Life...Why? Who Cares, Just Live It!
Rust - like life - a process hard to stop.
Were we "made" by Little Green Men?
Most of us accept that the engine driving life is evolution using natural selection to keep us all damp-nosed and sparkly-eyed. Those creationists reading this might as well close the page now, because there is little coming up for them.
So we agree that, at some significant moment in time, several elements received the vital spark which set them into bringing about the first, one-celled creatures. If my description of this momentous event lacks scientific clarity or exactitude, sorry, I'm just a pen-pusher recording possibilities, not a genius physicist.
So there was no intent for this happening called "Life," the state which we prize above all other; indeed, without this state there is no other.
Of course, it may be there was a reason for the arrival of this precious commodity. Hard to imagine that some other being was standing around, perhaps from a spaceship, trying to perform this chemical miracle amidst the swirling storms and volcanoes, etc., that was the backdrop to life's first moments about 5 billion years ago on Planet Earth, give or take a billion. And any one with this prowess could surely have found more ideal surroundings elsewhere in the universe, which had been around more than twice this period of years.
Or perhaps not. Despite all the predictions from luminaries like Carl Sagan, we still have not a shred of evidence indicating that thinking life - or any other above bacterial traces - can be found anywhere amongst the trillions of stars and planets "up there."
Lacking further confirmation, except that we call "logic," it may be just as likely our sort of life does not exist anywhere else.
What I am trying to get at here is the huge question that has bothered science and philosophy for many thousands of years.
Why does evolution and natural selection work so tirelessly and hard to ensure life continues? Not necessarily human life, but the stacking of one atom on top of another that is the forge for new life-forms to continuously appear as the old become extinct and disappear.
Do we have to throw the WHY out with the WHO and the WHICH, leaving us with just the what and the when?
We can see evidence of other substances evolving as atoms collide, merge and make new substances. Rust, for example. Once, people though rust was a just part of a metal rotting as it were. Now we know rust increases the volume and weight of its victim. In the organic world, there are scores of examples like this as fungi, bacteria and viruses invade and change the structure of their hosts.
We don't ask "why do metals rust?" We know how they mainly do, the metal - commonly iron - reacts as iron and oxygen meet water or damp air and produce red iron oxides. And we are surprised to find our massive iron structures - if not treated - are actually permeable to air and water; once rust begins it is almost impossible to stop as the process is working from the inside. You may notice that on the family car, just painting the surface doesn't work as Mr Rust is waaay beyond that.
But we digress. Easy as it is, in the main, once evolution is explained to people, it's easy to grasp and certainly bolstered by evidence all around us. But the bald fact that life might have begun and continued all these billions of years purely because of a complete accident of nature - two atoms, or smaller particles, being in proximity to one another just as a lighting bolt struck them and fused them into becoming ALIVE: and from there, all else that is and has ever been, that flew, walked, swam or crawled, has happened because of an accident? Or, better said, an incident?
You can hardly blame poor Homo sapiens - the Thinking Bloke - for continually searching the tomes, the learned men’s commentary, and the skies to provide an answer for the "why" that he can grasp and understand. Which, no doubt, is why man "invented" the gods in order to postulate a scenario in which they were not completely alone in an uncaring universe: and in which religious production they had a chance to be better than the next chap and have another, better, life next time around in some glorious "heaven." (with or without enough virgins to keep them company...that‘s enough, Osama, don‘t make a pig of yourself!).
Would a more acceptable reason for all we are; all we have recorded and all we see around us, make a whit of difference to our lives?
The religious would say that it does; that their belief has made them a better person because they wanted a better chance in the hereafter and their god had asked for strict codes of behaviour. Atheists would point out that so much mayhem and disaster has occurred because of religious intolerance that any belief is of doubtful benefit to mankind's good.
In fact, if this "why" question is finally answered and we find it was all due to little green men seeding the universe all around, this information might make us all very nervous. Because another "why" would need answering right away. "Why did they do it?" So they could come back one day (maybe tomorrow) and munch on our frail bodies?
But, heck, wouldn't that make all the news about Osama fade real quick!
When you think about it, the Martian’s scenario (where the original "little green men" came from) is the only one that makes sense. It has to be a selfish reason, right? I mean, if a god did it, what was his motive, to begin a chain that would one day lead to us, so he could spend all day making us miserable?
Logic says it has to be an accident. A happy one for us: as individuals, just to know 70 years or so of this incredibly beautiful and varied world is worth the price we also pay in misery and pain.
"Don't you agree guys?" My budgies, Woody and her new partner, Sparky, singing away despite their (large) cage, seem to think it's all just fine as long as there's plenty of love around.