So I’ve been thinking about life a lot recently. Not just life, but other things beginning with L too, like Love, Liberty and of course Lymphoma. (Funny that)
I posted a few weeks back about death, (https://spleniclymphoma.com/2014/03/05/what-happens-when-you-die/) and I felt it was time I looked at the opposite to that, or at least something a little different. I always find it odd that a bundle of varied cells and atoms came together to form the being I call me. Not only the right cells, but exactly the right formative experiences, the right food, and the right circumstances at the right time. These cells and experiences somehow became conscious, self aware and able to learn. A primordial stew making a (sometimes) coherent whole.
I don’t often consider my cells, or internal organs (although maybe more than your average Joe) but they too are miracles, even if one small subset are misbehaving and increasing much faster and more inaccurately than they should. These cells will eventually die in total, but every minute cells are dying and new ones are being created. None of me will be the same on a cellular level as it was seven years ago.
What I also find odd, when I reflect on it, is how humans have gone from being tree dwelling simians, who gather in small family groups, to being a collective culture which has cities numbering ten million in population or more and technology which allows us to go into space as well as see the tiniest building blocks of life and medicine. When you actually stop to think about it, as I did when I stood on the corner yesterday eating a Pret Avocado wrap, it’s pretty crazy. We take it for granted, never really give it the time or consideration it deserves, but we have achieved amazing things, individually and together and continue to do so, despite all of the adversity.
For example, computers. I know people who can make them work (obviously) but I don’t know anyone who can build components for them. Television, an amazing invention, something which we all take for granted and use to watch much more boring shows than wonderful creation we watch them on.
Even something as simple as ordering a coffee is amazing (thanks Pret). I have the time and liberty to go into a shop. I have some money which I have earnt from working, but which also exists so we can trade it for things, based around a whole system of made up numbers we all agree on or else they wouldn’t exist. I give this money to someone whose sole job is to make beverages and who, in this case, had come all the way from Eastern Europe (don’t tell Farage) for the role, upheaving their life to get me coffee (if you have a you-centric view of the universe anyway).
They use coffee beans sent from Brazil and ground in an Turkish inspired machine (1400’s), milk packaged in plastic from China, the milk from a massive farm of cows, say from Tesco’s very own providers John and Jo, (http://realfood.tesco.com/videos-and-tips/the-journey-of-your-milk.html). The machine itself comes from a factory line to produce and runs water from the London mains, which has been through 100 people in the last decade and has been purified. Then its made (14 grams of coffee. 20 seconds. 82 degrees. And 50ml of specially filtered water. A remarkable 98% of every espresso is water) They place this in a cardboard cup, inspired by the ancient Egyptians and perfected in the millennia afterwards onwards to a stronger form of paper, and serve it to me to sit at an Ikea table from Sweden with a receipt, so the money I have paid can go to the coffee shop so they can pay rent to a landlord, who owns it.
Its enough to make you go crosseyed. Do I think about that on a daily basis? Absolutely not, I’m left sitting there thinking about work. Wondering if ‘Jeff emailed the project details I’m working on so the client is happy and will pay me.’ (Which of course is a whole different chain to consider, but you can go over the top with microcosms).
So with that slight digression I want to get back to my main point. I enjoy coffee. I enjoy freedom in a first world country, and I also enjoy being able to do a job I enjoy, live in a house I choose, and read or write (see my book http://www.amazon.co.uk/Robert-Mr-Marcus-Evans/dp/1495975606 More to follow). Or generally do whatever I want within my Western world inspired ethics code.
What a miracle all that is, even something as simple as getting a coffee.
So duck Lymphoma (autocorrect, but amusing, certainly worth ducking it if you can). With all the amazing chains of causality going on which I haven’t thought about, other than yesterday, I think I might have a break from thinking and buy another coffee.