Page 9 - Spokes 2-1: The Web of Life - Microbes, Fungi, & Plants
P. 9

 The Web of Life 



                     Life is full of beauty. Notice it. ~ American author Ashley
                  Smith
                   From its onset, life quickly diversified. Evolution begat
                interdependencies which only strengthened with time. Both
                variety  and  entanglement  are  essential  aspects  of  Nature.
                Life profusely and prodigiously embraces both.
                   The miracle of life has riveted the inquisitive throughout
                history and continues to fascinate. Understanding the coher-
                ence of biology opens a portal to comprehending the nature
                of existence, and thereby add meaning to our own lives.


                                  Defining Life 
                   What constitutes life is generally recognized to be: aware-
                ness, a vibrant body, and autonomous activity. Beyond that,
                an agreed-upon definition of life has proved elusive.


                                      History 
                     Life is the result of a special combination of atoms character-
                  ized by their constant mechanical movement. ~ Democritus
                   4th-century-BCE Greek rationalist philosopher Democri-
                tus was a strict determinist and a matterist: believing that
                everything  accorded  with  natural  laws.  Chance  had  no
                chance.
                   Democritus thought that life was maintained by the in-
                halation of fresh atoms, replacing those lost by exhalation.
                When respiration ceases, atomic recycling stops. The result:
                death.
                   Further, Democritus believed that humans, and humans
                alone, had a noble portion: the soul, pervading the body via
                psychic atoms. The soul, while distinct from the body, was
                material, and perished when the body died.
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