The facts of life presented in earlier chapters can be summarized as follows.
Life is a process whereby chemical complexes exploit their environments to obtain energy and resources. Living and exploiting are inseparable activities, present at the base level in all life forms. Replication is a secondary function that (if sexual, rather than simply division) facilitates diversity. Diversity helps life to survive in a changing environment.
The elemental nature of life’s underlying process (chemical processes exploiting their environment) implies that it can, and will, arise anywhere, whenever suitable conditions exist. Once begun, life continues until all usable energy differences are exhausted; ceasing prior to this point would simply leave niches where new life could arise and evolve.
Sporadic mutations that improve or have no negative effect on life’s ability to successfully exploit environmental resources are carried through into subsequent generations.
Living organisms add new structures and cell processes to those they already possess, making entities more complex as time goes by. This creates an evolutionary trend toward intelligence because, to become beneficial, compounded body augmentations require more elaborate controlling abilities. Furthermore, since energy-exploitation becomes more difficult as energy resources are consumed, the very act of living creates conditions that necessitate enhanced problem-solving ability. That is, declining resources (and challenges of any kind) beget increased mental ability or intelligence.
Life learns how to exploit and control its environment by perceiving, investigating, understanding, then utilizing the relationships that exist between objects and events. This is possible because the universe is causally constructed.
Causality’s chain seems to break, from an insider’s point-of-view, at the physical and temporal boundaries of our universe. Internal causality cannot be connected to anything external to this universe because the properties of that which lies beyond (if anything does exist outside) cannot be understood from a position within.
There are many other important aspects to the nature of life and the universe but those listed above will suffice for the purposes of this chapter.