Do you know the phrase “change is the essence of life?”
It is often used to encourage people to accept changes that happened in their lives – or to solicit changes.
But is this phrase true after all?
(Questioning what we assume to be true is the basic method of getting free from your programs.)
In searching for an answer I came up with the following thought experiment.
Imagine a tree with leaves. You pick a leaf from the tree and put it on a desk. After some time, the leaf on the desk is brown and dry. It has wilted. All leaves on the tree, the wilted leaf’s siblings so to say, are still green and vivid.
Wilting is a change. The leaf’s cellular integrity breaks down, which leads to the leaf falling apart. Another word for this is decay.
Decay is a change. But it is a change that opposes life. Therefore, change can’t be the essence of life.
Nevertheless, this thought experiment can help us find the essence of life.
Why do the leaves on the tree not wilt?
There must be processes in the tree that prevent their wilting/decay. By picking the leaf we disconnected it from these life-sustaining processes.
This is true for everything that lives. A piece of meat (flesh that was separated from a living animal) decays within hours. Flesh that is part of a living animal can be more than 100 years old, as evidenced by giant turtles and humans.
Life performs decay prevention.
How does it do it?
For an answer we need to understand the principle of decay.
Decay is a change in which something becomes less complex. A leaf wilts. A piece of meat rots. It may take a long time, but eventually a stone decompose into fine sand. Even stars decay. Once a star has reached a certain complexity, it collapses into a white dwarf, a neutron star, or a black hole.
Since decay is a decrease of complexity, its prevention requires the opposite, namely an increase of complexity. An apt word for such a change is ‘growth.’
This suggests the following perspective:
All things decay. Some things also grow. And if growth is strong enough so that it at least balances decay, the result is decay prevention. This is what we call ‘life.’ Life grows in order to fight decay.
The word ‘life’ originates from the Proto-Indoeuropean root *leip-, which means “to stick, adhere.”
(A more detailed analysis of life is in my book “Consciousness: It’s Nature, Purpose, and How to Use It.”)
It follows that all life forms inevitably permanently grow. However, growth often is not visible.
If growth is weaker than decay or if it is equally strong, growth is not visible although it exists. You can observe this phenomenon with worldclass athletes and musicians. They train many hours a day just to preserve their skills. The training that grew their skills in the first place later just suffices to keep them on the acquired level. Without training, their skills would weaken/decay.
When life starts, such as when a tree develops new leaves in spring, growth is stronger than decay. When life ends, such as when a tree loses its leaves in fall, growth is weaker than decay.
It’s the same with us. As children we grow on all levels. Our body grows and we grow countless skills such as walking, talking, drawing, writing, etc. When we are old, our body wilts and we lose skills.
Growth is the essence of life. We need to grow to stay alive. If we don’t grow, we wilt.
A conclusion from these considerations is that growth is the most efficient anti-aging remedy – provided it is the proper kind of growth. I will write about the various kinds of growth in a future article.
I will also write about my personal experiences with what happened when I stopped growing properly.