even in the face of streamlined genomes, room for evolution remains, challenging our conventional understanding of the process. The only thing that matters is progress in response to survival needs.

These findings illuminate our understanding of the relationship between complexity, adaptability, and spirituality. If life evolves in relation to circumstance, then the evolutionary process for a specific organism is indistinguishable from the moments it finds itself within. Further replicating this process in alternative directions would allow us to glimpse an evolutionary process that only ever exists alongside a specific environment. A single happening further solidifies our inhabiting of a relational universe. As we witness the evolutionary flexibility of minimal cells, we see an alignment of our observed reality with the infinite possibility in the dual realms of quanta and imagination.

Consider also how the progression of complexity as a realm of the possible reflects the material infinity we inhabit. As Smolin and Unger argue in The Singular Universe and the Reality of Time, scientific efforts in cosmology and physics continue to coalesce around the theory of sequential universes, one occurring after another, but no more than one at a time. Sequential universes provide us with an observable infinity, the material nature of reality. While it's likely that humanity will never possess the capacity to measure other universes, it does not negate our responsibility to choose a direction.  

We, therefore, recognize an existence that only ever exists within perpetual states of change. Conceptualizing change can only occur within the present and only claims a direction once the moment commits itself to history. As individuals, we recognize ourselves as both within and of this materially infinite reality. Within it because we each find ourselves within a unique set of conscious coordinates that none other may occupy because we embody an aspect of that infinity within our imaginations. That progressive evolution would occur within a minimally viable genome is not as surprising as we might initially think, considering the broader context that is nature. 

The unbound possibility that is our evolutionary process may also provide insights into how we navigate our experiences with the unknown. Evolution is a part of us and has equipped humanity with the tools to process the infinite complexity of the universe in particular ways. That evolution itself is unbound to direction furthers the latent possibility inherent within each moment. Potentiality that we only ever express through choice within the immediate present. This deep interconnectivity with the universe provides us with a foundation for what spirituality must become to meet the needs of the moment. An alignment with nature that prioritizes our capacity to create in directions unbound and unbeholden the systems surrounding us. 

This exploration of minimal genome evolution offers us a profound realization: at its most fundamental, life is bound to the single truth of change. Evolution and progress occur independently of constraints. By embracing our place within this material infinity, we can view ourselves as passive observers and active participants in an evolutionary tale that echoes across the cosmos. As we deepen our knowledge, we enrich our spiritual selves, reinforcing the boundless connection between science and spirituality. We are both observers and participants, ever-changing within the networks of relationships we inhabit. This is a revelation of self, a testament to our boundless capacity for adaptation, and a clarion call to recognize our integral role within life's cosmic totality.

Weekly Happenings

💡 As we move towards final launch we've been exploring many potential DAO options. After evaluating many options we have found our home. We're finalizing our tech stack this week and will be announcing more during this week's town hall! (Friday 7/14/23 @ 4:00 PM EST)

📔 Revised graphic novel content - you can review it here and add comments. Core content was revisited for clarity and conciseness. DAO content will be updated once everything is finalized.

🎨 Our artist Diego Andrade is moving closer completing the artwork for the graphic novel. 11/12 illustrations are now complete and undergoing a color process. A payment of $1500 was made, leaving $1500 remaining to be paid. As a note, Ron Rivers is paying for the graphic out of pocket in lieu of paying for a Catalyze Member Token. This leaves more grant funding for supporting member capacity to spread the message.

Thank you for reading!
Please share this email with any friends you think might enjoy this newsletter. We are spreading the message one curious person at a time.

Connect with SpiritDAO

🐦 Twitter
🤝 Discord
💬 Telegram
▶️ YouTube
🌐 Website
📜 Docs

Collect this post to permanently own it.
Sensemaking - SpiritDAO's Weekly Newsletter logo
Subscribe to Sensemaking - SpiritDAO's Weekly Newsletter and never miss a post.
#relational universe#biology
  • Loading comments...