Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Seven Mysteries of Life

from the diary: “Thursday 6/5/86

“Am reading The Seven Mysteries of Life by Guy Murchie. Engrossing but long.”

6/12/86: “Still reading The Seven Mysteries of Life.”

6/13/86: “Finished 7 Mysteries. Liked it. Synthesis book.”

OK. What do I remember about this book? I don’t remember much about this book. Had something to do with science … Helpfully, there are reviews on the net.

At Amazon Bugs Patrick helps out with “the *seven mysteries*: Abstraction, Interrelation, Omnipresence, Polarity, Transcendence, Germination, and Divinity.”

P. K. Paraskevopoulos says, “Firstly, you are led to realise that your concept of life is too narrow and prevents you from realising that life pervades everything - from particles and atoms to complex organisms - and that the Earth itself is a complex live organism. Then you see that all life is interrelated. For example, you realise that the most distant relationship among people is, approximately, 50th cousinhood, which means that all people are related and gives a new meaning to concept of `the brotherhood of man'.”

Another reviewer says, among the other explanations is “how sand is deposited on beaches.” Huh. I wonder if it’s from Guy Murchie I got the beach formation idea, rather than The Blue Planet. Twenty years on it’s hard to tease out where I picked up one thing or another.

At Piero Scaruffi has a more thorough overview. Among the things Scaruffi picks out (and I remember some of this) is this bit about the non-inertness of nonliving things, “Life is inherent in nature. Murchie describes sand dunes, glaciers, fires, etc as living organisms, the life of metals and crystals. The question is not whether there is life outside our planet, but whether it is possible to have ‘nonlife’. … The laws of Physics describe the social life of particles. Electrons obey social laws that we decided are physical laws instead of biological laws thereby granting their behavior a different status from the behavior of bees. But this is an arbitrary decision. Mind is a universal aspect of life and energy.”

I do remember being asked about it while I was reading it. Have you ever tried to describe to someone a third person’s argument and having the person to whom you are describing start to protest, to pick holes, to disagree? This was one of those books that taught me not to try. No way could I do justice to Murchie’s ideas. I didn’t want to be put in the position of advocating for them, but I did like thinking about them. After much frustration I learned to say, “If you want to know, read it yourself.”

I’m now reading through the diary that covers 6/6/86 thru 10/14/86.

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