LOOKING FORWARD FROM BACK THEN
Last blog I took you back to the beginning of life on earth. I will not speculate on whether it was the beginning of life in the universe. As improbable as that sounds, anything is possible… Well, almost anything…
Back at the beginning, when the first cell was splitting for the very first time, what was happening? Are we going to assume that the first living cell made a conscious decision to live beyond its upcoming death by cloning itself. As ridiculous as that sounds, again, anything is possible. The thing is, the first cell did clone itself, and immortality began. One split led to another split led to another split. These splits are still happening today, billions of years later. What is it that drives a cell to go on surviving, motivating it to reproduce itself over and over and over. Look at our own bodies. Yes, we start by the joining of a sperm with an ova, but then what happens. The cell thus formed reverts back to its time-immemorable task of splitting itself to create another cell, and those two cells splitting to make two more cells, then those four cells splitting to make to make eight cells. Somewhere along the line, an order comes from our DNA, I guess you could say, and instead of one cell reproducing itself exactly, it changes itself and splits into a new kind of cell, say, for argument’s sake, a fuel-consuming cell. Consuming fuels immediately requires yet another type of cell, a waste-eliminating cell. Now, suddenly, we need a fourth type of cell, an energy-transporting cell. You can see where I am going with this, I hope. I am describing the growth of a multi-billion, or maybe even multi-trillion, celled being, possibly even a human being–starting from one cell. But as of yet, neither you or I cannot know what type of being is growing out of that first combined sperm+ova cell. A kitten, a baby whale, or a baby human, the what does not matter in this discussion. For matters most, for me, is the how, and the why. And even the how is just a curiosity for scientific study. The why cannot be explained by science, other than to say our DNA requires the cells thus growing to become a certain species of being, related, of course, to its parentage. But really, that is the story of how. Nothing in our understanding of life can give us the why of life.
But let’s try, and it is here my own mind is engaged in two opposite, and not necessarily connected processes. One, the drive to survive. This feature of life, I don’t know that it was a motivating factor or not in the original cell-splitting event, but likely the more the cell reproduced itself the more it wanted to go on reproducing itself until it became a drive to survive. And this drive led to the first mutation of a cell–an attempt to find an even better way to survive. First, I would argue, a different cell, a cell that could last longer than its predecessors. Later, symbiotic cells, or possibly parasitic cells. (Here, a discussion of virions might be helpful, so if you don’t know about virions I hope you will take a quick look.) Whatever the reason, cells started working together, which made for longer-living cells–specifically longer-surviving cells.
Is that a how or a why? The primordial soup is beginning to get fuzzy. That was process one. Process two is from a different point-of-view, the idea that there is an unseeable factor affecting this survival process. That factor is life, the idea or condition that there is more to cells than we can learn about through science, the existence of life spirit. Here I suspect, if I were standing beside or behind you as you read this, is where I would start to hear you laugh. I know some of you will be, but I expect that. Life for you is the process of living, not an actual spiritual condition, or addition. But remember, we are working on the assumption that anything is possible. For me, not only is life a possibility, it too is a probability. The drive to purpose, the drive to be different, the drive to be better than one was previously. I do not see any drive, except survival, coming from a cell all by itself, and even survival might be a stretch.
But enter life, a condition totally unrelated to physical or material processes, and things start to make sense. Well, at least they do to me. Atoms and their building blocks are not capable of wanting to survive, they are what they are and nothing more. No matter how many electrons, protons, or nucleons make up a thing, it is still a thing. It is not capable of any movement except that caused by physical forces such as gravity or centrifugal force. Yet, these proto-motivations, if I may call them that, are real, just not in a physical sense, but in a life sense, or–my words–a spiritual sense.
What that means to me, even if to no one else, is cosmic, to say the least. And the purpose of this post was to introduce the concept of spirituality to those who don’t know much it, or who may have never even considered it.
And for now I will leave this concept here, and to allow you, if you are so inclined, to wonder what the hell I am even talking about. Hopefully, that discussion will come soon.