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I don’t think that any of us can lay legitimate claim to understanding the difference between living and lifeless material. In a world of stuff: rocks, soil, trees, people and machinery, we function under the certainty that these things are clearly distinguishable. That assumption is no surprise. But the boundaries between these things are subject to constant revision. As flecks of corroding machinery spiral into the wider environment and are incorporated into the soil their elements eventually come to constitute vital parts of living organisms. Whether these are soil microbes, fungi or higher plant cells, “lifeless minerals” begin to act as part of the biological dynamic that geneticists so love to declare are selfishly involved in acts of self-perpetuation.

 

Part of this scientific conviction results from the horizons by which our vision is bounded. We witness molecular bases pairing sequentially in new but reminiscent patterning. Patterns so circumscribed that a mongoose and I share 90 percent of the same DNA.

 

This appreciation of the life baseline, strands of molecular DNA, seems to dictate the conclusion that what we call life is there at that level and no lower (some people even define life as DNA). In other words life is a set of dynamics confined to a specific scale of matter.

 

Collections of planets orbiting their individual stars could never be viewed from any vantage point that would expose them acting as constituent parts of a very much larger expression of the life process. Imagine the opposite: that we were shrunk to sub-atomic size and were cognisant of our immediate sub-atomic environment. Would we possess anything that would allow us to recognise that the vastly larger molecular scale of matter, was a level at which a force called Nature expressed itself?

 

Maybe future research will confirm that the organisation evident within a cell is simply more recognisable to us but equally present at any scale one could care to examine within the cells constituent parts.

 

The cognisance we each possess, even the fanciful “delusions” by which I am assailed, derive from and impinge upon something we each call our “self.” Until we recoil and stagger a little under the impact of these facts we are not really awake to the majesty of this phenomenon we are involved in. We are immersed in something vastly more compelling than what the TV screen will ever permit us to believe

 

We value our personal existences, not though out of our gratitude for our being, but rather out of reflex, because of compulsive biological desires. When those desires are met; hunger by food from the fridge, boredom by the TV, we experience (without recognition) the burgeoning of other desires, unmet “ambitions”.

 

With a hands and mind-on encounter beyond the contrived chatter of the society shaping us, the real world is evidenced as spreading in every direction beyond and within ourselves.

 

This dynamic realisation will not press itself upon us like a politician seeking votes. It comes as a consequence of the personal recognition that one is bereft of meaningful insight; asleep to the world. It is highly analogous to lucid dreaming. We must shoulder aside the duvet of sleep and wish for bigger things, in the same act of hope that must accompany the sowing of any seed!

 

The seed is a macrocosm of a domain I am too blunt to enter, too gross to experience directly. When I discover that a seed that I have sown has germinated and that its first leaves have pushed aside the soil, I am present at the birth of a new individual. Potential is becoming manifest. For those who can only interpret the seed’s prior life as one of encodement, gestation and waiting, it might not occur to entertain the notion that the yet-to-result tree is as much the “will” of the pip as the pip was the “will” of the parent tree; a small point but incremental.

 

The unfolding life of that developing apple, pear, or cherimoya tree is the ballooning up into this scale matter of a whole range of qualities with a “knowingness” of this larger realm and its occupants. By that I mean the birds, the bees, etc, and us (if we participate). That tree’s future fruit’s flesh is bribery to disseminate its own offspring seed. In the process this fruit flesh fuels the ballooning of potential from the bird and human seed, whose life and purpose can be viewed from diametric angles. Each has a certain existence (and seemingly as two halves had before conception). That existence continues at that same scale within the resulting plants countless cells. And at that supposedly fundamental level, will has been exercised. The plant accomplishes for the seed, the seed for the plant! That is a matter of conjecture only to the mind.

 

What is certain is that the familiar interactions of the world’s organisms would hardly be perceived at the submicroscopic level.

 

I could cite a strange but typical example. Who, gazing at the minutest discernable parts of this organism’s cells could fathom the design inherent? To our tutored eyes what we recognise is cellular “machinery”. We see nothing that would inform us that this is part of a shrimp busy cleaning the sharp teeth of a massive moray eel. We recognise nothing that hints at this shrimps larger scale functioning and the ecological role it fulfils. At the tiniest scale we gain no inkling that the shrimp is working as oral sanitizer at the head of a short queue of patient morays who could easily choose the shrimp as tucker but don’t!

 

Similarly who would understand from the dissection of an apple pip that it would have germinated and grown into a vast network of roots, a trunk and branches that, when earth reached a certain place in its orbit of our star, would become ornamented with delicate flowers, which would advertise a sugary bribe to a conglomerate of other highly organised cells called a bee?

