Us 110.000.000.000.000

The Buddha thought that the idea of ‘Me’ is a fiction of the human mind and ego. If you find this hard to believe take it from science: We are made up of approximately 10 trillion cells. That is ‘Me’, sort of. Those 10 trillions cells are not all that there is to ‘Me’. There also are 100 trillion microbes living in, on and around each of us. They run errands; they feed, clean, and maintain our cells. We cannot function without them. They also sicken us at times, even kill, but who is free of evil?

The universe is incomprehensible and I will not dare to pass judgment on, or get in a tussle with, a 100 trillion creatures living inside of me. Were they to abandon me, I would probably not get out of the door alive. From now on, I will think twice before unleashing antibiotics into my blood stream. Truth be told, antibiotics have saved my life many times from unnamed tropical diseases but I am against the dumping of tons of antibiotics into salmon farms or pigs (just so we can stuff them in even smaller spaces).

For those who like clean linen it is a shocking insight: There are more microbes in your body than humans on earth. Many more. So, when you sit there and read ‘Me’ it is not only you, but 110 trillions cells and microbes in a joint effort.

Let’s not discount all those creatures as dumb or simple. What do we know? They have been around much longer. We are just a blip in their history on earth. What do they feel? Do they sleep? Why are parts of our DNA made from old virus-DNA? What does it do there?

Maybe that part in us that clings more to life than our rational brains would allow, maybe that part is the will, the culminated survival instinct, of 100 trillion little creatures living with us. Who knows? At the end of the 19th century a group of London scientists proclaimed “the end of science”.  They thought they knew it all and nothing was left to discover. How totally wrong were they?


3 Comments on “Us 110.000.000.000.000”

  1. phoebe says:

    It would really disrupt us to live with this incredible awareness all the time….but such good insight, Ed, could well lend to a feature magazine or op ed commentary column….keep it up!

  2. Veda Rao says:

    I totally agree with your insight. There is a Sanskrit saying implying the universe is me and “I” as an individual entity don’t exist except as the result of complex multiple factors and the vital force that we call “soul.” It is very metaphysical.
    The realm of science has to yet grapple with this concept of the soul.

    • edwardbristol says:

      Yes, the same feeling I had when reading about how DNA analysis and neurological studies do get more and more complex but the deeper we dig the less we seem to truly understand.

      I love science but it seems some things we will not be able to understand on the level we currently work on. No matter how much faster our processors get.


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