What Is Life?

Tuesday 28th November

George Harrison sung this in 1971 – questioning maybe, the absurdities of life, and the meaningless of it all without a Spiritual dimension, which he thought he had discovered with the teachings of the Maharishi.

But for me the broader question is indeed “What is Life?”   I cannot, although not without a youth of preparedness, quite accept that the worship of an almighty creator is enough to answer all (or indeed any of) the questions.  I am indeed incredibly sceptical of the whole idea of an intelligent creator; not that the simple expedient of Natural Selection makes that much sense either – it might describe how, but not why.  Although of course the question which Astro-physicists have so far failed to answer is where did all the stuff in the Universe come from.  All those stars, the gas giants, the burning suns, the planets and the moons – indeed, all that gas, all those rocks, all those elements] the complex molecules, the enormous number of atoms, the electrons and the sub-atomic particles, which are even more elusive.  Where did all this stuff come from?  And why on earth (literally) should they have combined to form chemical compounds capable of developing into life?

And what if life itself?  All this struggle, all these different species eating each other, trying desperately to pass on their dna to the next generation – what exactly is it for?

Or, is it possible that the Universe itself has an organic dimension; that wherever possible atoms will combine to form molecules which may in some way be independent, become life itself?  Maybe it is a force just as powerful in the Universe as magnetism and electricity.  And for what purpose?  But maybe that is the whole problem with all of our questions which we throw into the sky.  As (some would have us believe) rational creatures we assume that there must be a purpose to everything.  Maybe there is absolutely no purpose to the Universe at all, maybe it is all completely accidental.  Maybe life itself is a freak of nature, an accident happening on a single planet, never to be repeated in the billions of years gone and still to come.  Somehow, I don’t think so….though whether we will ever get much closer to answering the question before we too go down the dinosaur way is debateable.