- Education and Science
Role in Life
In a free and affluent society, opportunities are everywhere, dreams can become reality, and the good, the bad, and the ugly comingle. It is also a place where people find jobs to make a living, to seek friends to enrich one’s personal and social lives, and to get help for one’s mental and physical problems. Through the encounters and experiences, some will come to term with their potential’s limits and realize that there are more things that one cannot be than one wants to be. Some will appreciate the diversity of people’s capabilities and sensibilities because those are what make a healthy and strong society. In time, we find that, at home, we are playing the role as a family member to provide financial support and emotional comfort. In the society, we are playing the role of a contributor or disruptor to its well beings. In life, we are playing the role as Nature’s guinea pig to see what works and what does not in its Garden of Eden.
In the animal world, we learn that the young has little chance to survive the harsh environment and the predators without the care and teaching of the family. As the young grows older and stronger, one day, it will leave home to strike out on its own and start a new family. Without exception, we, the human beings, are following the same path of survival. The difference is that we try our best to keep the family together for life to the next generations. We understand the family’s important functions and the roles played by its members –
1) The parents learn about the responsibility of holding the family together through the good and bad times.
2) The brother and sister learn about the sacrifice and the unconditioned love of the parents, trust and friendship from each other.
3) They will all that by staying together they can overcome any problem.
The family relies on the society to survive in the modern world. In it, the parents can find jobs to support the family, the children can go to school to learn about themselves and the world, and the adults can seek friends to socialize and mate to raise a new family. The society is a man-made world where:
1) People no longer have to kill or fight for food but work for it in a civilized manner.
2) People from all walks of life can contribute what they can at where they are needed.
3) People discover what they are and the part they play in complex machinery that is responsible for their survival.
Even though our society is governed by strictly enforced laws that encourage equal opportunity, uphold justice, and protect the weak, there are people who will always take short cuts, exploit the kindness and innocence of the others, and let the darker self to take control. Life in the society is full of challenge, pressure, and threat just like the animal world in the wild. As the old saying goes, one can take the human beings out of the jungle but one cannot take the jungle out of the human beings.
The Guinea Pig
Earth was formed around 4.5 billion years age. It was not until 1 billion years later that under the right environmental conditions and a soup of right chemicals in the ocean, following a set of physical laws, that the building block of life, the DNA, was formed. From then on, the journey of life on Earth started with the single-cell ameba, multi-cell bacterium, and gradually complex living organisms like fish, plant, amphibian, reptile, and mammal. The emergence of all these different living forms with different functions is the result of Nature’s tampering of the DNA’s basic structure to see what works best in the changing environmental conditions. With no exception, we are the latest product of this long, straightforward, and one-track process of controlled trial and error. Like all the past extinct species (some of them had survived for millions of years), we will march to the same path of obliteration if we fail to adjust to the changing environment – natural catastrophes, over population, global warming, disease epidemic, asteroid collision, diminishing natural resource, etc.
But, we have a big advantage over the rest of the living species; we are not only aware of the predicaments but also possess the capabilities to do something about them. However, it is going to take the collective efforts of every humans generations after generations, each contributes what one can and play a role as dictated by one’s DNA. Some contributions are to the good, the bad, or the ugly. Not everyone’s role in life is obvious and straightforward in the lifetime:
1) The leader of a nation plays an important role toward the welfare of its people while the role played by those who shaped the leader’s past were not apparent but equally significant.
2) The visionary or the inventor whose role is to change the way people live needs the support of many others playing an equally important role to make the idea and dream a reality.
3) A mass murder not only induces fear in people and hatred in the victims but also plays a role in the understanding of the evil that the human being is capable of.
4) The blind, the mentally challenged, and those who are born with some kind of physical deficiency not only find that living is impossible without the help of the others but also play the role of teaching people to be compassionate and life is more than the survival of the fittest.
No doubt, a person has one’s own idea how to live one’s life and is free to choose what one can be. However, the reality is that a person can only be what one’s physical capability can accomplish and can choose what one’s mental prowess can handle. On top of these constrictive scenarios is the environment that one find oneself stuck in and has almost no option to change it. In the animal world, it has been observed and documented that each species plays a role in maintaining the equilibrium of Nature’s ecosystem so that the food resources can have a chance to be recycled, regenerated, and reinvigorated. But, the humans have changed this rule of the game and altered how the ecosystem should operate. The humans can control and manufacture the food sources, manage the recycle of the waste products, and implement measures to protect the environment from overuse and abuse. The human being is the only living species on Earth who has not only the consciousness and intelligence but also the mental and physical capabilities to alter the landscape with roads, buildings, and mechanical gadgets to improve the living conditions and to understand how life on Earth was started, its grand design, and the role that the humans play in it.
We, the humans, began our journey of life on the African savanna many million years ago. With unique thinking brain and tool making hands, we were able to overcome life’s many obstacles to prosper in numbers, to gain better living conditions, and to satisfy the curiosity about the surrounding. About 7 thousand years ago, we developed comprehensive written languages that allow not only better communication among the people but also detailed documentation about survival experiences, tool making techniques, and the insight into the workings of Nature. From that time on, our life has been on a path of population explosion, material comforts, spiritual enlightenments, scientific discoveries, unraveling the laws of Nature, the origin of the species and the Universe. All these achievements were the cumulative efforts of countless people acting out their roles as written in their unique DNAs that are the results of random mutations and the probability of the good and bad mixings from the parents.
We are living in a world with;
1) A fixed set of physical laws that govern how things can be put together and function.
2) A fixed one-track biological process that determines how things can grow and how their mental and physical capabilities can develop.
With these rules and constraints in the background, Nature setup the stage for all the living things to play its game of life where everything has a role big or small that is randomly determined and purposefully implemented.