The factors that make life on Earth possible came together so beautifully, even materialists have trouble knowing why we are here. Nobody knows how a mixture of lifeless chemicals spontaneously organised themselves into the first living cell.
It may have been a straightforward sequence of unexceptional chemical processes, or a bizarre accident.
The first cells formed within a primordial soup of complex, carbon-rich chemical compounds needed particular ions from the soup in order to perform basic functions. Prediction, random, chance, coincidance, luck or may we say bad luck.
Evolution is not predictable, and randomness is the key to how things change. It is not the same as saying life evolves by chance. While the cause of evolution is random (mutations in our genes) the processes of evolution (selection) is not.
It is like playing poker – the hand you receive is random, but the odds of you winning with it are not. And like poker, it is about much more than just what you are dealt. Your and your friend’s ability to bluff you in your poker game.
So while evolution is not random, it is a game of chance, and given how many species go extinct, it is one where the house almost always wins.
To sense interconnection requires a cognitive shift, as well as a movement, an opening or expansion of the heart. You perceive things at face value, you see only what is immediately in front of you, and so you often miss the deeper weave of connection. This is particularly true when you consider the ecological impact of your actions and choices.
In this contemplation, consider simple everyday activities in your life: driving your car, taking baths, playing golf, flying for work, eating exotic food in restaurants, buying produce from other countries. Then reflect on all the causes and consequences of such simple actions. With each activity, think about all the impacts they have, including resources, other creatures, and the planet.
Everything is connected. Every action has a consequence. Everything we do affects others and the Earth and its limited resources. Awareness of those connections will help you to not take them for granted.
This reflection is not meant to foster judgment or guilt. Not every connection or impact is negative. But each action you take is woven into an interconnected tapestry that literally includes every being on the Earth.
Environmentalists remind us that if everyone lived at the same standard of living as North Americans, we would need several planets to handle the demand for resources.
In this contemplation, as you reflect on this, notice what arises in your heart and mind, and throughout your day, continue to consider how the ways you act and live affect the welfare of all life, including your own.