“Was not their mistake once more bred of the life of slavery that they had been living?—a life which was always looking upon everything, except mankind, animate and inanimate—‘nature,’ as people used to call it—as one thing, and mankind as another, it was natural to people thinking in this way, that they should try to make ‘nature’ their slave, since they thought ‘nature’ was something outside them” — William Morris

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Non-music, non-philosophy, and of course, non-life. In The Ecological Thought I talk about the strange entities that exist at the macromolecular level: insertions, virions, viroids, plasmids, and on and on. There are whole realms of them. For instance consider RNA world, a realm of “pre-living life” that had to exist before DNA proper, since DNA requires ribosomes and ribosomes requires DNA.

DNA type self-replicating molecules are “life“ forms, or perhaps it's better to say non-life, since there are many kinds of macromolecule such as viruses that aren't “alive” in the metaphysical, onto-theological sense.

I was reminded of this today by an essay on how bacteria are becoming resistant to a wide range of antibiotics. This is because of the presence of plasmids inside bacteria. Plasmids are a kind of non-life in the sense I'm using here.

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