Our Future Path!    A plan for a better world!

Life (a Foundation)


The first of the unalienable rights that was claimed in the United States Declaration of Independence was Life. I was not able to find a clear consensus on what our founding fathers meant by claiming our unalienable right to life. However, what I found seemed to indicate that we claimed the right to enjoy a life of our own choosing. That is, we did not want to be deprived of our right to live our lives as we wanted, and we did not want to be forced to live our lives as others, like the English Crown, wanted.

This right to life corresponds nicely with my third rule, which is "Allow all living things to live their lives their way". However, there is much more to life than just living it however we want. For starters, it would be hard to live our lives the way we want unless we were protected from undue harm. Therefore, we also need my first and second rules, which are "Do no undue harm" and "Protect everything from undue harm ". In addition, before we decide how we want to live our lives, we might want to know what it means to be alive and what is the meaning of life.


What does it mean to be alive? Science can give us a list of properties or qualities that distinguish living plants, animals and other organisms from dead or inanimate matter. These include the capacity to grow, to metabolize nutrients, to respond to stimuli, to reproduce, and to adapt to the environment.

In its absolute and most basic form, life consists of a bunch of self-sustaining chemical reactions. Living cells provide safe environments wherein these chemical reactions can occur and be sustained at an appropriate pace. What happens in a living cell is under the control of the cell’s genes. The genetic code tells the cell such things as how it should react to various internal and external stimuli, what proteins it needs to make, and when and how to reproduce.


What is the meaning of life? People throughout the ages have proposed many possible answers to this question ranging from the spiritual to the pragmatic. Many individuals believe in some version of life after death wherein our lives somehow determine our fate in the afterlife. Many individuals believe that the meaning of life is in life itself and in its creation of descendants. In addition, some individuals believe that meaning comes from both our life and our afterlife. Then, there are some individuals who believe that life simply has no meaning at all.

First off, for those individuals who believe that life is meaningless, I would say that it is better to live life as if it did have meaning than live it as if it did not. If life truly is meaningless, then how we live our lives really does not matter, so living life as if it did have meaning would not make us any worse off. On the other hand, if these individuals were wrong and life does have meaning, then they would be far better off living life as if they did believe it has meaning.

Then, for those individuals who believe in an afterlife, I need to point out that there really is no definitive proof about its form or whether it even exists or not. A given person’s religion may claim to have an answer about the afterlife, but there are many different religions and many different ideas about an afterlife. The only real way to find out if there is an afterlife would be to die and then see what, if any, afterlife exists.

If an afterlife does exist, then what we do in life may play a big part in what happens in our afterlives. This means that there may be things that we should do in our lives to be prepared for our afterlife. Of course, whether an afterlife exists or not, the things that we would do to prepare for it may just make our lives better. Therefore, once again, we can see that we are still far better off living our lives as if life had meaning rather than living them as if they did not.

Genetic Code and Survival

All in all, based on what we know and not on just what some individuals believe based on their faith, there may be only one underlying fact about life that we can truly be certain of. That is that life is all based on its genetic code. This is true whether we talk about a complex multi-celled organism, a single celled organism or even a simple virus. Life, as we know it, could not exist without its genes. In its most basic form, life could be seen as nothing more than a system that provides the means for its genetic code to survive.

For life to survive, it really does not matter where it came from, what greater meaning we may give it, or, for the most part, what happens to any given individual living organism. What seems to matter is that enough members of a species survive and reproduce so that its genetic code is passed from one generation to the next. Therefore, to survive, a given species must have a genetic code with enough similarities for it to be able to reproduce and to create new members of its species.

The genetic codes that exist today were determined by what genetic codes existed and were able to survive and to reproduce in the past. In addition, the genetic codes that will exist in the future are dependent on what genetic codes exist today and are able to survive and to reproduce. Therefore, the main driving force and possibly the ultimate meaning of life seems to be the protection and propagation of its genetic code. In fact, if this were not the case for the members of some species, then that species and its genetic code would not survive.

In this light, we can see self-sacrifice as an adaptation where an individual living organism will be willing to give its own life to save the lives of other members of its species to protect their shared genetic code. The ultimate sacrifice would then be in trying to protect all living things and all their corresponding genetic codes.

However, genetic codes are not immutable. They change over time. If they did not change, then all life, if any even existed, would have the same genetic code. Therefore, life is not protecting the genetic code of its ancestors, it is protecting its specific genetic code, which it shares with others of its species. Since our genetic codes all share some similarities with other genetic codes, then life could be protecting the actual existence of genetic codes.

