The Scale Of Life

Burgess Shale

Burgess Shale, Yoho National Park

Some readers may be wondering why I am writing all these posts about the Burgess Shale and the dawn of life. (Link to earlier posts.) What does this have do do with liminality and mental health? Shouldn’t I just stick to my topic?

Well, here’s the short answer: Life is the most precious thing we have on Earth.  Physicist Neil Turok put it this way:

The size of the living cell is the geometric mean of these two fundamental lengths: Planck [really short] and Hubble [really long].  This is the scale of life, the realm we inhabit, and is the scale of maximum complexity in the universe.

This is not the typical language of the physicist, and he challenges us to think differently.  Our normal, ingrained patterns of linear thought are simply not adequate.  What is this scale of life? How do I “measure” these beautiful creatures?  And what about me and you?

Let’s keep asking these questions – we’ll all be better off as a result.


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