[[ Most recent update: 28 September 2012. ]]
Is ‘ age ‘ an illusion ?
We use numbers, usually whole numbers, to represent age. Barring untimely death, the numbers start at one and progress until 80, or so, when we die. That represents a lifetime.
Here in the U S of A, the standard way to express age seems to be: begin numbering at birth, with birth represented by the number zero. This numbering system produces a step function that climbs from birth to death. This numbering system for tracking age is practical, I suppose, but can our age ever really be zero?
Using this type of numbering for age may provides a good and easily understood way to envision a lifetime, starting with the moment of birth, but consider the sperm and the egg.
Even though neither the sperm nor the egg can develop into a human unless they combine with each other, they are both certainly living things. When did the egg and the sperm actually begin? Is that not a legitimate candidate for the beginning of a human life?
At this point, the beginning of a lifetime becomes a bit fuzzy and difficult to pin down. A biologist and geneticist could enlighten this discussion with explanations of DNA, genes, etc., but these building blocks, too, had beginnings – – leading back to the molecules and atoms from which these things are made.
And . . . where do atoms come from?
No one knows, for sure, the origin of atoms, but there are a number of ideas that have been proposed. One thing we can be certain of is that whatever the source of atoms, Mom (mother nature, that is) did it. I’ll leave further discussion/debate regarding this particular question for the scientists, philosophers, and theologians to sort out.
Whatever the source of atoms from which we are made, it happened a very long time ago.
Which brings me to conclude that we are all as old, and as young, as the cosmos. All of the things we are made of have been here a very long time, and will continue to exist long after our ‘ lifetime’ has come to an end.
The cosmos, of which we are all a part, lives on, and on, and we are a part of the continuum from the beginning to the end. Life, age, and death are just words we use to help us understand what is going on during the glitch we call a lifetime.
Death simply means that the electro-chemical phenomena that happens in the brain stops, and we are reduced to the atoms that make up our bodies.
So, it seems that the physical parts from which we are made, being part of the universe, and will continue into the future forever.
I find that to be a comforting thought.
The photo ? Dancing galaxies, millions of light years distant, seem to be as appropriate as anything else that could be pictured for this subject.