I’m probably going to seem ignorant to some, but I think the following:
The fact that DNA exists and unravels into the staggeringly complex forms it does necessarily indicates that there is some mechanism that writes experience back into DNA. The orthodox mechanism, however, is abstract, a “Law”, that of Natural Selection. But that is one level too removed. There is something closer to the thing itself. A Lamarckian something. Something that developed early on (planetary timescale), or came from somewhere else (cue Twilight Zone muzak). The thing itself, really, when you get down into it: “ding an sich”.
We identify the point of life with our mind, our present self. And there’s a good case to be made for that. It is our knowledge of the present which keeps us fed and from falling. But we are here because of the reproductivity of our parents, as much for their past “present nowness”. What goes into that reproductivity? To the combination of chromosomes that purportedly happened once upon a time? Half from half and the other half from the other half (is it truly halves?). This blend, me. This smart blend, I guess is my point: the process that goes into fissuring a child from totality.
Viewing things with an evolutionary lens, it is relatively clear that eukaryotic organisms like ourselves, and our means of reproduction, are emergent from those of the prokaryotic, single-celled lifeform. A single-celled organism reproduces by splitting itself in two, nucleus first (as far as my understanding goes). When the self-same goal of reproduction is translated to the eukaryotic reality, we still have, at root, the splitting of a cell in half (male and female gamete) – however, instead of self-building (completing) the half, the half is ferreted through a process that combines it with another half that was created by another eukaryotic instance of one’s self. (I can see in this a possible narrative about how eukaryotes evolved: prokaryotes split in normal reproduction, but instead of floating off, stayed together)
There’s a secret in that process. Something beyond pure randomness that catalyzes the complexity of eyes and nervous system. There is a source of creativity in there somewhere. I guess that is my insight. And my further insight is that that source of creativity is our felt experience of consciousness itself. The creativity inherent in existence’s raw ability to keep persisting (self-organizing into atomic and subatomic particles and molecules, etc, stable configurations) is what we experience in each moment as consciousness.
Or, as worded in the Tibetan Book of the Dead:
This intrinsic awareness, which is not extraneously derived, is itself the genuine introduction to the abiding nature of [all] things… One’s own immediate consciousness is this very [reality]! [Tibetan Book of the Dead, pg. 42, Penguin Classics]
I’d love to see a study that computationally analyzes the differences between the hundreds of millions of sperm in a single male ejaculation. And then do that analysis on a lifetime of such instances. And then do a comparitive analysis. Try to factor in life experiences. This could probably be done with a rodent, although a human would be interesting too. The point is to try to identify patterns within and between the environment of the male and the DNA of the male’s gametes. I suggest male’s since, unlike females, their gametes are produced throughout life, vs early on during a single phase. Have studies been done to try to extract an image of a parental environment from the differences between the DNA of a parent and a child?
The pixels would be in the form of the representational units of the organism itself. And that probably doesn’t change even from kingdom to kingdom. It’s a DNA thing. I wonder how the world is represented in DNA? Or better yet, the metabolic processes within the cell that read and write their little windows onto the world into DNA. This all could mean that I identify consciousness (not intellect, mind you) with something that is occurring in DNA rather than brain. It would be amusing if that turned out to be more accurate. Although, I’m not actually even saying it occurs in DNA. I’m saying it occurs in energy and that what we recognize as life is a harmonic emergence of that raw existingness into different scales of expression (cell, person, society, Gaia global superogranism, [universal consciousness background radiation?]).