Genetic Mutations

When a living cell divides, it must make a copy of its genetic code. Sometimes, a mistake is made when copying a gene. This mistake is a genetic mutation, and it can change how well its living cell is able to survive.

Some genetic mutations are always bad, neutral or good for the survival of the cell or the organism. For instance, if a mutation prevented a cell from making a needed protein, then the cell would die. If a mutation allowed an organism to better absorb nutrients from its food, then that organism would have a better chance of surviving and reproducing.

Other genetic mutations can be bad, neutral or good depending on the environment wherein the cell or organism lives. For instance, if a mutation allowed a cell to better withstand an acidic environment, then that may be a good thing in an acidic environment, but a bad thing in an alkaline environment. If a mutation gave an organism thicker and warmer fur, then that may be a good thing in an arctic environment, but a bad thing in a tropical environment.

If the genes in an organism mutate too much, then the organism could develop cancer and die prematurely. If the genes in a species did not mutate enough, then the species may not develop the needed diversity to evolve and to adapt to changes in its environment.

Over time, a species can accumulate many genetic mutations, which could increase its genetic diversity, which could allow the species to survive in a changing environment or to migrate into different environments. In some cases, enough genetic mutations occur to turn an organism into a new species.

For instance, there are many different bear species. Each has evolved and adapted in its physiology and physical appearance to survive in different environments. The North American Black Bear has evolved to live in the moderate climates of North America. The Brown Bear has evolved to live in the colder climates of the Northwest. The Polar Bear has evolved to live in the arctic. The Panda Bear has evolved to live in the jungles of Western China and to survive on a diet of bamboo. The Sun Bear has evolved to live in the tropical jungles of Southeast Asia.

Diversity and Survival

In the short term, an individual living organism must have the ability to adapt to small changes in its environment. If the organism's genetic code is not robust enough to allow the organism to survive in a wide enough range of environments, the organism may not survive even small changes in its environment. Of course, if the species has enough genetic diversity, then enough individual organisms will still be able to survive and to reproduce.

In the long term, a species must be able to evolve to handle larger changes in its environment. It doesn’t matter whether these changes are in the weather or in other plants or animals. If a species is not able to evolve, then it may not be able to survive or to reproduce in its modified environment, or to compete with other living things. This would mean that the species and its genetic code would soon cease to exist.

For a species to evolve, there would need to have been enough genetic mutations occurring to create the needed genetic diversity. Of course, these genetic mutations must have given some individuals an advantage in the new environment, even if they had been a disadvantage in the old environment. Some individuals might not survive, but if enough individuals with the right kinds of genetic mutations do survive and pass on their genetic mutations then the species would survive.

For a species to survive, it must maintain within its genetic code enough similarities to reproduce, but also enough diversity to be able to adapt and to evolve when confronted with a wide range of possible changes. In fact, during times of rapid or extreme change, the more diversity that a species has, the better its chances are of surviving. With enough diversity, a species can also expand its range into other ecosystems, which further increases its chances of survival.

Diversity also helps protect a species from being wiped out by disease. When the individuals in a species have different immune systems, then some individuals would be less vulnerable to any given disease than other individuals. This would increase the odds of survival for some of these individuals and in turn increase the odds that the species would survive.

On the other hand, if there is too much diversity, then some individuals may no longer be able to mate successfully with some other individuals. In this case, some individuals may not reproduce, and others may have evolved into a new species. Of course, this evolution into new species happens all the time in nature and is what has given us all the diversity of life that is all around us.

Just as diversity within a species helps it survive, having a larger diversity of species also helps the overall survival of life itself. For instance, if the climate changes, some species may relocate or perish, but other species may flourish. If multiple species fill the niches in the food chain, losing one would make it less likely that the food chain would be broken, which could allow the given ecosystem to remain healthy.

Human Evolution

With the genetic mutations that led to bipedalism, our hominid ancestors diverged from other primates somewhere in Africa sometime between 2.5 and 4 million years ago. Basically, the hypothesis is that climatic changes forced our ancestors out of the trees and onto the savannahs where bipedalism gave our ancestors an advantage. By about 2.3 million years ago, various genetic mutations then led to increased brain capacity and the ability to make and to use simple tools, which gave our ancestors a further advantage.

Over time, many different species of hominids evolved. Then, about a million years ago, the climatic conditions allowed or forced some members of these hominid species to migrate out of Africa and into Europe and Asia. Continued climatic changes isolated many hominid species in various places where they continued to evolve to better survive in their environments. During this time, our hominid ancestors in Africa evolved into modern humans (Homo Sapiens).

