What is Life – What is Work?
No consensual agreement defining life has ever been reached since the biological processes that describe life are continually transforming. A virus, on its own, has no capacity for biological processes but when inserted into a host’s cells it can replicate, transform and parallel biological processes. Whether a virus is ‘alive’ is a matter of debate.
Does the fact of being alive ordain life with meaning? A bit difficult to say if we can’t define life. Perhaps best to include inanimate objects and ask – “does existence have meaning”? If the Big Bang started it all, was the Big Bang a chance phenomenon or an intentional process? Mythologist Joseph Campbell concluded that: “Life has no meaning. Each of us has meaning and we bring it to life. It is a waste to be asking the question when you are the answer.”
Evolution through random mutations which favour particular genetic traits has struggled to produce an enduring final product since its estimated that over life’s history 99.9% of all species have died. If humans are the final product, why then are we the ones accelerating extinction rates. There must be something inherently wrong in our decision-making processes - and perhaps a mutation in the wings waiting to be expressed.
(Sept. 10-20th, 2021)
Currently our personal understanding is derived through our sense faculties – which we then juggle with the how’s and why’s of life’s meaning; resulting in political and cultural rules which we weigh against emotional implications, resulting in inconclusive, self-centred opinions.
The feature of the post Big Bang universe is energy, something that drives all the processes of the Universe and in particular the biological processes of life. Work is defined as the transfer of energy so work must be associated with life’s meaning - ask someone without meaningful work.
Hunter-gatherers developed skills through the work they put into the craft of survival with the highest priority given to group cohesion. Violent behaviour was minimised through a system of ‘reverse dominance’ where achievement was painted with humility; the axiom being that food production and cultural advancement is proportional to social cohesion.
As we domesticated animals and developed cultivation techniques, towns grew and work got imprisoned by chains of command. As time went by all manner of work was influenced by the exchange token of money – and henceforth money became the symbol of meaningful living.
Commerce was automated and separated from principles of group cohesion. A situation arose whereby the wealthiest 1% of the world’s population had more than twice the wealth of 90% of the population. Feelings of injustice were voiced with little effect since political and judicial systems were controlled by the 1% who made sure paid work channelled profit and power into their hands.
The current global pandemic, brought on by a debatably live virus, has provided enough disruption and space for rethinking the future direction of self-development and our influence on the biodiversity of ‘Mother Earth’.
· A basic income so you can pursue the work most suited to you;
· A ‘wealth tax’ to address the inequitable control of money moguls;
· A steady state economy, so the money is shared around;
· A recognition of cultural boundaries rather than ridiculous lines on a map;
· Power for environment protection authorities so we can have a clean world free from plastic bags and chemicals;
· Free education – surely, we are only as smart as the things we learn;
· More research – surely, we want to know more about everything;
· Public health education – the obesity question begs ignorance;
· Promotion of non-fossil fuels – as obvious as a dollar sign;
· Organic farming subsidies – no more nutrient deficient, pesticide & weedicide laden foods;
· Investment in the Arts - just because we love them;
· Physical fitness incentives – a walk in the park;
· Sponsorship of sporting clubs because it’s community;
· Communal welfare hubs where we can get together, have fun and sort things out.
· Decentralized finance. Banks don’t care for us, why should we support them?
“People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they’re not on your road doesn’t mean they’ve gotten lost.” – Dalai Lama
“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people just exist.” – Oscar Wilde