Monday, February 04, 2013

Existence I

While walking in my backyard in Green Cove Springs I came upon a fire-ant mound. It was not very high but the tell-tale brownish granules were in evidence for a four in diameter. A few days later it had grown to a five inch diameter and a little higher. I gave it a slight movement with my toe and immediately reveled hundreds of ants crawling around apparently without purpose. Returning the next day the mound showed no sign of the disturbance I had done. In fact, it was slightly bigger.

Home Depot sells fire-ant killer and, per instructions, I used this to ring the mound with poison. The next day an inspection of the mound revealed no ants. I kicked the mound with my toe and nothing moved. Using my foot, I slid a large portion of the mound over and again nothing moved. All the dirt was inert. I believe there might have been 20,000 ants in the mound and now they are all dead. I had extinguished the life of 20,000 individuals. One day they existed and the next they were no longer in existence.

For ants, existence is easy to come by. The female lays eggs, when they hatch nurse ants take care of them, fully grown the ants belong to a society that takes care of itself. Their life span is relatively short compared to humans.

What is it that happened to that egg to make a new ant? We are able to follow a fertilized egg in it's growing state as it"s cell divides, and more and more cells divide and continue dividing until an ant is formed. But what started that dividing process? Was it life? How is it transmitted to the cell? What is that life force that made an individual ant? Life appears to be easy to start and also easy to stop.

Using chicken eggs we are able to raise chicks to maturity. Once full grown, a chicken is caged and taken to a chicken plant where it is killed, de-feathered, eviscerated, cleaned, processed, packaged and eventually sold for human consumption. Each chicken had existence and lost it. What exactly was lost? Where did it go? Is existence merely chemical: a group of organized chemicals, amino acids getting mixed together and life happens?

The life force that animates chickens, the part that accrues to an egg and leaves when the chicken dies, can it be called a spirit? If it is spirit, where did it come from? Where does it go? We seem to understand the material world with it's growth, atrophy and eventual death. But what about the "soul" that accompanied it? What do we know about that?

Humans are a special life subject because we can think about the whole process of being born and dying while animals cannot. And thinking about the process leads us as to purpose. What is the purpose of life? Why is it all about us and we cannot answer some simple questions about it?

From this I take that we can know the physical world but do not know the spiritual world which is also all around us, perhaps even in us. Stay tuned for Existence II.