Line 133 – “Use life as an opportunity” could catch your eye as it did mine. It is such an open-ended statement it could mean almost anything. What is life? Is it my life or Jennifer Doudna’s CRISPR life? This Berkeley professor is using life in a whole new way. Her discovery of how to manipulate DNA will surely transform life as we know it into something wholly new. If we were around in a thousand years, possibly even a hundred, we would be astonished. No one knows the implications of total control of living DNA.
But the tagline comes from two and a half thousand years ago, from the maxims attributed to the Seven Sages of Greece. They were pre-Socratic thinkers. Not quite what we would now call philosophers but more like generalized practical problem solvers. They were still close enough to what is known as the original PIE people who carried variations of their language from England to India. They were the Proto-Indo-Europeans who spread over the known world from north of the Black Sea. They must have had something going for them besides the horses they had domesticated and advanced farming techniques to have been so successful.
Perhaps it was an ethical system provided by some slightly earlier form of the sayings attributed to the Seven Sages. Whatever it was that made them successful, at the expense of others, they certainly did use life as an opportunity.
When I was thinking about that idea it was more personalized, and yet I am using the entire Seven Sages list of sayings in my current rendition of Love Our Life. So the intent of that idea is already spreading far beyond my personal needs. With modern technology whizzing along into new voids and the society derived from those strange new devices changing our human relationship with everything it becomes obvious that there is only one thing that can be said … we are dropping into an unknowable void. Hopefully, it isn’t like dropping into a black hole that will rip us apart into our constituent subatomic particles, or maybe it will. It is impossible to know. Perhaps we should not care. Perhaps it is one of those things the Greek Stoics spoke of as being beyond our control or even influence and therefore beyond our care or even interest. Like the French existentialists, we are compelled to create our own personal system of value.
Use life as an opportunity to be lived right now, but to an unknowable end.