 

That bee’s own submicroscopic make-up has equipped it with the necessary organs to withdraw that nectar and transfer vital pollen. We witness this from our level and assume that this is where all the action and relevance resides.

 

The submicroscopic does not have to be regarded as merely invisible machinery to make events happen at our scale of matter. What happens here can just as readily be envisaged as occurring for some much smaller or even perhaps much larger scale of expression. These are entertainments that tunnel through my mind, a mind which itself is an accessible manifestation of something vast, which I am privileged to explore and experience.

 

The involvement in assisting a seed to take root and express itself, its uniqueness, when I might have otherwise have gone out to a commercial nursery and bought a mass-produced named cultivar, gifted with the commercial world’s seal of approval, is an adventure. This seed expressing itself is a small but dramatic event! It can assume a vastness if one is willing to “dream”, to entertain aspects of others fanciful notions of a not readily accessible spiritual kingdom in which we live and breath and have our being.

 

If we attest the virtue of a revitalizing, a rekindling of our spiritual selves, to swerve away from the approaching abyss of social disintegration and aspire instead to focus on issues of real value, then the first step of recognising our own individual bankruptcy is vital.

 

We need to have at least a vague inkling of our own personal shortcomings and to act as if the spiritual impulse that has manifested in all cultures might have some even broader basis. For some the outcome of this is like a seed sown and nurtured internally, for others like the admission of light to a yellow stunted seedling.

 

It’s my contention that our own individual take on the structure of reality will be as unique and the range of insights so diverse that it will span the whole gamut of all previous and some yet-to-come world philosophies.

 

An expression of our personal insights will demonstrate that the dominant world religions are simply that, the dominant ones! Just like with the demise of the Cox’s Orange apple and the ascendance of Pacific Rose, what we are witnessing is yet another example of collective subordination to the rhetoric of the loud. Another act of conformity!

 

This place was meant to be diverse and can be, if each of us is prepared to stand humbly but erect, tolerant and open but confident enough to live by our own insights.

 

Examples of our shortcomings are everywhere. Today I witnessed a prime example when an acquaintance tasted the fruit from a grapevine propagated from seed by my mother. It’s a very good vine, productive and healthy, and a producer of sweet juicy grapes. My friend immediately made it known that he would like a cutting, so he could grow the same vine. My internal reaction did not stem solely from a sense of possessiveness but was one of exasperation. I had pointed out that the vine had originated from a seed; one of millions secreted inside grapes available the length of the nation. Every grape in creation has equally humble origins.

 

Tom could easily have recognised the lesson implicit in my explanation of my vine’s genesis. He could, instead of desiring one identical to mine, have understood with excitement that other countless botanical treasures lie waiting for the chance, within the “core” of galaxies of such fruit. Something new, even better could be discovered. We should join the fun not the flock.

 

 

Pull Quotes:

Until we recoil and stagger a little under the impact of these facts we are not really awake to the majesty of this phenomenon we are involved in

 

The seed is a macrocosm of a domain I am too blunt to enter, too gross to experience directly

 

That trees future fruit’s flesh is bribery to disseminate its own offspring seed

 

That existence continues at that same scale within the resulting plants countless cells

 

That tree’s future fruit’s flesh is bribery to disseminate its own offspring seed

 

That existence continues at that same scale within the resulting plants countless cells

 

who would understand from the dissection of an apple pip that it would have germinated and grown into a vast network of roots, a trunk and branches that, when earth reached a certain place in its orbit of our star, would become ornamented with delicate flowers, which would advertise a sugary bribe to a conglomerate of other highly organised cells called a bee?

 

We witness this from our level and assume that this is where all the action and relevance resides.

 

The submicroscopic does not have to be regarded as merely invisible machinery to make events happen at our scale of matter.

 

USE THIS PULL QUOTE, IF NO OTHER

The involvement in assisting a seed to take root and express itself, its uniqueness, when I might have otherwise have gone out to a commercial nursery and bought a mass-produced named cultivar, gifted with the commercial world’s seal of approval, is an adventure

 

It’s my contention that our own individual take on the structure of reality will be as unique and the range of insights so diverse that it will span the whole gamut of all previous and some yet-to-come world philosophies.

 

This place was meant to be diverse and can be, if each of us is prepared to stand humbly but erect, tolerant and open but confident enough to live by our own insights.

 

He could instead of desiring one identical to mine have understood with excitement that other countless botanical treasures lie waiting for the chance

 

He could, instead of desiring one identical to mine, have understood with excitement that other countless botanical treasures lie waiting

 

 

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