It was between about 70 and 100 thousand years ago that further climatic changes allowed or forced some of our modern human ancestors to migrate out of Africa and to populate parts of Europe and Asia. Although there was some interbreeding with other hominid species, like the Neanderthals and the Devonians, modern humans mainly outcompeted and replaced all the other hominid species. In addition, when the climatic conditions were right, they migrated to Australia, to the Pacific islands and to the Americas.

As large complex long-lived multi-celled organisms, our species could not evolve as rapidly as many smaller and simpler life forms. However, our large brains gave us the ability to adapt our lifestyles to survive even in the most extreme environments. For instance, to survive in colder climates, our ancestors made clothing out of animal skins and kept fires burning to keep themselves warm. Even so, people living in different environments also needed to evolve to do more than just survive.

For instance, as our human ancestors migrated into Northern regions where it was colder and there was less daylight, they had to evolve in many ways. The reduced sunlight and the need to cover up more due to the cold, favored lighter skin color, which would allow their skin to absorb more light to produce more Vitamin D. The cold also favored narrower noses, which lost less heat. The reduced sunlight also favored lighter eye colors, which allowed them to see better in the dark.

Today, the evolutionary pressures on humans from different environments are not as great as they were in the past. We now have better clothes, homes that have central heating and cooling systems, and the ability to ship various foods and other goods all over the world. Therefore, people whose ancestors evolved to better survive in cold climates, in hot climates, in wet climates or in dry climates can now survive comfortably in most any other climate.

However, there are now a lot of new evolutionary pressures on us humans and other living things. These new evolutionary pressures come from our modern lifestyles. We have new dangers coming from our machines and technology, and our more sedentary lives and exposure to pollutants are harming our health. Our overpopulation is also exposing us to more decease and destroying the environments needed by other living things.

Human Diversity

As with any species, we humans (Homo Sapiens) must still have enough genetic diversity for our species to survive and to stay healthy. Although we do not have to evolve as much due to climatic changes, there are many other cultural, social, technological and other changes that are putting pressure on our species to evolve.

Our ancestors lived in different environments and adapted and evolved differently to survive in their given environments. Although some of these lifestyle and genetic differences may have made it easier to survive better in certain environments than in others or to be able to do certain things better than other things, no difference is innately superior to another. No matter how different we are from each other, our ancestors had what it took to survive and to reproduce.

The bottom line is that we cannot always predict what climate, environment, cultural, social, technological or other changes may come along, so we may never know what may someday be useful or necessary. Therefore, our survival depends not only on our social and cultural diversity and our genetic diversity, but also on the genetic diversity of all life.


Although diversity is important to our survival, some people have a prejudice against people who are different from them and discriminate against them. The difference could be in such things as race, ethnicity, religion, gender, age or sexual orientation. Some specific types of prejudice include racism, bigotry, chauvinism, xenophobia, sexism, misogyny, ageism, and homophobia.

Part of this prejudice comes from our similarity bias. However, many prejudices are based on stereotypes. That is, some individuals will define everyone with some characteristic as being "all the same". Since many of us are inundated with too much information, we tend to categorize others into different groups instead of looking at each person as an individual. This saves us time but is also an example of a Hasty Generalization Fallacy. Maybe someone with a given characteristic fits our stereotype, but most others probably do not.

One of the main reasons that individuals become prejudiced is that they are taught to be so by their family, or they are drawn into some group of persons who are prejudiced. In general, these individuals are followers. Being a follower is not necessarily bad. The problem is in who these individuals follow. In this case, they either need to follow others who are not prejudiced or learn to think for themselves.

A nice analogy for the previous point might be the following. These prejudiced individuals could be thought of as sheep who instead of allowing themselves to be herded by a sheepdog are allowing themselves to be herded by a wolf. These individuals either need to allow themselves to be herded by a sheepdog who has their best interest in mind or turn themselves into sheepdogs.

Another reason that some individuals are prejudiced is because it makes them feel superior. However, it is important to realize that some individuals who have been or are being discriminated against have survived and some have even done very well for themselves. Therefore, it may be that many of these individuals are prejudiced due to a fear that they may be inferior.

Even though prejudice is illogical and can cause undue harm, individuals have a right to believe what they like and live their private lives in any way they want if they do not cause undue harm to anyone else. However, acting on or even expressing their prejudice in their public life would cause undue harm, so appropriate action must be taken to prevent this or to punish those individuals who still do it.

