The Generations of Life

The Book of the Story

Even perfection, flawless success, recreated the Silence.

But the Voice was not so easily defeated. It invited silence into the poem, discord into the song. It made failure a road to success, inviting the Darkness to dance.

For Light banishes Darkness. Space, Time, and Matter push back the Nothing, the Deep. But Life—Life incorporates Death, depends on Death, Lives on Death.

One way it happened was this:

In the very center of the Poem—for one glory of the Poem was that all places were its center—there was a planet. It circled a star, with other planets, and was circled, in turn, by a moon.

The planet itself turned as well, causing day and night, and the turning created an axis, and the axis was tilted, causing winter, spring, summer and fall-a riff and a riff on time. Most of this planet was covered with sea, and the moon tugged at the sea, causing tides—a rising and falling, yet another riff on time.

The rhythms of the planet were complex and rich, as was the composition of the sea, of the deep. For it was filled with stardust, with molecules and atoms manufactured in the heat of a thousand suns.

The soup was heated by the spirit of the nearest star, and by the spirit of the planet itself, and so in this cauldron the Spirit of the Voice fluttered within the soup, and a new Word was spoken. A molecule was born that could react with the soup, could copy itself, to make others after its kind.

For the first time, likeness was not a rhyme, but a relation.

Each of the molecule's descendants made others, and soon the sea was alive with molecules of this kind. Not all the copies were perfect, but many of them could still reproduce, and so there came to be many kinds, and some of these could reproduce faster or more efficiently, or were more stable. These became more common.

Some that reproduced too slowly, or inefficiently, or were less stable, ceased to be. And thus Death was born, and by weeding these molecules, helped to craft life.

The Dance had begun.