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a couple of random thoughts and pictures

I heard a quote last week from Lynn Margulis, of Gaia Theory fame: "Life is matter that chooses." My immediate reaction was that I liked it ... but then I started having doubts. It's appealing, but what does "choose" mean? If a single-celled organism moves toward light or engulfs a food particle or away from a predator, is that a choice? In what sense is it a choice? How is it different from a shadow's movement across the ground in response to the movement of the sun earth around the sun? For that matter, how is it different from the earth's own movement, or the sun's? Or if those things are too physical, then how is the single-celled organism's action more choice-y than a chemical reaction like rust forming on metal?

Maybe I'm too pedestrian a thinker in this case, but to me choice involves weighing alternatives, and while some things that are alive do weigh alternatives, I think it's a stretch to say all living things do, so I don't think this formulation really can be used to define life.

Completely unrelatedly, it hit me at 5:45 this morning that there's a good reason that various flavors of Christianity (maybe all of them?) tell people to imitate Jesus and not God, and it has entirely to do with the fact that on the face of things Jesus was just a person walking around doing person things--despite the central tenet of the faith that emphatically says we have to erase the "just" from the previous clause. You could say imitate the Dalai Lama or Nelson Mandela or Greta Thunberg or anyone else who's admired, and the effect is the same--you're picking a fellow human who's setting a good example for you in some way. But if you decide to imitate God/a divinity, then you and those around you are in for a world of trouble. (I mean, possibly you'll/they'll be in for that anyway, depending on the human you decide to choose as your model, but it's a guarantee if you take it into your head to imitate a deity.)

Last, a couple of pictures. I probably (most assuredly) won't do all of Inktober, but here's Day 1: "ring"



And here is some pointful stencil graffiti from Keene, NH, where we were this past weekend because Wakanomori was running a marathon



This entry was originally posted at https://asakiyume.dreamwidth.org/918851.html. Comments are welcome at either location.

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