Life, on our planet, is diverse. On my little patch of this world, here in Cyprus, the summer is a daily battle. Not to keep cool from the heat but to keep the ants at bay. From tiny ants that can hardly be seen scurrying across the marbled black kitchen work top, to huge ants that go around in gangs at night, beating up unsuspecting lizards. Life is certainly diverse, both big and small.
When you think about it, it makes you wonder where all this diversity came from. Well, our Mr Darwin sorted that one out for us, but something he could never explain is where life initially came from. Was it a spontaneous thing? Was our young planet hit by an asteroid bearing the building blocks of life? Or is there a god who waved a magic wand? We will never know. It will forever be one of life’s unanswered questions.
I don’t know about you, dear reader, but I’ve always had this niggly little thought at the back of my mind that there is more to life than meets the eye. We wake up, eat breakfast, do our daily routines, come home, eat a meal, watch TV, read a book, go to bed. Repeat. So yes, with a few exceptions for holidays (assuming the pandemic allows us) and other events, our daily lives until we retire can become a rut, rather than a routine. Even in retirement we soon immerse ourselves in a new a routine. In my mind I have always thought there has to be more to all this.
The other day I was making a sandwich and had just sliced some of my homemade bread. Something caught my eye and I realised I was looking at a tiny, tiny ant in my kitchen, dragging a piece of breadcrumb across the vast expanse that is my kitchen worktop. It isn’t vast to me, but it must have seemed so to this little ant. I’m not a great believer in killing anything because it happens to infringe on my territory, not unless it’s an actual ant invasion. So, I watched this little fellow and was in awe after a couple of minutes. Not only had he struggled to carry, push, and pull something three times his size, he had done so single-handily and with dogged perseverance. It was as he came to the end of his journey, a couple of centimetres from the edge of the worktop, that I had a nerve jangling feeling that someone was looking down, watching me, watching what I was doing. It was a feeling that passed quickly. I put it aside as the musings of a writer. But days later, that thought, that feeling, was still with me.
So, what if we humans aren’t the pinnacle of this life in our universe. Physicists have long speculated that there are higher dimensions that we have no knowledge of, but their theories point to the existence of such higher dimensions. Are there beings populating these higher dimensions, who regard us with the same cool and dispassionate observation that we employ when watching ants and other creatures. Even more odd and weird is the theory that we are holograms in a vast computer program being run by, well, who knows!
I’ve often thought that maybe when we die, we are woken up and realise we have been immersed in a computer game, Total Recall meets Age of Empires?
Whatever there is or isn’t hidden from us, it certainly helps exercise the brain by speculating about Life, the Universe, and the Bigger Picture.
Copyright © Tom Kane 2021
You cannot get a much bigger picture than my historical fiction trilogy The Brittle Saga Trilogy. It spans four decades between 1911 and the end of World War 2. Book One was published in June 2020. Book Two will be published in August 2021 and Book Three will be published in the winter of 2021/22.
You can read a sample of The Brittle Sea, Book One in the trilogy, by clicking the Preview button below.