Life is precious.
It has always been precious,
it will always be precious.
Life puts atoms together in very interesting ways. One configuration of atoms gives us an ant carrying a leaf many times larger than itself. From another configuration we get an eagle slipping gracefully through the sky. Yet another configuration becomes a person who feels, thinks, and loves.
Without Life, the energy from our sun simply bounces off the planet. Life literally collects the energy Sol sends to earth, and stores it up for future use. Plants take energy from Sol and convert it into denser, more storable forms. The sugars and fats that our bodies burn are little pools of energy that originally came from our sun.
Ants carrying, eagles soaring, people loving … none of these would exist without Life’s awesome capacity for organizing matter.
Life is not perfect. This is obvious to anyone who has experienced cruelty or misfortune. And yet, Life is the only game in town. Without Life the Earth would be just another dead ball of rock.
Nothing needs to change for Life to become “worthy”. It already is worthy. Even if we had more wars, more hunger, and more systemic injustice, Life would still be precious. Always and forever, Life is what it is … and it is worthy of veneration!
The Nature of Life
bursting through boundaries
to flower and spread
creates the conditions for more Life,
in an Upward Spiral of ever-growing possibilities.
It is the nature of Life to flower and spread. During the Devonian 420 million years ago, Life burst out of the sea and took root on land. The adaptive radiation that followed drove an upward spiral of innovation, dramatically increasing the diversity of Life.
Complex Life exists even though our universe is strongly biased toward decay and collapse. Scientists call the tendency for things to run down the “second law of thermodynamics.” Since the beginning of Life on our planet, effectively every organism has died and every species has gone extinct (> 99.9%).
Life is a process that sometimes creates an upward eddy in the downward current of destruction dictated by the second law. Life created the diversity we see today from countless individuals making countless contributions across countless generations.
Arete is a Greek word that means living up to our potential and fulfilling our purpose. When we say “the Arete of Life” we mean the complex whole of Life, including the upward spiral of creation and the myriad deaths and extinctions that give rise to that spiral. We celebrate it all.
Ants carrying, eagles soaring, people loving … none of these would exist without Life’s erratic yet tenacious upward spiral of creation.
SolSeed: The Body of All Life
As you are alive, and I am alive,
and in kinship with all other beings
nourished by Sol,
we are SolSeed,—
the body of all Life.
Groups of people may be organized into bodies. When we regard a number of individuals as a single entity, we refer to the group as a “body”. We have legislative bodies, student bodies, administrative bodies, governing bodies, and religious bodies. Bodies are in some way more than the sum of the individuals. We expect a body of people to generate ideas and think about things in a way that is different from what the individuals working alone would come up with.
Groups of cells may also be organized into bodies. The cells in your body don’t know who you are and don’t care about you. And yet, by each cell doing its own little thing in its own little context, this miraculous thing called you emerges!
Just like our body is composed of cells that each do their own different unique thing, so too there is a body of all life composed of living organisms of which we are a part. This body of all Life has many names. We call it SolSeed. Sol out of gratitude for the star at the center of our system that provides practically all the energy that animates Life on Earth, and Seed to remind us of the tremendous possibilities latent in the complex biosystem Life has created by organizing the gift of energy that comes from Sol.
The Destiny of SolSeed
is to take root and flower amongst the stars —
to give birth to a family of living worlds.
The evolution of Life in our solar system is far from complete. Earth Life is now poised to burst off of our planet and take root amongst the other bodies of our Solar system. The adaptive radiation that follows will again be a period of tremendous innovation for Life. Life will begin to substantially affect the rest of the Solar system. The changes Life will make will create opportunities for even more Life.
Mother Earth and Father Sun are ready to start a family. Instead of our solar system containing a single, lonely living world, there will be a family of hundreds, thousands, and eventually millions of living worlds. Life will have a tremendously enlarged playground over which to diversify.
In the very far future, Solar Life will spread beyond this solar system to take root amongst the stars. As it does so, it may encounter Life from other sources with which to commune. Just think of the possibilities!
As SolSeed’s intelligent spark,
we are called to express the Arete of Life,
we are called to fulfill The Destiny.
Our place in the body of all life is not one of special rights and privileges, but rather one of great purpose and responsibility. In the words of Carl Sagan,
Our obligation to survive and flourish is owed not just to ourselves but also to that Cosmos ancient and vast from which we spring. We are called not just to live – not just to get by – but to create a life that brings honor to all the ancestors who came before us. We are called to create a life that increases the opportunities of the generations that will follow us.
Evolving humanity was expensive. It took eons to develop the biosphere and to deposit vast stores of fossil fuels. In the decades of our infancy we caused the extinction of myriad other species and consumed Life’s densest reserves of concentrated energy. It will take a lot of doing to become worthy of our price.
The extinctions we have caused and the fuels we have burned have purchased an infrastructure that we can use in service to Life. The ultimate expression of Life’s flowering will come when we (the body of all life) transcend the bounds of this planet and firmly take root throughout our solar system and the rest of the galaxy. Humanity has an essential role to play in this ultimate expression of the upward spiral of Life.
Humanity has a use, a role to play, a thing to do.
We who answer this call
dedicate ourselves to Life.
We join together
in a community of practice
to align our actions
with our highest aspirations.
Many of life’s choicest rewards come from being in relationship with others. Our most important relationships gain special potency when they are formed within the context of a larger shared purpose. Regular practice with a community of like-minded individuals keeps us rolling in our chosen direction even when we lack inspiration and are overwhelmed by the concerns of everyday life.
We join together in community in order to bring out the best in ourselves and each other. We fan the flames of enthusiasm to nurture and encourage our beginner selves. We call for a deepening of wisdom to uncover and let shine the greatness in each of us. We direct the fire of passion down the line of practical inquiry that brings with it understanding and faculty. We cultivate habits that train us to instinctively react to even the most difficult situations with responses that align with our highest aspirations.
Simply stated, Life is better when lived together.
Through art and the natural world
we awaken within ourselves and others
the Cosmic Religious Feeling
that ignites wonder,
fosters compassion, and
inspires us to proactively create.
There is a way of experiencing the world that is profoundly different than our usual ego-centric mode. It feels like waking up to the true order of things. The boundary between self and other dissolves as we directly experience the universe as a single significant whole. We feel the futility of grasping after things. In place of our habitual drive to react we find an empty space from which to proactively initiate change.
This cosmic religious feeling is difficult to communicate from person to person. It may be awakened or enlivened through a growing sense of awe or uplifting emotion as we experience beauty, nobility, grandeur, or immensity. These sublime experiences seem to often arise from the contemplation of art, science, and nature. Individual and collective practice keeps us regularly connected to these sources of inspiration.