Poetry – Complex


I am complex.

Out of the simple

I select and combine

To refine

A being who is me.

I am sophisticated.

In a universe of simplicity,

Where basic is the rule,

My cells reflect

A more learned school.

I have structure

Beyond the crystalline;

A fluidity

Of biology

Incorporating chemistry divine.

In a world of laws

I buck the trend,

Initiating change,

Creating giants of order

In full organic range.

Out of this new chemistry

I am full of sparks,

Evolving spontaneously,

Awareness of planets,

Energy and quarks.

There is nothing simple

About me

Or my complexity –

But I think,

And that is still a mystery.

For me life is not divine –

Not constructed to a plan.

Life is self-perpetuating change,

Creating consciousness,

Just because we can.

Opher 31.12.2015


It is not because I am a biologist that I find the phenomenon of life, consciousness and the wonders of biological chemistry an amazing mystery; it is because I find these things marvellous that I am a biologist.

We do not have all the answers to the creation of life and its evolution into conscious beings. We may never have. But I like to think that one day we will; we will pierce all those mysteries and decipher the truth. Science is still in the dawn of its discoveries. A century or two ago we could not dream of understanding so much as we presently do. If anyone had suggested back a hundred years ago that we might one day know the operations of DNA, genetics, black holes, quasars, quantum mechanics or subatomic particles, they would have been considered mad. Most of those things were not even known.

Now we understand so much and are on the brink of so much more. Exciting times! In the next hundred years we may understand how consciousness works. We may understand the Big Bang and what lies beyond – beyond both the Big Bang and the event horizon.

I do not need divine intrusions of deities to explain the mysteries. That idea is, for me, mere human fantasy – an attempt to explain what we do not understand by imagining further layers of enigma. Many mysteries of the past have been fully explained, the rest, I believe, will follow. We have the intelligence and ingenuity. The world has been proved not to be flat. There are no angels in the heavens. There is no hell below the earth. These were myths. They have been dispelled.

Humans love to track down our mysteries and shackle them with explanations – no matter how bizarre.

Nowadays it is the religious fundamentalists who are still the apes. The rest of us have evolved into rational beings.

Perhaps there is a mystical dimension? But I believe that all scriptures, the works of men, contain little of it. The mystic buzz of the atom has no purpose for human beings. We are merely part of its flow.

Life and the universe are mysteries. The wonder is in the probing. The wonder is in the experiencing. The wonder is all around us. Science releases the wonder.

2 thoughts on “Poetry – Complex

  1. Yes, the science (and mathematics) of consciousness are all but unexplored. Why, when all the laws of the Universe that we know tell us that time is symmetric with respect to past and future (apart, perhaps, from the decay of certain mesons), do we perceive time to flow?

    And, while I agree with you on the idiocies of institutional religion, might not the Stoics have had a point with their idea of the “logos?”

    1. I think that science is still in its infancy. There is much that we are only beginning to understand. They are still a mystery. Give it a thousand years more and I reckon we’ll have cracked most things. Consciousness, life, the big bang, time travel…………….. who knows?
      Most religions have crumbs of reason. I like the truth.

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