The laws of physics are inviolable; that is, until they aren't. Newton's laws were considered inviolable until we started getting information from distant stars and objects moving at great speeds, that did not jive with Newtonian projections. Einstein came up with new laws. These laws, among other things consolidated many Newtonian ideas about the nature of physical reality. Electricity and magnetism came to be understood ( by Einstein or perhaps someone else) as two aspects of the same thing; hence: electro-magnetism. Space and time were also realized to be two aspects of the same thing: hence: the space-time continuum. Acceleration and inertia were found to be a part of gravity which in turn was a feature of the bending of the space-time continuum. So now we had Einstein's laws, rather than Newton's, which were really inviolable. Shortly thereafter, quantum theorists, investigating the behavior of tiny particles, discovered violations of some of Einstein's ideas. Twin particles seem to adjust to each other instantaneously at enormous distances, faster than the speed of light. The idea that the speed of light was fixed and that nothing, not even information, could move faster than that speed is at the core of Einstein's theories. Also, quantum theorists have discovered that the observer changes the very nature of the thing that he or she is observing just by observing it. Beyond Einstein, the very nature of matter and the universe itself are called into question by quantum observations. Quantum tunneling, whereby particles move through seemingly impenetrable barriers, not only occurs, but is at the core of the process that provides us with heat from the sun. While the particle, as a particle, cannot penetrate the barrier, that same particle, or wave, or whatever it actually is, if it is 'actually' anything, when it is in its wave form, it moves easily through that barrier, and when it goes back to its particle form, may find that it has 'tunneled through' and is now on the other side of the barrier.
These discoveries have led contemporary theoretical physicists into a fantastic frenzy of speculation. This is not speculation around the margins, but speculation about the very essence of matter, of gravity, of the physical world itself. Is there really a solid physical world, or is this solidity a function of the way that our brain/body processes information? Is it possible that we are not the random accidental result of a highly unusual collision of particles, but, rather, is everything almost the exact opposite of the way that we have been thinking. Is it possible that the particles, including the particles that make up our brains and bodies, are not really solid particles at all, but only part of a design whose purpose is to provide us with a certain type of experience? So, I think it is fair to say that the average theoretical physicist today is in some sort of state of fervency, and it is a wondrous fervency.
This is not at all the case with theoretical biologists. In fact, there are very few of that species remaining. Is that because Darwin, unlike Newton, actually found the inviolable set of laws that determine the origin and development of life? Or is it because the discrepancies between Darwin's theories and historical and observational reality have been swept under the rug by orthodox evolutionary apologists who offer up impossibly convoluted and tortured explanations for these discrepancies (much like the way that the Earth-centered vision of the solar system of Aristotle and Ptolemy endured for two thousand years because astronomers indoctrinated in the Earth-centered system continued to offer up elaborate and implausible explanations for the fluctuating brightness and retrograde motion of the planets). The level of complexity and precision that we are discovering at the cellular and even the molecular level of living beings is obviously far, far too precise and synchronized to be the product of random, unintelligent molecular accidents accumulating over hundreds and millions of years. In fact the very basic processes of life, the processes that needed to be there at the very inception of life, are so numbingly complex that Nobel Prizes are handed out to our brightest and most diligent researchers who have spent their entire lives even marginally deepening our understanding of any aspect of it. Clinging to Darwinian orthodoxy, absurd and ridiculously convoluted explanations are offered up to justify how this complexity could have come to be, and to justify how all geological evidence points, not to gradual evolutionary changes, but to sudden ones and ones that occurred just at the point when climactic and geological conditions on this planet either made them necessary (as in the case of major adaptations of existing species) or made them possible, as in the arrival of more highly developed species whose arrival depended on and needed to await a cooler climate, a more oxygenated environment and the availability of certain elements (phosphorous for skeletal development, for instance).
But I digress. Most contemporary physicists talk about four basic forces of nature: gravity and electro-magnetism, which we are most familiar with, and the strong and weak forces which are forces that bind atomic particles together and sustain atomic structures. Many physicists talk about the ultimate consolidation of forces; that one day we could deepen our understanding so that we could see all forces in nature as coming from or derivative of one, as yet to be discovered force. If you look at the history of science you see that at any given time there were a set of forces or physical laws that were deemed to be inviolable. Then, when violations of these laws were discovered, devout apologists of these systems scrambled to create elaborate justifications for these violations until someone, some truly courageous thinker, was willing to throw out the entire system and replace it with a new and more efficient one which explained, or seemed to explain, how things worked including the violations of the old system. Then, as violations of the new system were discovered, the new system became the old system, to be ultimately replaced by a still newer system which was even more inclusive and efficient in its explanation of the phenomena observed to that point.
