Where in this process is there room for the self? Is there any unchanging corporeal form? Clearly, if there were to be a self to be found, it could not be found in the body, in form…
Two atoms come together in a primordial mixture, bonding. Others, almost looking for each other, do the same. The pairs, dancing among each other as if on a ball room floor, eventually seeing the other pairs. Not content with the partner they have, but not wanting to give anything up, the pairs seek each other out, bonding together, together, together. Many such bondings, and large chains form.
Twisting, these chains, now molecules of immense length; the basic programming of life. Desiring more, and more, these chains somehow, as if by magic, seek out still more like themselves. But not themselves. They rip, and they shred, and they tear, as if with great teeth and great maws, eventually rendering asunder others.
The bits left over, beaten, are collected by their malefactor. Reassembled and changed, resembling a new configuration such as the one who beat them down, and just as quickly, now there are two of the same, together.
On and on, over and over, one tiny bit of life destroys another tiny bit, takes it’s component parts and reassembles them to match it’s own component parts, even up and until those lives aren’t tiny bits anymore, but visible, thinking organisms.
Then one being, seeing another being and thinking that it is unlike himself, squashes it, disembowels it, disassembles it, feeds upon it. Inside himself, feeling glad, his stomach and his intestines further disseminate the bits of eaten being. No longer a being but a corpse, no longer a corpse but food.
Ingested, the bits are ripped apart at the molecular level and transported around the being’s body, to the flesh, to the heart, to the brain. Energy, nutrients, and other component bits that are then reassembled in likeness to the being’s own molecular makeup. Bits of one being assimilated, turned into bits of another. New flesh cells, new muscle cells, new fatty cells.
Some of the ingested being isn’t worthy of assimilation, and further, some of the tiniest bits of the victorious, glad being itself are decaying, and are funneled to an end, to be expunged. The foul residue, found undesirable, is left for “lesser” beings to later consume, repeating the process again, and again, and again.
The most gluttonous of beings, the one never fed upon in his entirety but gorging himself upon others continually, eventually dies of his own internal decomposition so that, at last, other beings may feed upon, assimilate, reintegrate, his corporeal form.
And so on and so forth…
Until eventually, even the residue is too undesirable for any being. Then, the atoms, the molecules, absorbed in and of themselves, seek each other out once more, and the whole process continues, without beginning or end.
Without beginning or end…
Without beginning or end…
Put together, take apart, put together, take apart.
We would be hard pressed to find “self” in the machinations of biology or physics… and the Buddha denied that a permanent, unchanging self can be found at all. This particular subject has been an area of thought for me lately as I have attempted to work with mindfulness, particularly when eating or doing other things that are usually busied up with noise and random mindlessness.
Be well, friends. I will write again soon.