Reading the walls in bathroom stalls has always been a sacred routine for me. But recently I read a quote on a stall that offended me: “If we were made to stand still we would have roots instead of legs”.
This bothers me, because as an aspiring botanist and ecologist, I have enormous respect for all life. To say that a plant stands still is, in my opinion, quite a narrow-minded outlook.
My imagination has led me to a belief system that is beautiful, and that everyone (I think) can take something from. And it stems (no pun intended) from thinking about the life cycle of living things- particularly plants (being a wannabe-botanist and all).
From what I’ve learned in my various biological courses, it seems to me that plants are not altogether unlike people, at least in terms of reproduction. Check this out:
I don’t really feel like explaining exactly what these diagrams depict, but you can kind of just look and see that there’s quite a bit of similarity between them, right? If you want to understand them a little bit better, you can find explanations here.
Most plant species today reproduce sexually. They have male and female parts, and although their mechanisms for exchanging genetic information are very different than ours (pollination versus copulation), the outcome is still basically the same: creating new, unique life out of two parent organisms.
But the fact that plant reproduction shares some similarity to humans isn’t really the point (even though I did want to stick it to the writer of that message on the bathroom stall). Even if a plant doesn’t reproduce sexually, asexual reproduction in plants still leads to more plants, although with major limitations (travels less distance and there’s no variation – both bad news, evolutionarily speaking).
With plants, it’s very easy to see that seeds/spores/clones are, in a way, simply extensions of the parent plants. Who’s to say that the seed/spore/clone that comes off a mother plant isn’t actually just a continuation of parent plants?
The point is that the way we define individual lives is just that… a definition.
And if that’s true for a plant, then who’s to say that a child isn’t just a continuation of their parents?
And when you start to think like that, your mind thinks back and back and back to the shared common ancestors we all have to the original bacteria that scientists think existed originally. We all started out from stardust. So aren’t we all, in some way, part of the same, original life form?
When I start to think think like this, I start feeling less like an individual life-form, and more like an extension of all life that predates me.
I think about energy, and the recycling of all matter, and it seems that we truly are all just so intrinsically connected in so many basic ways. When we decompose, our molecules feed so many plants and insects, whom in turn end up feeding us (through the circle of life—obligatory Lion King reference goes here*).
It’s easy to think of this plant next to me as a separate entity, because it looks and feels separate. But consider the gases that we, as humans, exchange with plants. I’ve heard that the air we breathe could have been breathed by someone a millennia ago. Or maybe I’m breathing the air that someone in China breathed 6 years ago.
It all just feels so connected when you think about it this way.
I belief in life, and energy. I believe in feeling compassion and care for all beings who hold life. I believe these are lessons to be taught.
I hope I changed your day. =)
It's the Circle of Life And it moves us all Through despair and hope Through faith and love Till we find our place On the path unwinding In the Circle The Circle of Life