Peter Baofu, PhD
Full Professor, Seal Beach, CA, US
Series: Physics Research and Technology
Is biophysics really so significant that, as Ursula Goodenough once claimed, “biophysics…[is] the notes required for life; they conspire, collectively, to generate the real unit of life, the organism. The intermediate level, the chords and tempos, has to do with how…biophysics…[is] organized, arranged, played out in space and time to produce a creature who grows and divides and is”? (YD 2019) This positive view on biophysics can be contrasted with the critical one by Vijay Iyer that “[t]he thing about physicists is that they tend to think that everything is physics. I don’t….You can explain aspects of it in physical terms, including the physics of anatomy: how our bodies move, the torsional moment of inertia, the way you move your body to a beat, the inherent periodicities of the heartbeat, the gait. That’s physics, too, I guess ―maybe they’d call it biophysics.” (AQ 2019)
Contrary to these opposing views (and other ones as will be discussed in the book), human biophysics (in relation to practicalness and non-practicalness—as well as other dichotomies) is neither possible (or impossible) nor desirable (or undesirable) to the extent that the respective ideologists (on different sides) would like us to believe, such that there is no practicalness without non-practicalness (and vice versa), to be explained by the “theory-praxis principle,” the “bioticnessabioticness principle,” the “significance-nonsignificance principle,” the “distortedess-nondistortedness principle,” the“inclusiveness-exclusiveness principle,” the “functionality-nonfunctionality principle,” the “regression-progression principle,” the survivability-nonsurvivability principle,” the “evolution-transformation principle,” the “intentionality-nonintentionality principle,” the “optimality-nonoptimality principle,” the “same-difference principle,” the “stability-reaction principle,” the “proaction-adjustment principle,” and others principles in “existential dialectics” (in Chapter Four).
However, this challenge to the conventional debate does not suggest that human biophysics, as a field of study, is useless, or that those diverse fields (related to human biophysics)—such as electroencephalography, cryobiology, biological thermodynamics, biochemistry, medical physics, biomechanics, physiology, astrobiology, basic science, applied science, quantum biology, bioengineering, systems biology, science fiction, agronomy, nanotechnology, and so on―should be ignored. (WK 2019) Of course, neither of these extreme views is reasonable.
Instead, this book offers an alternative (better) way to understand the future of human biophysics (and related fields) in regard to the dialectic relationship between practicalness and non-practicalness (and those in other dichotomies)—while learning from different approaches in the literature but without favoring any one of them (nor integrating them, since they are not necessarily compatible with each other). More specifically, this book offers a new theory (that is, the practicalness-nonpractical theory of biophysics) to go beyond the existing approaches in a novel way and is organized in four chapters.
This seminal project will fundamentally change the way that we think about human biophysics (in relation to the dialectic relationship between practicalness and non-practicalness—as well as those in other dichotomies) from the combined perspectives of the mind, nature, society, and culture, with enormous implications for the human future and what I originally called its “post-human” fate.