Saturday, 9 April 2011

In the beginning ...

I look at the picture below and marvel - at Life.  Life that is approximately 3 billion - yes, BILLION - years old.  I see them as my ancestors - ancestors that are still with us (in Western Australia, to be precise) ... and stories about an Abrahamic god fashioning us out of clay seem childish, if not plain ridiculous.  I have no need for these stories in Genesis or the Quran, of Adam and Eve, or of gods moulding, shaping, belching, farting or excreting the world.  


I look at the picture and I see something sacred, something deserving of reverence and awe.  If I were to go on pilgrimage, it would be to here and not Jerusalem or Mecca or Varanasi; if I were to bow my head, again it would to these beings - not to Mecca or some idol.  For these stromatolites* remind me, like nothing in the Abrahamic texts can ever hope to, of the miracle of life, of my being here, typing these words - and that I am not a lone product, but one amongst many; and that other people too are a result of that same process, that same miracle.  

I look at the picture and can almost sense the stromatolites 'looking' out at the world with all its war, poverty , pollution and hate, and wondering: was it for this that we emerged and rose all those years ago?

So, let us pause from all our hate and haste - and reflect instead on our shared origins, on being alive and how it all might never have happened.  Let us value each moment and not waste it in vain prejudice or petty squabbling.  We might never have existed at all and we will not come this way again.  None of us.  Ever.  


* stromatolite

"A rounded, multilayered, structure, up to about 1 meter across, formed by microbial mats in which a rock-like layer of either sand or precipitated minerals is also present. stromatolites constitute our earliest and most pervasive direct record of life on Earth and have been found in rocks dating back at least 2.8 billion years. Although many stromatolites are fossils, there are a number of locations on the modern-day Earth where stromatolites are still forming, as shown in the illustration." (ibid)


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