Parallel Minds, 65–70

Chapter

Golem

EXCERPT

The way in which a set of simple objects interact to form a complex structure is one of the most fascinating aspects of the materials around us. As human beings, we have always been able to assemble material components to build artificial objects capable of performing different functions; our ability to build machines and structures is astonishing, and yet the way we transform the material around us is in no way comparable with the assembly processes of nature, in particular those that are characteristic of living matter. How does a plant grow? How is a diamond formed? Why do we have to work so hard to design, build, and repair our machines while the organisms that surround us, not to mention our own bodies, are capable of doing so unconsciously and totally autonomously? The distance separating our technologies from natural organisms seems like an unbridgeable abyss, dividing us from a lost paradise of infinite abundance and eternal regeneration.…