Many / One

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Compiled by JoAnn Kite

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Seven Mysteries of Life, An Exploration in Science and Philosophy
Guy Murchie

1 "Each time you inhale you are drawing into yourself an average of about one atom from each of the breaths contained in the whole sky."

2 "In fact, no human being (of any race) can be less closely related to any other human than approximately fiftieth cousin, and most of us are a lot closer."

3 "I feel sure in my bones there is no such thing as absolute evil, for evil is in essence only a dearth of good, a deficiency from certain viewpoints, a negative quality, a relative value....….Some might say a completely white page is purer and more perfect than one with many black marks upon it. But of course a pure page is also a blank page and worthless because it conveys no meaning."

4 “Interrelatedness is a measurable fact among all members of a species (including humanity in all its races) and, on deeper investigation, turns out to apply as well to whole kingdoms of creatures, not to mention the interrelations between kingdom and kingdom, or even between world and world, without end.”

5 "The profound fact of oneness not only on Earth but in all creation is becoming more and more evident as knowledge expands outward, and nowhere are to be found any absolute boundary lines or uncrossable barriers between any kingdoms of life. Not even between life and nonlife, nor between body and mind and spirit."

6 "The human soul thrives on a challenge or a problem and, once it is stretched by struggling with any sort of adversity, it can never shrink all the way back to its original dimensions."

7 "The human body (is) a miniature replica of the earth's surface. For it resembles our outer planet remarkably, being composed of the same elements in the same proportion: three quarters water and one quarter solids, both organic and inorganic, with swift internal flows, occasional eruptions and gentle daily tides. And there is a corresponding similarity between the atom and the solar system, where the sun represents the proton and the planets the electrons that orbit around it. Such preponderant structures notably demonstrate how material forms are ordered in regular and meaningful ways by nonmaterial abstractions, such as symmetry and conceptual archetypes. This applies to everything from crystals to supergalaxies, all of which in essence may be considered alive."

8 "The fact of universal relatedness has been curiously anticipated by philosophers for millenniums. Anaximander of Miletos in ancient Greece, for one, is said to have taught that 'the primary substance of the world is infinite, eternal and all encompassing.' Two thousand years later Bruno went further in writing that 'all reality is one in substance, one in cause, one in origin…and every particle of reality is composed inseparably of the physical and the psychic. The object of philosophy, therefore,…is to rise to that highest knowledge of the universal unity which is the intellectual equivalent of the love of God.'"

9 "It is only the pattern with its message that proves really vital to life. On the ocean one could make the analogy that it is not the saltwater but the abstract energy that shapes and powers the wave. Likewise it is not the atoms in DNA but their geometric relation that makes the gene."

10 "The field is part of the cow who grazes in it because she literally exchanges matter with the field almost continuously, not to mention breathing the sky and participating ultimately in the entire universe. Obviously this is something of a real-life rendition of Shakespeare's transcendent boast that 'I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space…' And in the memory of history it is an ecological version of ancient animism, a late form of which centered on the Pythagorean doctrine that the world itself has a soul, which was bequeathed to the Romans as 'anima mundi' and revered by the Hindus as Atman. I have a feeling there is also evidence here that life is temporally symmetrical: if it has no beginning, it can have no end. And if it occupies any point in space, it must fill the universe."

11 "Earth is a metabolizing superorganism who maintains her temperature, humidity and other characteristics within viable limits despite much greater changes in her celestial environment."

12 "All such parts (of living organisms), right down to the level of single electrons, must be looked upon as potentially, if not intrinsically, alive and almost inevitably serving in their respective ranks as vital units of the sublimely hierarchical structure of the living body-mind."

13 "Who can say, when one cherishes a rose, how little or much the rose may cherish in return?"

This body of quotes compiled by JoAnn Kite