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Mystery Of Life

Updated on December 14, 2009

Too Much Order Out Of Chaos

I warn you that after reading this you may never look at the world around you in the same way ever again. We rarely take the time to look at the world closely and I suppose one of the reasons for this is that we are so immersed in it that we just take it for granted. We wonder about how it all began and how it may end, discussing theories like the big bang and evolution and it seems to make at least a little sense and sounds somewhat reasonable. But do you ever get the feeling that something is up? That it all seems to work a little too magically and that you seem to feel vaguely connected to everything that happens around you?

There seems to be a reason for all of this. Scientifically speaking one of the laws that governs the universe is that of entropy. Very simply put it states that the universe is always moving from a state of order to that of disorder. In other words if we wait long enough all our nicely organized stars, star systems, and galaxies will fly apart, cool down, burn out and we will be left with nothing but undifferentiated, mostly empty, space. In other words we are just at a fortunate point in time where there are still some local hot spots (like the sun) that we can feed off of so to speak, and basically just ride it out for now. It all sounds pretty bleak and makes life seem pretty pointless even though we have got a few billion years before we have to worry about any of this. However, the story seems to be much more intriguing than that. Just look outside and you will notice another force of the universe that is fighting back...life itself!

So we have entropy pulling us in one direction and life pulling us in another. Just another example of how beautifully balanced this 'yin and yang' universe really is. Life seems to be a force of creation, beauty and order working in opposition to the forces of destruction and disorder. It sounds very biblical (the bible tends to personify this struggle as God versus the Devil). However, I think it can be more clearly understood if we don't confuse things by thinking of one force as good and the other as evil. Obviously, they both need each other to exist and these forces create the universe as we know it. When we start picking sides we tend to get caught up in thinking one way is better than the other and our human nature leads us to destroy in the name of our ideals and beliefs. Clearly, if we took some lessons from the universe around us we would notice that it all works perfectly, like clockwork, without any biases, and this brings me to my point.

When we look at entropy we don't think of it as many little individual forces slowly causing disorder in the universe in many different locations at different times, we think of it as one big governing force working on the universe as a whole. However, that is exactly how we look at life. Oh look, a little force made a planet over there and there another force created that mountain, and there is a flower and then of course all these little individual people created separately for separate purposes...It really makes no sense and creates a whole lot of division out of a force that is indivisible. Life or the 'organizing force' is one big powerful force that seems to know exactly what it is doing, and even from our very limited knowledge we realize that it has been doing so for at least billions of years! In fact maybe one day if the physicists succeed we will understand it as one basic process without even distinctions between creation and destruction. To further the point, I would say that even evolution is incomplete when we look at things closely. Sure individual creatures evolve through time but how do we explain it all working together so well. You would think that random mutations would sometimes, due to their randomness, cause a total breakdown in the cycle, maybe life as a whole would completely fail from time to time, but it never does. Viruses or bacteria never seem to be able to completely destroy their host organisms to the point where the only thing left are viruses and bacteria and even though we try we can't seem to be able to get rid of them either. In general, since life first appeared on the planet it just seems to get more and more organized and complex with only minor setbacks along the way. Randomness does not seem to fully explain such a linear progression. And as I mentioned earlier, we may want to rename it the organizing force (not that the name matters, you can call it God or conciousness or whatever you like but I just want to be clear that I am including all processes that organize themselves even if we may think of them as 'non-living'). It's not just about life arising but we also needed stars and planets for the life to cling to, everything has to work together to sustain organization. In other words, you wouldn't have bees without the flowers and you wouldn't have flowers without the bees, everything seems to need everything else.

So we end up at a point where we get to the essence of most early religions and teachings, that we are all one. I think that is an elegant way to put it but I believe that we should be careful not to think of it as something that is merely poetic. Try to see all the ways that this applies to daily life. From psychic experiences, to deja-vue, to dreams, it seems like we are struggling to more firmly connect to this mysterious force. It's like we know something is there but we just can't grab hold of it, not yet anyway. Maybe our intelligence as humans will help us get in tune with this force or maybe it is hindering us for the time being but either way we should try our best to see it every day. Notice how things seem to happen for a reason and how the way you look at the world has a huge influence on how you feel and what seems to go on around you. I don't believe that this is just philosophically interesting, I think that it is pretty clear that something completely fascinating is going on and we are unfortunately, for the most part, in the dark. Think about how this realization makes something like the sometimes scary subject of death seem fairly unremarkable. Death is just one of the many tools used by this all encompassing force to move forward and prevent stagnation but the process always lives on and since we are the process we also always live on. Sure we get caught up in the life we are living right now and see it as everything that there is but this is unavoidable at times, it's part of the game (Eckhart Tolle's The Power Of Now is an excellent book to remind yourself to be present and peaceful). Remember, it is like we are visiting a museum and we are just so pressed up against the glass we cannot see the whole exhibit and of course, seeing only a small part, it doesn't make sense as a whole. Hopefully, one day we will be able to pull back and get a better view.

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