All quotes from Erwin Schrödinger’s

How can the events in space and time which take place within the spatial boundary of a living organism be accounted for by physics and chemistry?

If we were organisms so sensitive that a single atom, or even a few atoms, could make a perceptible impression on our senses—Heavens, what would life be like! To stress one point: an organism of that kind would most certainly not be capable of developing the kind of orderly thought which, after passing through a long sequence of earlier stages, ultimately results in forming, among many other ideas, the idea of an atom.

What we call thought (1) is itself an orderly thing, and (2) can only be applied to material, i.e. to perceptions or experiences, which have a certain degree of orderliness. This has two consequences. First, a physical organization, to be in close correspondence with thought (as my brain is with my thought) must be a very well-ordered organization, and that means that the events that happen within it must obey strict physical laws, at least to a very high degree of accuracy. Secondly, the physical impressions made upon that physically well-organized system by other bodies from outside, obviously correspond to the perception and experience of the corresponding thought, forming its material, as I have called it. Therefore, the physical interactions between our system and others must, as a rule, themselves possess a certain degree of physical orderliness.

Incredibly small groups of atoms, much too small to display exact statistical laws, do play a dominating role in the very orderly and lawful events within a living organism. They have control of the observable large-scale features which the organism acquires in the course of its development, they determine important characteristics of its functioning; and in all this very sharp and very strict biological laws are displayed.

Living Matter Evades the Decay to Equilibrium.

What is the characteristic feature of life? When is a piece of matter said to be alive? When it goes on ‘doing something,’ moving, exchanging material with its environment, and so forth, and that for a much longer period than we would expect an inanimate piece of matter to ‘keep going’ under similar circumstances.

What an organism feeds upon is negative entropy. Or, to put it less paradoxically, the essential thing in metabolism is that the organism succeeds in freeing itself from all the entropy it cannot help producing while alive.

The device by which an organism maintains itself stationary at a fairly high level of orderliness (= fairly low level of entropy) really consists in continually sucking orderliness from its environment.

That we give off heat is not accidental, but essential. For this is precisely the manner in which we dispose of the surplus entropy we continually produce in our physical life process.

Since we know the power this tiny central office has in the isolated cell, do they not resemble stations of local government dispersed through the body, communicating with each other with great ease, thanks to the code that is common to all of them?

Whether we find it astonishing or whether we find it quite plausible that a small but highly organized group of atoms be capable of acting in this manner, the situation is unprecedented, it is unknown anywhere else except in living matter. The physicist and the chemist, investigating inanimate matter, have never witnessed phenomena which they had to interpret in this way.

My body functions as a pure mechanism according to the Laws of Nature. Yet I know, by incontrovertible direct experience, that I am directing its motions, of which I foresee the effects, that may be fateful and all-important, in which case I feel and take full responsibility for them. The only possible inference from these two facts is, I think, that I—I in the widest meaning of the word, that is to say, every conscious mind that has ever said or felt ‘I’—am the person, if any, who controls the ‘motion of the atoms’ according to the Laws of Nature.

To Western ideology the thought has remained a stranger, in spite of Schopenhauer and others who stood for it and in spite of those true lovers who, as they look into each other’s eyes, become aware that their thought and their joy are numerically one—not merely similar or identical.

Consciousness is never experienced in the plural, only in the singular.

How does the idea of plurality (so emphatically opposed by the Upanishad writers) arise at all? Consciousness finds itself intimately connected with, and dependent on, the physical state of a limited region of matter, the body. (Consider the changes of mind during the development of the body, as puberty, ageing, dotage, etc., or consider the effects of fever, intoxication, narcosis, lesion of the brain and so on.) Now, there is a great plurality of similar bodies. Hence the pluralization of consciousnesses or minds seems as very suggestive hypothesis. Probably all simple, ingenuous people, as well as the great majority of Western philosophers, have accepted it.

The only possible alternative is simply to keep to the immediate experience that consciousness is a singular of which the plural is unknown; that there is only one thing and that what seems to be a plurality is merely a series of different aspects of this one thing, produced by a deception (the Indian māyā); the same illusion is produced in a gallery of mirrors, and in the same way Gaurisankar and Mount Everest turned out to be the same peak seen from different valleys.