Animal = Oxygen Pump

Here’s a weird story:
Once there was a giant ball of stardust. A crust formed over its molten iron core.

Some stuff started happening on that crust. The elements were just right for interesting combinations of molecules. They started to move on their own, looking for other molecules to bind to, absorb, or use (like tools).

A long time later, all of those molecules had created a ton of gas that had filled the vacuum around the ball of molten iron. An interaction with solar energy made a thin film at the top of the gas, which held it in place.

When there was enough of that gas to seem useful, a combination of molecules formed that used this gas to pump energy into itself. They began “using” that gas as a “tool.”

This strategy turned out to be a good one. It made a lot more energy a lot more quickly. The new combo was faster, more able…it began to replicate. It began to grow, morph, adapt to new environments.

Within it still carried The Old Way. The non-gas way.

Here’s Another Story
First there were the Stone Giants. They ruled the earth.

Then the gods came down from Heaven (maybe on a chariot of sunlight, or a lightning bolt), and conquered those stone giants.

When they fought, the stone giants splintered apart, and part of them embedded itself in the gods. It could not be removed.

Or How About This One (my favorite)…
When people are native to a place, they have literally sprung up from the earth in that place.

We call them, Autochthonous.

Judaic Version
“By the sweat of your brow
you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
since from it you were taken;
for dust you are
and to dust you will return.”
(Genesis 3:19)

The Point
All of these stories tell the same tale – that humans come from stardust first, and dirt, second…and that the mechanics of “dirt” still occupy the core of our being. (Did I forget to mention that the center of the heme molecule is an atom of iron?).

In exercise physiology we rely heavily on these stories. The “Old Way” is the anaerobic way. The first way of “life” on this planet. The “New Way” is aerobic – more efficient. But we rely heavily on the anaerobic way (those of us who do things…). An “animal” is simply an oxygen pump.

Why is it important?

Because ultimately the distinction we make between “organic” matter and “inorganic” matter is arbitrary.

It can be a useful distinction, but only as long as remain aware that it is an arbitrary one.

This may be the last prejudice that the human animal will have to overcome, because it’s a hard one – there is no difference between an “animal” and “inorganic” material.

The difference is one that we’ve ascribed ourselves. So of course it puts us in a “higher” position. But does a stone “use” water to degrade itself and leach its components into the soil, enriching the soil, which is then taken up by a plant that incorporates those elements, which in turn is eaten by an animal which incorporates those elements, which in turn dies and degrades, and is reincorporated by the stone (whose “blood” is called “time” and whose “movement” is called “pressure”)?

Does it do that?

Reminds me of a song:

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The Bible is Right on One Count – Man Is Caretaker of the Earth…

“Then the LORD God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to Cultivate it and Guard it” (“to tend and care for it” – The Living Bible2) – Genesis 2:15

Yes, that’s what the Bible says. But where are the Christians guarding the earth? It’s the rare individual, regardless of religious belief, who guards the earth these days…

“So God created human beings, making them to be like himself. He created them male and female, blessed them, and said, ‘Have many children, so that your descendants will live all over the earth and bring it under their control. I am putting you in charge of the fish, the birds, and all the wild animals.’” – Genesis 1:27,28

And why is this so?

“You were made from soil, and you will become soil again.” – Genesis 3:17-19

Yes, we are autochthonous…we are geological processes.

But what culture spawned such writings?

The ancient Israelites (3100 BC) were a highland-agrarian culture. They were farmers and shepherds. So these stories were written about them (not by them).

The Personal Epiphany
Watering the tomatoes in my garden over the past (hot and sunny, no rain) week, I was struck at one point by the fact that those plants depended entirely on me for their life.

If I had not watered them during that time, they would have withered and died.

I didn’t even consider the chickens…same situation there.

When you work the land for your sustenance, you begin to have a very powerful sense of responsibility toward it. You understand your dependence on the land (and the other animals in the land) and its/their dependence on you (if not as caretaker…as eventual soil).

The cycle of life and death ceases to be “the Mystery.” Truly ancient agrarian/shepherd cultures don’t have ecstatic cults or concepts of “enlightenment” or “heaven” as some sort of escape from being immersed in the present moment.

Neither do they have any attachment to “full engagement” in the present moment.

They live it. No need to philosophize about the experience.

It’s like getting into a detailed discussion about breathing…how many alveoli are working? what’s your VO2 Max?…when there’s work to be done.

And there is work to be done for those peoples.

Civilization
Once you get some things in place, some structures, and start funneling activity through those structures, you get…”time off.”

No work to be done? What do we do?

Somebody is bound to overdose on something. Somebody is bound to try to figure out how long they can stare at their navel.

The rest of the monkeys who may not be so hyper-motivated lounge around and tell lewd jokes and fart.

The farmers continue to tend to be “salt of the earth” types…with their “homespun traditions.”

But as society develops, and the separation of activities becomes greater and greater (with leisure becoming an “activity” in its own right), the wisdom that comes from a directly-dependent connection with the land gets filtered out into lame “universal truths” and catch-phrases.

Till the Apocalypse, That Is
It’s another myth from people with nothing better to do…Apocalypse.

“Oh the Apocalypse is near!”
“Oh the Apocalypse will make everything better!”
“Oh let’s have the Apocalypse over for dinner tonight!”

Bored yet?

So many boring myths birthed from the boredom of civilization…

Just The Facts
Get involved in farming – even if it’s a “victory garden.”

Learn – really learn, by experience – what it means to take care of the earth. And it will take care of you.

As true as ever…

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