Everything Is Alive

(Rudy Rucker is a guestblogger. His latest novel, Hylozoic, describes a postsingular world in which everything is alive.)

Over the years, I've come to think that everything is alive, even a rock. In academic philosophy, this doctrine is known as "hylozoism"—the word even appears in Wikipedia.


As Stephen Wolfram and I have both pointed out, any gnarly, chaotic natural process embodies a classical universal computation. And at the quantum level, even dull-looking objects are seething with universal quantum computations. When I look at a stone, I think of ten octillion balls connected by springs. There’s a lot going on in a rock, enough to support universal computation, enough to run a mind.

How do I know a rock is alive? If I let go of it, it's smart enough to drop?

Or maybe, in the right frame of mind, I can feel an affinity to the rock—in a way, there's no telling where one thing starts and the other thing stops.


* The text and a video of my "Psipunk" talk about the notion that everything is alive.

* A slightly more academic paper by me, called "Everything is Alive."