Life Doesn’t Find a Way

Small flowers and moss grow from the cracks in a concrete stairway near my house. The stairway isn’t used anymore—the door at the top is boarded—and the plants grow larger every year.

It’s tempting to view their continued survival as evidence that “life finds a way”—that with or without human support, life on Earth will, in the long run, be alright. At a certain far-removed and frankly meaningless level, that may be true. But it’s also true that every creature in the world is an outlier. Eons of unthinking, unyielding, ruthless evolutionary pressure shaped the biodiversity we enjoy today. Our life—all life—is testament to both our own good luck and the quiet misfortune of uncountable losers and might-have-beens.

When we learn that worms survive in deep-sea trenches, or that millions of bacteria swim in the clouds, the lesson isn’t that life finds a way. The lesson is that life, like all rare things, demands our protection.

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2 Comments

  1. We came to be through no genius of our own and will most likely exit the same. Our impact on the course of history will be invisible due to our infinitesimally small timespan. It seems we are melancholy because the “life” we know will fade. But life, as it were, will continue its uncharted course, unimpeded by our influence. Our lives may indeed be rare, but are they precious? All survival comes at the expense of another. While we may play favorites, it seems apparent that the universe will extend no grace to us or any other “life”.

  2. Amen to that, good man x

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