What comes to mind when you think of the miracle of life? Babies being born from nothing into everything? The interplay between species in a complex web of life? The mystery of the universe itself?
Isn’t the underlying miracle of life existence? Most, if not all, things in life bear meticulous design, inherent action, and interplay between each other, which speaks to a mechanical baseline—a need to be the way they are—and yet no form in life needs to consist of anything in particular for the same basic functions and complex relationships to occur.
Have you ever seen people afflicted by epidermodysplasia verruciformis? This is a skin disorder that makes them look like trees. What about people with congenital hypertrichosis, the so-called “werewolf syndrome?” They do, in fact, have so much hair on their bodies, especially their faces, that they look like a Hollywood depiction of a werewolf. We might say these people suffer from disease, or we might imagine they represent genetic mutations in the species that could, one day, if they catch on, become the future of what humans look like. In either case, we would never say they are not human. They otherwise look and function like “normal” people. So the look of the person does not dictate the behavior.
There are mental illnesses and retardations that one may be born with which do affect behavior, relationships, and being in the world. Nowadays, we tend to look at that and think, ‘Ah. Consciousness is all in the brain.’ We spend so much time and resources studying the brain. But, if we consider the fact that, on the one hand, plants and animals are wildly different in shape, size, and consistency than humans, while on the other hand, we all perform the exact same, or strikingly similar, individual and group behaviors, then we cannot rationally state that behavior is stored in or controlled by the brain, or any other part of the body. And we certainly would not say that mentally impaired people are not people, for their medical anomalies may inhibit their ability to relate to others, but they do not instill in them an ability to behave in ways so foreign as to be alien to us.
There is no reason to believe that expressions of order require specialized forms to exist. They just are. Biodiversity is superfluous where order is concerned. Health of forms is an expression of order and so, although the forms could be anything, once established, they have an orderliness to their existence. Even so, disorder is never something that produces behavior that cannot be understood. Mental retardation, for example, impairs intellectual and adaptive development, but one may easily relate to the afflicted person because such a person still has in them what you have in you. You are not different, but your ability to comprehend and act in the world is greater. They have limitations in thought that you don’t. Conversely, they may be unlimited in heart where you are cut off. The point is, in the eternal game of chicken and egg, the actions of life clearly exist prior to form. Biodiversity, therefore, can look like anything, and be comprised of completely different stuff, yet will promote the same actions. This is precisely why we can relate to each other and plants and animals and insects and everything else.
What is a miracle? It’s an inexplicable event or circumstance, right? It’s a welcome happening that cannot rationally be explained away, which is to say, its existence throws all of our knowledge and assumptions about laws of physics, how things must work, and why, right out the window. The miracle of life, then, is life itself and the aliveness that precedes it.
The miracle is you.