62 – On Life …

Life – even if we live it, even if we are one of its manifestations, even if we are experiencing the most intimate relationship with it, even if we are able to reflect on it, even if we reproduce it – is inscrutable to us.

There are many takes on trying to define Life, and they vary, oftentimes immensely, depending on the field from which it is perceived, but they generally tend to explain it as a Process (metabolic, self-regulating, self-organizing, adaptable, creative, resourceful, imaginative, self-generating, responsive to stimuli, and, my ‘favorite’: “… a dynamic equilibrium in a polyphasic system” [Biochemist Frederick Gowland Hopkins]). But Life itself we cannot define: Why does it exist, how did it begin, how did it come to be Alive, to be such an amazing Force, to feel so free and yet so dependent, to be so ugly and yet so beautiful, to be so cruel and yet so nurturing, to be so violent and yet so tender, to be so destructive and yet so creative? And although it is obvious that the evolution of Life flows toward Complexity and Order, we cannot fathom the Purpose. All we know is that Life has learned to re-generate, to self-organize, to self-perpetuate, to reflect upon itself.

Throughout Humanity’s recorded History, organized religions have shown an unshakable ability to create ‘gods’ when faced with phenomena we cannot comprehend or explain, for instance, Thunder, the Sun, Life. We have been able to explain the phenomena of thunder and sun, and those ‘gods’ have been replaced by empirical Knowledge. But since the phenomenon of Life is still incomprehensible, we persist on hanging on to the fallacy of a god’s intervention for its explanation.

And even though we have reached an advanced evolutionary stage, most of us fail to recognize the strong evidence of Purpose in Nature – how, for instance, a molecule, a planet, the Universe itself, follow a plan of development, a blueprint, that guides them to generate their own components, and bond them into cohesive yet adaptable structural organizations geared for self-perpetuation into higher orders of complexity.

Primeval Forces run in our blood (our yearning to bond, our urge to re-generate, our drive to survive), but there is nothing more ancient and compelling in us than the Force that regulates our constant transformation, while at the same time keeping us in continuous states of equilibrium. This ancient Force, this universal drive for self-regulation, is one of Life’s most essential pre-requisites. Life cannot live without self-regulation, nor self-regulation without equilibrium, nor equilibrium without Self-reflection, nor self-reflection without Life.

Self-regulation, equilibrium, self-reflection, arise because the Universe is alive and provides the blueprint, the ingredients, and the environment for Life to unfold into complexity.

And whether we accept it today or tomorrow, the undeniable Truth is that we have come to a stage in our evolution where we are becoming more and more aware of how Nature transforms us and how we transform Nature, because we are embedded in a living Universe intent on searching for the highest degree of self-reflection: Conscious Self-reflection.

So what is it about us? Why do we continue to hide behind implausible myths? Why do we continue to judge the self-reflective process towards Complexity and Order of an entire Universe by what our limited Minds can comprehend?

Life cannot exist without self-regulation, nor self-regulation without equilibrium, nor equilibrium without self-reflection, nor self-reflection without purpose, nor purpose without Life.

Re-written December 2018

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