Lots of things are whizzing around my brain at the moment, all trying to interconnect and make some fabulous pattern, as you might see on a snowflake up close and personal, but instead it feels more like one of those bumper ride cars at the fair, where the idea is to miss rather than to collide, but everyone bumps each other and much mayhem proceeds. So where to start the unravelling tonight?
Microbes. Microbes make up so much of us, that without them we just wouldn’t be. For every human cell , there are about ten times as many microbial cells, mainly bacteria. Spooky. This was revealed to me on a brilliant radio programme http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01rvpkb
Within the programme there were fascinating details about the parallel worlds of colonies of bacteria, fungi,eukaryotes, viruses etc that make up the human microbiome. Our human cells and the microbial cells are symbiotic, they rely on each other to exist. We are playing host to their worlds, in a similar way that the Earth is playing host to us. It is thus scientifically expressed how interdependent the living organism of the universe is. We are beginning to shed yet more light on explaining the connections that tie us to the air, to the earth, to the fabric of existence.
Since man started to use language , we have tried to explain life, it’s abundance, it’s range, it’s mechanisms. We have used our senses to feel the interconnectedness, and our intellectual capacities to express it through art, music , language, dance. The sense of ‘individual self’ has been questioned by religions, philosophies and poets since the dawn of language; now science is illuminating how erroneous a rigid sense of individual ‘self’ is. O f course we live our individual lives within a sense of a body separate to other physical entities, but separate is different from being in isolation from. John Donne’s poem ‘ No man is an island’ comes to mind, as does the Buddhist understanding that we are all One.
Perhaps this exciting development in studying the human microbiome will lead us to develop further understanding into our place in the universe, no longer the pinnacle of evolution, master of all we survey. Perhaps we can start acting more like guests at the party, remembering our manners.
Walt Whitman says it here, in the spirit of others before and after him.