We may never fathom the mysterious etiology of that vital spark which spontaneously makes its appearance in the fetus and then proceeds to supply the vital energy for the phenomenon which we call “life.”
Are we, reductively, merely magnificent appliances, powered by an electric-like current, coursing through our synapses and connections, overseen by a central station (the brain), with the assistance of other secondary electrical grids, strategically located throughout the anatomy?
Sight, as we know, consists of the transmittal of images by light, reflected on the retina and then transmitted by means of specialized synapses, for identification by the brain. Hearing is understood to be vibrations perceived by our auditory equipment and transmitted, by means of connecting lines, to that same magnificent and interpretive organ. The same may be said of all of the remaining senses, tactual, gustatory and olfactory. But what is the intrinsic dynamic which communicates our respective sense impressions to the brain for interpretation? Will we ever comprehend the dynamics of the brain, itself, beyond our present ability to map the areas of its specialized uses?
Consider the full spectrum our life experiences and our consequent emotions; are they not examples of sensatory perceptions transmitted to the brain which, somehow, instructs such reactions? Is not this identical dynamic applicable to all of our feelings of sentiment (love, hate, fear) as well as the source of our learning, problem solving and, as well, our own self- made image.
Such an all-encompassing feature of life is truly a mystery. There have been attempts at explanation of the phenomenon of such energy from biologists, anthropologists and neuroscientists which are partly explanatory, but upon thoughtful analysis are not definitive. Religionists, avoid all such puzzling issues by their comfortable relegation of such questions to an omniscient, creative and determinative deity.
Recent advances in medical science have accomplished wonders in the preservation of such (illusive) energy from specifically known threats; these important advances however, may be seen, metaphorically, as restoring a campfire from its glowing embers. In the matter of the bonfire, while physical and chemical explanations of the phenomenon are readily available, this is certainly not the case in the matter of man’s electric-like vitality and its operative property of dedicated transmission.
In the mathematic discipline of geometry, one is presented with a fixed state of facts, known as “the given” from which factual proposal, in accordance with the “game” authored by Euclid, one is to logically proceed by mathematical deduction to the desired conclusion (QED).
In our lives, we are born into, and become an identifiable part, of a “given” setting, in the presentation of a life situation; specific facts, analogous to the proposition of a geometrical theorem. Our introduction to such an identifiable context and setting become, as a natural matter, the ingredients of our reality (our “given). Such facts, consisting of home and family personalities at once develop into our understanding, assumptions and definition of our individualized reality, as well as the starting point from which we perceive our community and the outside world.
While we are unable to satisfactorily account for the rational explanation or understanding of the nature of the vital spark that maintains life functions and life itself, we do know by experience, that when the spark dims and then goes dark within a person closely relationship to us, we are presented with an irreparable, painful and disorienting “given” and an entirely new geometry.
*In Loving Memoriam to Helen C.