I am always reassured when I see a strong correlation between ostensibly lowly mundane life forms and myself. It shows Mother Nature is no fool; she simplifies her work by using time-tested tools at every level of life — and ‘non life’ as well. I suppose the reassurance I feel arises from seeing examples of my being truly connected to all life being.
Indeed, it is somewhat puzzling why humanity has gone to such lengths to see itself otherwise, like the story of Man created in God’s image. Perhaps having no way to notice the subtle, yet profound, similarities between ‘them’ and us, we turned to myth and imagination, with our species-centric ego giving our myths direction.
Developing tools that allow us to see more, beginning with the telescope and microscope, helps to change all that. This ability to observe how nature works its magic is increasing exponentially as well. The recent article in Science News, On the trail of cell navigation, shows the not-so-mysterious sameness between how the ‘dumb old’ amoeba and I approach life.
Ask yourself what single feature of experience has turned out to be the surest guide to living life in general. I’m not referring to any particular experience, but more about an overall feature of experience. The end of chapter 14 hints at what to look for, The ability to know the beginning of antiquity is called the thread running through the way. The “thread” is what has been a constant throughout your experience — it is subtle!
As you read this short excerpt from the article, see if you notice any similarities between how you and cells navigate through life. Afterward I’ll say what I saw.
Cells seeking paths through the body’s tangle of tissues might adapt the navigational strategy of Hansel and Gretel. In the Brothers Grimm tale, the lost kids dropped pebbles and bread crumbs along a wooded trail to help lead them back out of a freaky forest.
Instead of using markers telling them where to go, though, cells might leave behind repellent molecules telling them where not to go.
In a new study, scientists suggest these markers help trailblazing cells move away from areas where they’ve gotten stuck, such as confusing dead ends and tricky corners.
“I think it’s a really nice idea that cells could be using something like this, a simple mechanism that allows them to navigate through these complex environments,” says biologist Iain Couzin of Princeton University, who was not involved in the study.
When looking over my life (mid 70’s), I’ve found the most dependable way of navigating life has been the same for me as it is for cells. Discovering “where not to go” has turned out to be my best guide of where to go. Discovering what ideas, plans, ‘truths’, goals, etc., are deadends greatly simplify and consolidate life. The learning never ceases. Anything that promises to be an answer or solution comes up a distant second; these are only steps along the way.