Life versus the Void

Galaxy SpiderWebCroppedLife merely clings to the cooling and condensing ball of gases and fluids we call planet Earth. To be sure, this life has assumed a variety, a dazzling variety, of shapes and functions. Yet, even in their totality, they have simply a toehold on the congealed outer limits of this orb of energy.

Grasses, molds, fungi, start by gluing and impregnating themselves to that skin. Eventually, shrubs and trees penetrate a few feet into matter whose depth is measured in thousands of miles. And then atop it, in the shelter and nourishment provided by the plants, critters emerge — buzzing, swarming, swimming. Trying at first by sheer numbers to survive, critter life then moves to attributes such as size and speed to attain permanence on a scale  to match the planet.

Fragile and ephemeral, fleeting and vaporous, life hopes to survive on the strength of its own energy and inventiveness. If it mutates sufficiently often and cleverly, it can escape extinction. In wheat and lichen and redwood, it has begun to succeed, but in the animals, its work did not measure up. For every cockroach, there is a tyrannosaurus.

Life then produces people, an awkward mix of mammalian traits, but one gifted with high adaptability and a novel neural capacity, to lead the rest of the life-forms to this desired stability. Because while the vegetable forms have done their work of adhering to the planet’s surface, and of altering that surface to enable further life, they have developed only moderate symbiosis with it.

What have people done with their chance? Have they proven equal to their task? It would appear that lately, within the years since the Enlightenment, we have done precious little — or worse.  ©J Joel




Thoughts on Deity — and life

There is a tendency to confuse life with Deity. Life and its force runs throughout those creations which cling to the Crust. But life in and of itself is not divine. It iS quite special; it IS a glory; it IS far more wonderful than the stars and the Void and the forces of gravity and electricity. Time, space, and compound interest are no more divine than is capitalism. For, if everything is divine, then there is nothing special about divinity.

Life engages in a titanic struggle to assert and maintain itself in this hostile setting. The struggle has thus far been successful and life has grown to cover more of the cooling crust of the orb. The forms of life have grown ever more complex and have, lately even been able to move to a neighboring orb, although not yet to establish and maintain a presence there. The highest forms of life, however, remain confident that they can, at some future time, succeed in the planting and colonizing effort there. It is only a matter of time.

This feat is remarkable, for the outcome has not been a certainty. Life and its force have, however, been relentless, and one form or another of life have always operated under the rule that, when necessary, any given form must be surrendered, or must surrender, in order that the forward thrust of life not be thwarted by the “selfishness” of any single form or species.

This force and its goal are somehow always recognized and obeyed. Homo sapiens has not necessarily formally acknowledged this truth, but has ultimately obeyed it even in times of temptation. (Such times have been called insanity, etc. Suicide is a crime for this very reason.) In the rather short time frame of the past few hundred years, life has found ways to increase the fecundity and productivity of some of its constituent parts and to overcome situations of apparent excessive growth of certain species – “overpopulation”, so called.

This is a force which is more remarkable than such forces as gravity, photo-electricity, compound interest, quarks or interstellar winds. It is truly a glory, exceeding the stars or the void. Yet I do not hold it to rise to the level of divinity. There is a temptation to confuse life with Deity, at least in part because the hostile elements (the “chaos” in Genesis) cannot ever appreciate divinity.