A little speculation...

Life, the ultimate computer, is remarkably successful at
calculating how to continue -

Umpqua River, Oregon - photograph by Steve Terrill

Falls, Willamette National Forest, Oregon - photo by Steve Terrill

but, does not always succeed...

Christmas Lake, Oregon - photo by Steve Terrill

Requirements for life:

Apparently, a few basic rules, the laws of physics, can give rise to the incredible diversity of life. Remarkably, complexity can come from simplicity. Were this not true we as humans would be unable to comprehend our environment. Apparently there are no laws conserving complexity and it is perhaps impossible to tell which environments will support this genetic algorithm that is life.

 

When I consider every thing that grows
Holds in perfection but a little moment,
That this huge stage presenteth nought but shows
Whereon the stars in secret influence comment;
When I perceive that men as plants increase,
Cheered and cheque'd even by the self-same sky,
Vaunt in their youthful sap, at height decrease,
And wear their brave state out of memory;
Then the conceit of this inconstant stay
Sets you most rich in youth before my sight,
Where wasteful Time debateth with Decay,
To change your day of youth to sullied night;
And all in war with Time for love of you,
As he takes from you, I engraft you new.

 

Shakespeare
Sonnet XV

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