A Matter of Life – Life and Matter

by Anna

The more I learn about the function and basic building blocks of our material body, the more I realise how fragile and yet fascinatingly complex and clever our material body is.

And yet, some functions are so unbelievably fascinating that it is hard to ignore the thought that there must be more to this, that this can’t possibly be “just a coincidence”.

Take a basic human cell for example. We have about 100 trillion cells within our body.  There are more atoms in one human cell than there are visible stars in the sky. Something I had outlined before here. The cell nucleus contains our DNA, our physiological past of a few million years.

A really good animation of “The inner life of a cell”.

Our cells are constantly working to regenerate our body and fuel it with a chemical reaction involving oxygen and glucose. There is a constant exchange of gases going on, diffusion of oxygen and carbon dioxide. As a living organism we are characterised by breathing, eating, elimination, reproduction, growth and movement. Yet there are still some processes that have no rational origin other than the autonomic or involuntary nervous system. Like the sinoatrial node, for example, our natural pace maker. I have written about it before. Feel free to indulge in it here.

When you begin to realise how easily this bodily cage of ours can stop working, we can either go down the route of depression and worry until the end is near, or hope for the best and carry on. Yesterday I read the following interesting facebook update:

“Every night we go to bed, we have no assurance to wake up alive the next morning, but still we set our alarm for tomorrow. That’s hope.”

How true this is. How much we simply trust that our body is going to carry on regardless and hope for a better tomorrow. Most of us don’t give it a second thought how we treat our body. Are we naïve? Is naivety what drives us to carry on living? What do we need to believe in, in order to do this thing we call living on this planet? What are we hoping tomorrow will bring?

And why are we carrying on prolonging this life by all means? What is so special about it that it deserves all our attention, even if it is way after our bodily sell-by date? Today I learned that in cases where someone is declared brain dead, it is possible for the heart to carry on beating for a week or more, providing there is a constant supply of oxygen available. Once again, the sinoatrial node still triggers, despite at a lower rate but consistently. Why? Does it maybe follow a different energetic impulse altogether? One that can not be perceived by the standard human senses?

I sometimes get flashes of being removed from my physical body. This is a weird sensation. But it puts my physical hull into a different perspective. The sense that the essence of who or what I am is not necessarily dependent on the matter that we call life, but merely something likened to a special suit that helps me to wander atop the earth and interact with others on here. Although I may not be quite sure why I chose to do this. Sometimes it can be very hard indeed to come to terms with the limitations of a physical existence in a body consisting of 26 elements of earthly matter.

Some people are absolutely sure that there is absolutely nothing going on anymore after their death. Once again I believe ignorance to be bliss. However, will it give those non-believers the full satisfaction of a life lived to the fullest? I can’t help but wonder what the point is in just one such thing as a single experience of life. My urge to explore these possibilities is driven by a hunger to know and understand, not just the need to believe in more. Such a pity I likely won’t know until I get there myself. But I’m sure life would loose a lot of it’s fascination if we all knew what would happen after.

And they cycle of thought continues 🙂