Formed by Nature to Change
A cell, the basic biological unit of life, is a substance continuously in flux, teeming with unfathomable movement. During cell differentiation, the process wherein simpler cells become specialized cell types, each individual cell executes a complex choreography of gene alterations drawing from a broad suite of signals from neighboring cells and with each differentiation, of which there are a multitude, studies indicate a high cell-to-cell variation.This maelstromic system persists throughout the life cycle of all multicellular organisms. Change, it seems, is the only constant. And, as any late-night collegiate dormitory denizen will testify once the bong chambers are cleared: As the microcosm the macrocosm, man.
The constant state of change at the lowest level of existence is reflected — amplified even — at the human level. This is Tolstoy’s thesis today as he riffs on the fickle freneticism of our moral, social and political thinking. Our changing conception of the good, Tolstoy argues, refuses settlement. Each generation produces new understandings as the sweep of history rages along with the order, comprehensibility and structure of The Ornette Coleman Double Quartet’s Free Jazz.
The same can be said of our personal lives. Think back onto your own life and how often your ideas about things have changed. Meditate frequently on this impermanence and what it means.
Consider that before long you will be nobody and nowhere, nor will any of the things exist that you now see, nor any of those who are now living. For all things are formed by nature to change and be turned and to perish in order that other things in continuous succession may exist.
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations