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Think for a moment

Published January 30, 2020
by Gitte Sætre

Think for a moment… think for a moment, and consider that in just a handful of soil, there are more living organisms than there are stars in our galaxy. And deep down in the crust of the Earth there are ancient organisms, tiny cells, buried alive, just sitting there waiting – some of them almost as old as the dinosaurs but still alive – and still waiting, quietly. Consider that trapped inside our own bodies are remnants of the entire history of the Earth. The red color of our blood is a reminder of an ancient time, when life truly transformed the young Earth and caused its surface to rust. 

One of the tiny organisms that lived in that ancient time now lives inside every cell in our body and is an inseparable part of us. Even deep inside our brain cells, these ancient microbes swarm towards the contact point between neurons and help us to perceive, and to create memories. The human brain is often described as a kind of computer, but perhaps it is better described as a kind of ecosystem. And conversely, a living ecosystem, like the soil beneath our feet, may one day be considered a kind of brain. 

Once we begin to tell the story our own deep history, we may begin to understand the world we are a part of. A world of connections and interrelations.   A world in which the climate shapes the forest, and the forest shapes the climate. A world in which we are both a cause and a consequence. To see ourselves in the world is to look into a kaleidoscope of shifting roles and paradoxes of contrast: Between resilience and vulnerability. Between ritualistic repetition and irreversible change. Through the kaleidoscope you can glimpse the connections between the smell of the sea, the shape of the mountain, and the rhythm of your heart, beating.

a text by Bjarte Hannisdal