Basic Truths

No matter what other meaning we may find in life, what ultimately matters is the survival of the genetic code, which is best done when there is a lot of diversity. Given this, what basic truths can we derive about life and the survival of its genetic code? The following may be some of the more important of these basic truths.

  • The following are some basic truths about individual species.
    • Each given species has the same basic right to exist as any other species.
    • Each given species has the same basic right to habitat, food and resources as any other species.
    • To safeguard its survival, each given species must protect and conserve its food and its resources.
    • To safeguard its survival, each given species needs to have sufficient genetic diversity to evolve and to adapt to any possible changes in its environment.
    • Although the human brain gives us more overall intelligence than any other species, it does not make us inherently superior to them in the same way that being larger, stronger or faster does not make any other species superior to us.
  • The following are some basic truths dealing with the interactions between species.
    • To varying degrees, each species has evolved in ways that make it dependent on one or more other species.
    • Interspecies competition puts pressure on each species to adjust, to adapt and to stay healthy and strong to safeguard its survival.
    • The extinction of any given species could contribute to or lead directly to the extinction of one or more other species.
  • The following are some basic truths about individual organisms.
    • Each living organism starts out with the same basic right to exist as any other living organism.
    • Each living organism starts out with the same basic inherent value as any other living organism but can become more valuable or less valuable to its species, to its environment or to the world.
    • Each living organism has a right to decide how to live its life but must live with the consequences or die because of its actions.
  • The following are some basic truths dealing with the interactions between individual organisms.
    • Each living organism has an inherent right to protect itself and its environment from harm.
    • Some minimum level of competition between individuals is needed to ensure that only the fittest individuals survive and contribute their genetic code to the next generation.


It appears that our universe contains billions of galaxies and each one of them, on average, contains billions of stars, planets, moons and asteroids. In all this vast expanse of space, the only place where we are certain that life, as we know it, can be supported is on our own planet Earth. Although it does seem logical that life should exist somewhere out there beyond our little blue planet, we do not know where or in what form it exists. Even if life does exist beyond our planet, we do not know when, if ever, we will find it, or it will find us.

Although our planet is presently capable of supporting life, it may not always be able to do so. Eventually, our sun will run out of fuel and no longer be able to provide enough warmth and sunlight to support life. Even before our sun goes out, numerous other things could bring about the destruction of life on our planet. For instance, our planet could be hit by a massive asteroid or comet that destroys it or knocks it into a different orbit around the sun, or global warming could cause a runaway greenhouse effect that cooks the planet.

In addition, our actions or inactions could change things so that life on Earth would end sooner or later. Perhaps, everyone alive today will be long dead and will not be directly affected by our world coming to an end. Still, it will affect the survival of our descendants and our genetic code. So, what will happen to life when Earth is no longer able to support it? Will the universe even notice that we have come and gone? Will our lives have had any real lasting meaning at all?

If the ultimate meaning of life is to protect and to propagate the genetic code, then life must find a way to survive after the Earth is incapable of supporting life. The answer may be found in humans. We have already learned to take our first baby steps into space, and we are already scanning the heavens for signs of other life. It may very well be that our special purpose is to one day send or transport Earth’s life forms and their genetic codes to a new home. Maybe, our destiny will be to one day spread our planet’s life forms throughout our galaxy and the universe.

Human Destiny

As human beings, we have more of an ability to help or to save the life that exists on our planet than any other species. Our technological advances may one day save our planet from some natural disaster such as an asteroid strike or allow us to spread Earth’s life forms to other worlds.

Unfortunately, we also have a greater ability to hurt or to destroy all life on our planet. In fact, we have already changed and poisoned our environment so much that many species have already gone extinct and many more are on their way towards going extinct. Unless we change course, our actions and our inactions could one day lead to the destruction of all life on Earth.

We currently have our chance at life. If we want our genetic code to survive, then we must give our descendants the best possible chance to live. We must leave them with a world that is best capable of supporting life, which means a world with enough resources, with a clean environment, and with a wide diversity of life.

Someday our descendants may find a new place to live in the universe, but to give them the best chance to do that, we will need to postpone our planet’s destruction for as long as possible. Therefore, we need to undertake the long-term goal of protecting and preserving all the life forms that we have here on Earth.

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Liberty and Freedom - Some facts about Liberty and Freedom to keep in mind on Our Future Path.

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Saturday, December 16, 2023
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