10. The Quest

Note: This is the next chapter of a Book release.

Successful organic material continued its conquest. Each time it replicated, this new Order called life faced the Chaos of its random natural environment.  The most fitting copies survived to spread.

It was like March Madness:  DNA vs. the Universe. 

Each time, Order had to conquer chaos, even at the risk of death. [1]  Or our entire existence wouldn’t be.  The Force within that Searched for order had to be greater than the DNA’s own need to survive.  

Love had to be stronger than fear of death.

The pattern continued:  Get your shit together.  Throw yourself out into the world and die conquering.

It’s in our DNA. 

The only other choice we had was, be afraid and die afraid; never take any chances, and life stops there.  

Even for us winners, homeostasis can only last so long; this guy can’t keep his balancing act together forever. 

Keeping that complex dynamic organism alive is like trying to perpetually balance a pencil on its tip. [2]  It grows top-heavy in a chaotic random environment. Cells get damaged and the system comes crashing down to its death.

Keeping the big crash from happening is called “staying safe”, i.e., avoiding death.  There are lots of clever ways organisms can do this from the top down. And yet reality remains that single blood clot can kill an organism, or a man texting while driving drifts into the other lane — and poof.  One tiny mishap at the top, and the whole system kerplunks.  

Avoiding a crash doesn’t guarantee a system to live, either.  The traumatic death of a pencil crash is only one way to die.  The system can also suffer a death from a thousand papercuts — or starve.  This is death from the inside out.

So there would always come the time when each DNA would brave a chaotic, suicidal attempt at propagating life before the pencil fell.  It has no other choice.  It is the Quest that conquers Chaos by turning it into Order.  

Epic.

So every system rolls the dice.  The mandate of life is that we must take a chance against Chaos and wager it all to spawn something new.

Victorious order folds into order, folded into order. Over the long course of history, order continued to win just barely enough that life proliferated everywhere, always kept in balance by the threat of Chaotic death from every side.  Every time order won, it re-gambled all of its winnings by creating another generation of more powerful life.  Like a cosmic game of double-or-nothing, with the winnings piling up.

So this guy dying:

– is a WAY bigger loss than THIS GUY dying:

Over time, Order continued its march, becoming more ordered each generation, in what we now call the Evolution of Biological Complexity.[3]  There’s no such thing as JUST evolution.  There is only CO-evolution, with life battling chaotic forces.  

Order (life) evolved like a fractal, each branch defined by each environment’s unique chaos.

Okay, skip a few billion years. [4]  I’m hungry.  Let’s just say eventually-eventually- eventually, THIS HAPPENED:

The Biological Family Tree, Very Abbreviated Version[5]

There we are on the far right. (Not a political statement)

The whole time, a paradox was happening.

While this Chaos-Order battle of evolution created THAT weird tree-looking-fractal-thingy, it also simultaneously created this upside-down tree: a hierarchy within each one of us:

Each level of order in near-perfect balance, folded into the next to create a giant. Now, 75 trillion cells typing on a computer in a room of a house[6] on a street in a city in a country, all on Momma Earth.   And it’s all bound up in a wonderful state of homeostasis. 

Hi.  That’s me.  75 trillion cells, after coffee.[7]



[1] More than 99% of all species that have ever existed are now extinct.  And that’s just organisms.  Think about how many trial runs of early DNA didn’t make it!

[2] Apparently, about 1.3 seconds.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3vAoJhIWms

[3] Some people still don’t believe in evolution.  If it doesn’t sound right that life could evolve to be more complex, then just look at how much we have evolved since 1950.  Is life more or less complex now?  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution_of_biological_complexity

[4] If you’re wondering about these years, just Google, people.  Already told you.

[5] Why does it look like a brain?  That’s a different book.  

[6] Bonus points if you caught that I’m no longer in my classroom.  Turns out, I move around.  Daily.

[7] Fun fact of Order: if you unwound all the DNA in my body and placed it end to end, it would stretch to the moon and back – 175,000 times.

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