Recently Roger Penrose's book "The Emperor's New Mind: Concerning Computers, Mind, and the Laws of Physics" was published. In the first chapter titled "Can a computer possess intelligence?" the author discussed the problems of origin of human intelligence and he wrote the following:
"According to the quantum mechanics, any two electrons must be identical; the same is true about any couple of protons or couple of elementary particles of one type. This is more than a statement about their indistinguishability -- this is a stonger statement. If we would manage to exchange an electron in human brain and an electron in a brick, the state of the system would remain absolutely the same, as before -- not only the same, but indistinguishable! The same is true about protons and other elementary particles, as well as atoms, molecules, etc. If the material of the human body is being replaced by corresponding particles belonging to the bricks of his house, nothing will change at all. The key difference of a human from his house is what kind of structure is created from components of his body, but not the individual properties of these components."
We see from this citation that Penrose makes no difference between an electron in human brain and an electron of brick. It seems strange, because Penrose has fundamental knowledge of quantum mechanics. At least he understands that an indivisible electron (or another quantum particle) may exist in different places of space and therefore, it can go through two slots.
But it is absolutely clear that the electron, that has passed through two slots is different physically from the electron had not passes them yet. Although the charge and mass of rest, indeed, are the same for two electrons, their quantum state can be different. The quantum state of an electron (or other particles) can be very complex and contain huge information. For example, one can imagine a device where an electron passes through million of orifices and splits into million of wave packets. If all orifices are open, the state of the electron after these orifices will correspond to one million of "one". If some orifices are closed, some "ones" are replaced with "zeros". This means that a quantum state of a single electron can contain a big amount of information.
We may say that the "body" (mass and charge) of all electrons is the same, but "souls" (quantum states) are different. Since living creatures contain very large information, it is natural assume that this information is stored not in their own structure, but in a very complex quantum state of elementary particles that constitute the living organisms. If the quantum state of a single elementary particle can be complex and carry a lot of information, this is truer about the quantum state of the whole living organism (trillions of particles).
There is a great difference between a living body and unanimated matter, although they consist of the same class of elementary particles -- protons, neutrons and electrons. To explain this difference, I assume that the elementary particles making a living organism exist in a very complex quantum state. For example, an elementary particle arriving to the organism would split into many wave packets which are in a constant motion inside the organism. We assume that a part of elementary particles of a living organism is not localized in organs, but moves throughout this organism in the form of wave packets. I would say that a living organism is like a very complex interferometer, and the phenomenon of life (from physical point of view) is a hypercomplex interference processes inside this organism. This was my initial intension of the account for the 7th chapter.
But when I started to write a draft, the logic of reasoning, against my will, brought me to another idea. Indeed, the life from physical view is an interference phenomenon and a living organism can be compared with an interferometer. But this is less important thing. The most important thing is that the ensemble of all living organisms creates a gigantic united interferometer. Elementary particles split in this hyper- interferometer into wave packets and exist simultaneously in a plurality of living beings. Later these wave packets, existing in living creatures, interact with each other and this creates a very complex and perfect interference pattern known as Life.
After I comprehended this, I decided to rewrite the 7th chapter. I removed the paragraphs about interference inside a living organism (just to keep focus on the main things) and focused on the idea of nonlocal connection between all living beings, that existed since the times of conception of Life. My initial concept was that nonlocal connection between a creature and entire Biomass can be breached by reduction, and cannot be restored. This was the spirit of the chapter seven.
Now I think that I was partially wrong. It seems more reasonable that the Biomass can restore the broken nonlocal link between living organisms. The Biomass, covering almost entire surface of the planet, is an indivisible whole. But the unanimated nature can also be an indivisible whole. The unanimated world of Earth can form a network of nonlocal links. At least, the nonlocal link that unites all waters of Earth in a whole can be sustained due to circulation of water in nature. The atmosphere of Earth, due to winds, can be sustained in a united quantum state.
When the Biomass interacts with the environment, it picks up the atoms that are not localized in a place, but rather "smeared" over a considerable territory. These atoms after acquisition by the Biomass becomes "live" atoms, that present in many creatures in the form of wave packet. Figuratively speaking, the Biomass breaths in the life into living beings.
From this point of view, the main reason of aging and death of a living organism is not internal process of the collapse of wave packets that transforms a live atom into "dead" one. The main reason is that the Biomass (by some reasons) fails to supply new portions of live atoms.
All living creatures eat food, drink water, and intake air. Any of these processes can fill the living organism with live atoms. Surely, if the Biomass has not barred this process.
Crystallization of this idea moved me to rewriting of the chapter 7, but later I decided to keep as it is and to add these comments. Because the goal of the 7th chapter was not to give a full and comprehensive account of the new idea (this is too early for that), but to give only a general outline.