Intimate Matters

Tuesday, May 17, 2011 5:27 PM

Who would have thought that our digestive tract would provide us with incontestable evidence of immortality: the endless continuance of every tiny part of us for ever and ever?   The same is true of what happens when we die, as if that was the end of us!  Of course there are those who want to live as they are for eternity – the rich and famous; but they would soon get tired of it or we would of them! But the continuance of all our parts in the everlasting soup of existence is far better.  

For consider:  every atom is energy, and each of our trillions of atoms is always on the move going somewhere.   Take the atoms of breakfast, for example.  Pancakes and eggs, coffee and cereal come in, join up inside us, stay awhile then depart in the usual ways (including our breath).  At what we call death, they all depart, body and breakfast,  becoming food for others, plants or animals, not forgetting humans.

And where did all those atoms come from?  Nearly all have been on our planet or part of our planet since it came from the sun or the galaxy, and before that they were in the big bang. During the long time since, they have traveled millions of kilometers in millions of directions by way of plants, flowers, insects, rain, clouds and humans.  Consider the number of atoms in a single finger: trillions of them, once in the stars.   

So also with the floor beneath,  the ceiling above and the walls  - all their atoms were once not in the floor, the ceiling and the walls, but inside rocks, or trees, the oceans or simply the air.

If we don’t have time to consider all this, we lose out, we miss noticing the very immortality that surrounds us on all sides wherever we are.  Religions, for example, with their obsession for rewards and punishments are too lazy to comprehend even the simple truth of our digestive tract, let alone the rest of our bodies!

So no wonder religions are on the way out.  The fanatical absolutists who still believe in some supernatural deity have had their day, failing to notice that the game is over.  Instead, we have the benefits of reason, a  seeming panacea  resurrected during the Enlightenment when the discoveries of the ancients were restored to their rightful place. 

That was when the ‘scientific method’ came into its own.

Not that reason alone can provide all the answers.  There is much we still don’t know and much else that we can consider only probable.  But the rules we have set ourselves and the ‘laws’ or ways by which nature functions have revealed a curiously unexpected simplicity in things.  What we long took for miracles (such as the answer to how humans got here or why the weather changes) have been   reduced to simple equations – if this then that; what works survives, what doesn’t work perishes – part of

another lesson that religion failed to teach us.  

Instead of fancies we have facts of life that are incontestable and far more reliable than any preacher’s say so, our digestive system among them. Our deaths too - all our parts dissipate; they ‘disappear’ not to some eternal domain beyond the clouds but to be shared and incorporated into everything around.  

Remember it’s all and only energy.  It was the ancient philosopher Thales who seems to have been the first to say that every thing is formed from a single substance.  He thought it must be water- a prescient idea far closer to the truth than Adam and Eve.   (Those two have forever been embarrassed by the truths of their bodily functions and the real nature of things around them.)


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