We Are All One

Approx­i­mate­ly 4.5 bil­lion years ago, life emerged on Earth. Sin­gle cells begat sin­gle cells, evo­lu­tion cre­at­ing a vari­ety of bac­te­ria and oth­er micro­bial organisms.

Over time, mul­ti­cel­lu­lar organ­isms showed up, and to make a very long sto­ry short, even­tu­al­ly (rather recent­ly), mankind as we know it today emerged.

It hum­bles me to think about this chain of events. There’s no “if this is true…” here either; evo­lu­tion is as much fact as it is the­o­ry.

What the his­to­ry of life shows us, though, is that, in a sense, we are all relat­ed. And by “we,” I do not mean “all of human­i­ty”; rather, I mean “all life on Earth.”

It’s eas­i­er to think of this rela­tion­ship just in those beings which are clos­est to us genet­i­cal­ly: fam­i­ly, oth­er humans, and then per­haps oth­er pri­mates such as gorillas.

Our fam­i­ly tree, how­ev­er, includes far more than pri­mates. We can keep fol­low­ing the branch­es up, and in doing so we’ll find we are relat­ed — how­ev­er genet­i­cal­ly dif­fer­ent we may be — to fish, fun­gi, fowl, and flora.

All life, no mat­ter what shape it takes, is fam­i­ly. I like to think of a meta­phys­i­cal life spark which we all share, a spark which has been passed onto all off­spring, start­ing with that pri­mor­dial microbe which start­ed it all.

This com­mon­al­i­ty of life should make us take stock: our lives are no more “spe­cial” from an objec­tive stand­point than the lives of any oth­er organ­isms, yet we are the only organ­isms which know­ing­ly and will­ful­ly break free of the nat­ur­al order by way of indus­try and economics.

How are we impact­ing the life around us? Are we allow­ing life to thrive so that in the future, new and excit­ing organ­isms which we can’t even imag­ine may evolve and fas­ci­nate what­ev­er form “human­i­ty” is tak­ing then?

My first child is due in five months… Anoth­er link in a chain of life which is tru­ly ancient. Life is amaz­ing. Persistent.

Amaz­ing.

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Rick Beckman