Thursday, November 30, 2006


How does one punctuate the above? No this is not some silly grammatical excercise. It seems to me this is actually a fairly profound question. Life is. It is a statement there can be no questions asked. It is an absolute certainty. That's it life nothing more deal with it. This is profound in the utmost but utterly bleak. If on the other hand Life is? This becons us to explore and to think and to come up with an answer ourselves. Life is? is the fundamental nature of science and of philosophy, and English and a whole slew of other disciplines. It also shows our human insecurities the fact that we really don't know what life is or what makes it tick or why or much in fact of anything in the universe at all. The question mark appears like someone's ear and asks us to listen. What do you think? But that question mark also comes to a point at its end. Will life? Are we listening to our lives simply to find this point and possibly missing the beautiful stories and journeys experienced along the way? The question mark if ever asked by a teacher is a sign of something that must be answered. Either if the teacher doesn't know then that is what we search for in our careers as scientists and students of life. If on the other hand the question mark is presented by the teacher. If it is not answered that is academic death. To leave a question blank preposterious! Something must be answered even if it is a complete guess. In our search for this elusive question mark of life are we hastily answering whatever we can find. Is there a right answer or is it one of those retorics that its not really the answer its the thought process that counts. Are there acts of evil or is it our intentions that matter? Is there a set code to what is right and wrong? Is there an answer that you will be graded on on life's final exam? Or is it the thought processes involved? What were you thinking when you stole that paper clip? Did you do the best you could in the situations you were given? Where you generally trying to be a good person? The very fact it is a question mark is the mark of a question. The mark of the unknown. So we have gone through the question and the statement, but neither of these are enough to express the great joy and wonder of life. So perhaps life is is not a . or a ? perhaps a better symbol of the infinite wonder of life would be Life is! Truly, consider even for a second just how many obstacles we have to face. Consider how many things in any given instant could kill us deader that Dicken's depiction Marley in his work a Christmas Carol. Consider the odds of all of the events that have to be in just the right concentrations and distances and proportions and everything else for life to be. Life is! wow! and what a life it is. We are not joe schmoe amoebas though no offense intended to Joe his life just ain't that great, though I am sure he/she/ they think otherwise. Look what we can do! Look how much more we still have to do! Look how diverse we are everything from viruses on life's obvious fringe to microbes in every environment possible. Whales and even possibly planets themselves if we believe the ideas first setforth by James Lovelock in the late 60s. Life is! And is it ever! This joy and exuberance sharply contrasts with the unemotional buddhist nirvana that life simply is. Life is all a round but ultimately a small insignificant barely noticable point. Life is nothing but a speck in the great expanse of the universe. Sure it is true, but it is a concept dreadfully hard to grasp, even if their are other dots just like us. Ending where we began growing from a spot to a large number stretching through space (!) even to the mark or super ability (the incredibles) to a question of if that is really true. Conveying the ideas of listening to each other and the world around. Marveling at the complexity of life and the world around us but being humble enough in our dot. From dots to dots, from the big Bang ! to making but a whimper. Life is a cycle, a cycle that runs the whole gamut of emotion and expression. And so perhaps the point we should make is to punctuate it with all three Life is.?!. But lest us forget, let us also consider that life is, there might yet be even better things to come....

Life is

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