Nature Loves Those Who Oppose Her Most
Why sex? Let’s do a quick review. Sex is not about reproduction. It’s not about creating identical copies of yourself. It’s about mixing and matching. It’s about playing the odds. It’s about innovation. It’s about creating utterly unique individuals. Individuals of a kind that have never been seen before. It’s about creating individuals of a kind who will never be seen again once they die. It’s about generating utterly unique antennae with which a cosmos in search of her potential can feel out her next possibilities. It’s about adding new lenses to nature’s compound eye. It’s about putting together the utterly unique combinations with which a cosmos can lay the base for her next invention, her next supersized surprise.
Yes, this planet is a precarious place. Life has survived by stretching out and placing new bets. Those who think that we have to take care of this planet first and that we must stop aspiring to the skies do not know their biology. Without realizing it, they are life deniers. By failing to understand why nature indulges in materialism, consumerism, and waste, they are failing their obligation to the bio-system that gave them birth. In fact, nature loves those who oppose her most.
Merely moving on to the land 500,000 years ago defied one of nature’s most basic laws: gravity. And as you know, by multiplying sexually, you—the first land plant 500,000 years ago– are defying two other primal commandments, the second law of thermodynamics and the principle of least action. What in the world are we going to do with you? You persist in breaking the rules. You persist in remaking the natural order. You persist in acting unnaturally. Yes you, the greenery of nature, the mosses and liverworts, you, the bryophytes, you who have brought sexuality to the land, you who still sometimes do it the old fashioned way, without sexuality, But you who so frequently splurge in this new thing called sex, you who dilly dally with this incredibly risky business of sexual reproduction, you who risk shattering the fine-tuned order of the beads on your genetic key chain by making your genomes separate and do the twist, you who send out sperm on the trickles of water from dew and rain in the absurd hope of finding an eager egg in a neighboring plant, you who indulge in this strange and iffy proposition that will obsess life for the next 500,00 years, you are radically unnatural! You are upsetting the applecart. You are a threat to the delicate balance of existing ecosystems. Yet someday humans will see you as nature’s very essence. As nature incarnate. How could this possibly be?
Could it be that you are following a natural law far more deeply seated in this cosmos than conservation? Far more deeply seated than “respect for nature” and “harmony with the natural order”? Could it be that you are following an imperative more essential to this cosmos than entropy? Far more essential? Could it be that you are following a law that tells particles, stars, planets, and plants to rebel. To defy nature. To break her rules. To shatter them utterly. To go to the very edge, then to push, pounce, or bounce beyond the borderline. Why? To flagrantly make new forms of order. New levels of intricacy and amazement. New forms of flamboyance. New twirls, twists, and teams with the power to sustain. And with the power to produce progeny who, in turn, will rebel against what their parents have achieved. With the power to produce new generations of rule-breakers who will massively outdo their ancestors. Who will outdo their ancestors in breaking the laws of nature. New generations some of whose pioneers will cartwheel beyond the bounds of the status quo like a tumbler defying gravity with handstands, a tumbler exulting every cart-wheeled step of the way?
Could it be that nature demands new generations who will manically mass produce their rule-shattering. Who will be fruitful and multiply. Who will impose their sort of structure wherever they can. Whether they multiply the way that stars do—by repeating a common pattern all over the place. Or whether they multiply the way that life forms do—by piling up the innovations of millions of generations in their gene string, using that pileup to invent patterns that have never previously been seen, then recording the instructions for those rebellious patterns once again in their genes, and finally stamping out copies of those genes by the trillions. Manically mass producing. Doing it on an industrial scale. And pulling material stuff into the process like crazy.
Again, could it be that there’s something deeply flawed in the “principle of least action”? Could it be that there’s something wrong with “Nature is thrifty in all its actions.” Could it be that the principle of least action’s cousin, the Second Law of Thermodynamics, is deeply flawed, too?
Could it really be that nature loves those who oppose her most? Could one of the first laws of nature be: do something unnatural. Defy me. Do it in a way that is astonishing. Make me look silly. Shatter my existing order. Then put me together in whole new ways. Take the path of most effort. Juggle me. Tumble me. Reinvent me. Make me look terrific. Make me look like a magician and a sorcerer. Remake Me. Build, assemble, knit together, and transform me, Could “stitch together a radically different status quo” be Nature’s real mandate?
We are about to see.