I recently read an article about the stem cell research going on at the University of Edinburgh. In a nutshell, and yes I am trivializing this, stem cells are repair related biological cells that have the capacity to become any specialized distinguished cell. So basically, the same cell can become a part of your muscle, or your brain. Obviously, this is a much more complicated procedure than I am making it look, but I’m not here to teach you as to how you can artificially grow your clone (On a side note, it would actually be fun to have your clone as your wingman. He/she will point towards you and say, “Have you met me?”). Stem cells will basically change the medical-economical environment as follows. First, they have the potency to fasten testing and reduce costs of drug research, because now drugs can directly be tested on artificially grown stem cells, instead of wasting considerably more time/money testing them on animals. That’s a win for medical science, economists and animal rights activists (and animals in general). Way to go, stem cells. Another way, in which they will help, is by their ability to help replace damaged or diseased cells in diseases like Alzheimer, Cancer, and the likes of many other untreatable deadly ones. So essentially, as we develop medicine further and further, we eradicate more and more incurable diseases. At the current rate of things, one day every disease, except the adamant common cold, might become curable. As I finished reading the article, the idea of slowly becoming the masters of our death made me wonder about the significance of life and its beginning. Was all of this meant to happen? Was it always going to be this way that one particular species evolves and becomes so intelligent, that it basically understands everything. Can we really ever interpret ourselves, or the nature that created us? Philosopher Immanuel Kant believed quite the opposite, and following his ideologies this famous quote crept into our everyday lives:
“If the human brain was simple enough for us to understand, we would still be so stupid that we couldn’t understand it.”
Even while we are still considered pioneers in invention, to dismiss what we have discovered till day as insignificant, will be a fool’s arrogance. We are getting there, slow and steady. This spiritual war, of finding how we came into being, and more importantly why, has waged many brains tired. When you take a universal view of life, nothing is really that complex. It seems so, because beneath every layer of complexity is a less complex set of processes. The solution to any problem lies in the most fundamental or basic building blocks of a system. So if we can really reduce everything to the most simplified version of itself, the complexity slowly fades away. And we have been doing that for years, by dividing substances into molecules, molecules into atoms, and then finally, atoms into neutrons, protons and electrons. You don’t have to believe in God or even an eternal power to realize that we human beings are on a one way road to knowledge, there is no coming back. Only by destroying life can we completely understand it. Even according to Science (which is something I stick by), the earth, or for that matter our universe, came into existence after The Big Bang. So something happened, something triggered the universe into being. But when this something- which could be Nature, God or even pure coincidence- created a system, (our Earth, which is so simple yet so efficient that it can essentially strive on its own) did it really want one species to be substantially more intelligent than the others? Your pet dog does not wonder about stem cells, because if it did, it would be busy curing rabies and not napping on the floor. But, you do. You care about living a healthy, happy and comfortable life. So, were we humans, created to think for the universe? Are we supposed to work our way into the most intricate mysteries of nature? Does nature really contain within itself, agents of development and destruction, which is us humans?
Today and tomorrow, affected by so many other socio-economic-political problems, our speed has slowed down considerably. We have so many other problems to worry about, that the enthusiasm of discovering the essence of nature has taken a back-seat. Or so we think. Is stem cell research another solution to one such problem (incurable diseases, which is one hell of a problem), or is there a much bigger play at work. Are stem cells not taking us one step closer to perfection? Just like with space missions, artificial intelligence and door knobs, every alteration in nature is made by understanding it, by dividing it into the smallest known unit. So aren’t we, knowingly or unknowingly, doing what we think we don’t have the time to? Like all the other amazing mysteries that scrape our brains, this does not have a universal answer. But you cannot deny that our personal growth and our spiritual advancement are somehow inter-related. I do not know if we are destined to meet the mystery we call life, our creator-God, Devil or Nature- but we are eventually a part of this creation. For sake of this argument let’s call her Mother Nature. So Mother Nature, a self thriving and complete system, created within itself, a species that could and does like to question everything. So does this creator want us, a part of its creation, to strip her, bit by bit, so that we extirpate her creation, and in turn understand her? But then I take a double check, I think again. Aren’t we still considered pioneers? So could we humans be just another stepping stone in this stairway of enlightenment? Are we another threshold in this story, another barrier in the process of evolution? And a more intelligent, more adept and more capable creation of the creator will follow us and will use our knowledge to set out on the path of tracing back the common existence of the universe. We can never know this in time, because we will either trace back our existence or perish and give way to this more powerful specie.
I do not know if we, the human species, are destined to interpret and solve each and every thing in the universe, I can only poise this question to you. What I understand is that as we move forward in this journey, with years of mist blinding our vision, we do see a hazy vision of the beginning. We seem to be completing this circle of existence and enlightenment. We are going back in time, by moving forward. We are moving away from ourselves, but also coming closer. We do not know what lies ahead, we do not know if we will ever reach the end. But what we do need to realize is that it is not just about wanting to know how and why we came into being; It is also about questioning, are we even supposed to?