Monday, June 21, 2010

Notes on the Fragility of Life

Coming Into Being - Lynda Lehmann c 2010

Recent media coverage of the Gulf oil spill has been a reminder of the preciousness of life, now put in jeopardy by corporate greed. Let's not forget that the sea is the BASE of the . Instead of a sparkling, vital and beautiful ocean bursting with
life forms of unimaginable variety and scale, I'm afraid
we may have rendered much of it a lifeless, poisoned, toxic soup. And I'm afraid it may not recover for centuries. If ever...

And how far will the poison spread? Pollution has no boundaries, especially in the fluid dynamism of the sea.

All because our human societies do not promote rational limitations on what both governments and corporations can do. All because we look at the short-term gain instead of considering long term ramifications and a wider view of The Common Good... Because we've gone to the moon but haven't been able to legislate rational limits to the destructive forces unleashed by habits of Consumerism and its untidy extremes: greed and entitlement.

Looking at the tiny, emerging blossom in the photo above, I'm reminded of just how delicate the tender shoots of plants are, how delicate the physical manifestations of each species. All of life on Earth is comprised of delicate cells, tissues, membranes and organs. They are not made of plastic or clay. Each is made up of an orchestrated unfolding and cooperation of trillions of cells. In short, the chain is as strong as its weakest link. So it is with life systems. What the cell cannot withstand, is reflected by orders of magnitude in the health and longevity of the entire organism.

Consider your own cellular structure, protected on the outside by your "integument." Your skin is actually your largest organ. But consider as well, how easily damaged it is, by a burn or abrasion, or worse: caustic chemicals or radiation. So it is with the Earth, comprised of many life forms of wonderful and miraculous diversity. But each organism on our planet is vulnerable, and whole forms of life, which we call "species," have already become extinct. That means that in spite of the fact they they once flourished, they are now gone from the face of our planet forever!

So it is that when we damage whole ecosystems, we damage the integrity of Earth and all her inter-related species. Life is not to be taken for granted. It is not a given. It's made up of a statistically improbable, miraculously coinciding alliance of chemical and mechanical events that generate Life.

The creative force at the center of the universe may be powerful and enduring beyond our comprehension. But the species that populate our precious green planet, are not. And we are one of them.

As Chief Seattle said:


All things are bound together. All things connect......

Man does not weave this web of life. He is merely a strand of it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself."

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