But if we say that there are four basic forces, or perhaps three as some physicists are now saying, or perhaps two, as Taoist and Hindu thinkers have been saying for thousands of years; there is still another force that must be considered. That is the force behind all the attempts to overcome the other forces. The force behind all the attempts to overcome the other 'natural' forces (this force is every bit as natural as the 'natural forces'} is called 'desire.' And I want to discuss how desire initiates all the attempts to overcome natural forces. These attempts I will classify into three categories: 1. all machines. 2. all behavior of living beings. and 3. all biological processes within living beings.
A machine is a way of gathering some kind of energy, focussing it through certain objects whose shape and composition allow that energy to be used to overcome some of the 'natural forces' so that some purpose can be accomplished. It is obvious to deduce that the inventor must have desired to create something that accomplished that purpose when he or she invented that machine; that the builder, who tested the machine to make sure that it worked properly and made adjustments to it's construction if it didn't, desired to build this machine so that it achieved the purpose that the inventor intended for it; and that any user of that machine desires to have the experience of achieving that purpose that the inventor intended whenever the machine is used.
When scientist Steve Pinker declares in Time Magazine that, "Scientists have exorcised the ghost from the machine," he is implying that there is no more mystery in the machine; that everything is now known and observable about it. Yet the 'desire' out of which the machine was created and the 'desire' that precedes the use of the machine and the 'experience' of the satisfaction of that desire by the use of the machine, all of which can neither be observed or measured, are not even considered by scientists such as Steve Pinker; but without which any machine would never be used nor even created in the first place.
One more thing about machines. The inventor of a machine gets an idea, but it is not the only idea represented in the machine. The inventor is the recipient, the inheritor, of a whole host of ideas that are already a part of the culture or society of which he or she is a member. The inventor's idea is, at least for that moment, the capstone of a whole host of ideas that he has built upon to enable him to come up with this one new idea. The smelting of bronze brought about the Bronze Age with a whole raft of new tools and weapons that were stronger and more precisely formed than anything preceding them. Yet the inventor of bronze smelting built upon the knowledge of building a fire, of pots that could hold the copper and tin ore and withstand the intense heat of the smelting process, of a system of hooks and support poles to hold those smelting pots in place, of kilns to increase the temperature inside the oven beyond what could be achieved in an open fire, of the use of charcoal in an airless furnace to reduce the ore and pull the oxygen from copper and tin oxides, of the tools necessary to mine the copper and tin ore, etc. In the same way any contemporary inventor has, as part of his thinking about the design and components of his invention, a whole raft of available materials and known inventions like screws and conducting wires and transistors, etc., all of which are part of the context in which he thinks about solutions to the problem that is troubling him and out of which comes the idea, the invention, which is the solution to that problem. In this way, technology 'evolves.' This evolution is somewhat random in that inventions are solutions to problems presented by the unfulfilled demands of people in relation to their environment, but the course of those demands and the ways in which the environment may change are always unpredictable. But in technology, in the world of machines, it is easy to see that there is an evolution, but it is an evolution of ideas motivated by desires that changed as the environment (not only the physical environment, but the social and political environment, the environment of human needs) changed as well.
This applies to what is known as instinctual behavior as well. Whatever the instinctual behavior is, however 'primitive' it is; if it is something as simple as flight or fight, the organism is provided with some kind of sensory equipment that allows it to discern whether that thing in the environment is something to eat, to ignore or to avoid. What that organism desires to eat may be biologically dictated; what that organism wants to avoid may be biologically dictated; but when it summons energy to move toward that food source it does so because it is hungry and desires to eat; and when it avoids that predator it does so because it experiences fear, which is the desire to flee, and when it attacks that predator it does so because it experiences anger which is the desire to fight.
I don't mean to imply that all desires have a biological underpinning. We, humans, at least, have other motivations, and we arrive here to accomplish certain goals. We come from the world beyond matter, the world of spirit which is essentially indivisible, and we begin to experience that Oneness when we get in touch with our real, spiritual center within. But in this world we have a separate body and brain, a separate set of memories and knowledge and relationships. We each experience this world from a slightly different point of view, because we experience it through our brain, body, sensory organs, all of which are part of the physical world and each slightly different. In addition to our biological motivations, we want to distinguish ourselves, to draw attention to ourselves, to gain recognition for ourselves in a way that separates us from everyone else. This is perhaps what Freud refers to as the ego. At the same time we want to return to the Oneness from which we originated. We want to dedicate ourselves, to lose our sense of separate self, to experience oneness on some level, with our partners, our family, our friends, and, most transcendentally, with the great spirit that connects us all, with God. So we find ourselves somewhere along this continuum, with sociopaths at one end and saints at the other.