Friday, 13 April 2012

Humanity, Life and the Cosmos

And for a long time yet, led by some wondrous power, I am fated to journey hand in hand with my strange heroes and to survey the surging immensity of life, to survey it through the laughter that all can see and through the tears unseen and unknown by anyone.
– Dean Souls by Nikolai Gogol.

At the tiniest dimness of light, the slightest slither of sun, marking the earliest moment of morning, in unison with a sudden but lyrical vocalised wakening of birdlife, quite an amazing feeling arrives when one wakes just prior to the rise of the sun and one cannot help but feel moved by the abounds of nature happening all around. From darkness and night to light and day in all but a matter of time the world moves and people are in activity. Many miles away there is a gigantic solar furnace that fires out radiation and photons and which controls the celestial motions of the planets that enrich our local skies. There lies, in our own earthly back gardens, the diversity and complexity of life, all in the perpetual and profound activity of living. From the merest but ingenious forms of bacteria and fungus to the archaic majestic beings of reptilians to the great family of apes that you and I belong to, life is practically springing into activity from the depths of the oceans to the soaring heights of mountains. Whilst all the aforementioned is seamlessly taking place, struggling into and out of existence, people are still nestled in their own beds, another’s bed or any place of slumber, whilst the curtain of darkness and light alternates and rotates around the earth, providing a wave like motion of awakenings from the state of unconsciousness we find ourselves for three quarters of our existence: asleep.

We are an utterly imperfect species, but we are nonetheless a very special species. You and I began with a traumatic ejection from a strange world where we began as a single celled organism. The evolution of a single egg to a foetus to a baby to a child to an adult is one of the most fascinating and amazing processes in nature, and you and me and just on this very day about 250 000 other Homo sapiens have gone through this process too. We are living this life and sojourning with the other 6.8 billion humans on this earth. Of the 14 billion years of the universe, the 4.5 billion years of the earth, and the 4000 million years of life, anatomically modern humans have only existed for 200 000 years of this, and the behaviourally modern human only for 50 000. To put these arbitrary numerical semantics in context, if the scale of existence was stretched down to the length of an arm, humanity would be but the top of our middle fingernail. So you see we are somewhat insignificant in the vastness of geologic time and the grand scale of existence. We, Homo sapiens as we tend to taxonomically call ourselves, are quite bizarre entities of life; but in this bizarreness we should rejoice in our specialness of the diversity of culture, language and ethnicity and realise our commonality and responsibility to our metaphorical and literal brothers and sisters and to this pale blue green drop in the cosmic ocean. 

As tends to happen, the day ends with darkness and the people go home to sleep. As the moon comes into sight the owls hoot in their own wise manner, cats roam the streets, the earth rotates, and the hemispherical photon level changes in a somewhat slow manner, in a manner reminiscent of an anaemic snail with heavy luggage. Inevitably the cyclical and somewhat lyrical way of life continues and the universe remains rather lackadaisical. Thus we say huzzah!

Tasman Bain is a Second Year Bachelor of Arts (Anthropology) and Bachelor of Social Science (International Development) Student at the University of Queensland. He debated at the 2012 World Universities Debating Championship in Manila, was a Member of the 2011 Queensland Youth Parliament and was an Australian Representative at the 2010 Asia Pacific Young Leaders Summit in Singapore.

No comments:

Post a Comment