Guest Post: Talia Jimenez on Cells
by Thomas Brett
Today I share with a guest post by my friend Talia Jimenez. Talia is a musicologist who also blogs on exercise (http://myexercisehabit.blogspot.com). Thanks for your post Talia!
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After a beautifully focused yoga workout, our instructor has us lie down in sava or dead pose. His narration guides us through each one of our chakras. He does not refer to this, but I become aware that I am a bunch of cells wrapped around a column of air that functions thanks to its exquisite association with a thread of life energy that is delicately in balance with the life energy of the other bodies lying around me in sava, and possibly with the life energy of all other living things that exist. It may be ironic that, to be best aware of this life energy, I have to play dead. But maybe it is like keeping quiet in order to better hear an interesting sound or like staring at one of those 3-D pictures that finally jump out at you.
A theory of the beginning of life poses that cells began as single entities that then started coming together to form multi-cellular organisms, gradually differentiating according to function and eventually according to species. Is it possible that pre-cellular organic molecules began arranging themselves around delicate threads of life energy, growing and regrouping in order best to give it expression? D. calls this energy “dark energy,” and he believes we can’t sense it at all, because it is such an intrinsic part of what we are.
Rilke’s thoughts are telling: maybe we represent just a second in the gestation of a universe, yet to be born? Our cells coming together, still ancient when compared to the future toward which they are working. “We” have nothing to do with it, we are just entities with a mission we know nothing about.
My six-year-old son asks me, “What was the beginning of life?” I explain to him about the perfect “ocean soup” that allowed organic, lifeless elements to become bound to each other to create what we call life. “Yes, but where did life come from?” I cannot avoid the question myself. There seems to be that one crucial (and missing) ingredient that must have gone into the soup for those first life-life molecule to be formed. (And, by the way, it may not have been a soup, but rather refreshing ice, where the first life forms came about:http://www.isayev.info/cold-start-of-life-ice-as-a-protocellular-medium-for-rna-replication/). I don’t tell my son about the life thread or energy. It still does not contain an answer. “Where did the life thread come from?” he will ask. I don’t know. Nobody knows, or can know. It’s like stick figures on a piece of paper hypothesizing about the 3rd dimension, without ever being able to stick their head out of the page. Maybe they can have stick-figure yoga and have an inkling, a moment of wonderment, or recognition, of what “volume” might mean, that will vanish soon after the session is over and they go about their stick-figure business and write stick-figure blog guest entries about their experience.