The cell's self-generated "electrome": The biophysical essence of the immaterial dimension of Life?

Commun Integr Biol. 2016 Jul 1;9(5):e1197446. doi: 10.1080/19420889.2016.1197446. eCollection 2016.


In the classical "mind-body" wording, "body" is usually associated with the "mass aspect" of living entities and "mind" with the "immaterial" one. Thoughts, consciousness and soul are classified as immaterial. A most challenging question emerges: Can something that is truly immaterial, thus that in the wording of physics has no mass, exist at all? Many will answer: "No, impossible." My answer is that it is very well possible, that no esoteric mechanisms need to be invoked, but that this possibility is inherent to 2 well established but undervalued physiological mechanisms. The first one is electrical in nature. In analogy with "genome," "proteome" etc. "electrome" (a novel term) stands for the totality of all ionic currents of any living entity, from the cellular to the organismal level. Cellular electricity is truly vital. Death of any cell ensues at the very moment that it irreversibly (excluding regeneration) loses its ability to realize its electrical dimension. The second mechanism involves communication activity that is invariably executed by sender-receiver entities that incessantly handle information. Information itself is immaterial (= no mass). Both mechanisms are instrumental to the functioning of all cells, in particular to their still enigmatic cognitive memory system. Ionic/electrical currents associated with the cytoskeleton likely play a key role but have been largely overlooked. This paper aims at initiating a discussion platform from which students with different backgrounds but all interested in the immaterial dimension of life could engage in elaborating an integrating vocabulary and in initiating experimental approaches.

Keywords: Meta-Darwinism; actin; cognitive memory; cytoskeleton; death; definition of life; evolutionary theory; mind-body problem; soul; spiritualism.