About 650 words.
Excerpt from "On Not Knowing How to Live" by Allen Wheelis, ©1975
This expresses so much of my own thought, but so much more eloquently....

Who shall count the waltzing grunnion?

WE CAME INTO BEING as a slight thickening at the end of a long thread. Cells proliferate, become an excrescence, assume the shape of a man. The end of the thread now lies buried within, shielded, inviolate. Our task is to bear it forward, pass it on. We flourish for a moment, achieve a bit of singing and dancing, a few memories we would carve in stone, then we wither, twist out of shape....

...We are carriers of spirit. We know not how nor why nor where. On our shoulders, in our eyes, in anguished hands through unclear realm, into a future unknown, unknowable, and in continual creation, we bear its full weight. Depends it on us utterly, yet we know it not. We inch it forward with each beat of heart, give it to the work of hand, of mind. We falter, pass it on to our children, lay out our bones, fall away, are lost, forgotten. Spirit passes on, enlarged, enriched, more strange, complex.

We are being used. Should not we know in whose service? To whom, to what, give we unwitting loyalty? What is this quest? Beyond that which we have, what could we want? What is spirit?...

...Spirit rises, matter falls. Spirit reaches like a flame, a leap of dancer. Out of the void it creates form like a god, _is_ god. Spirit was from the start, though even that beginning may have been an ending of some earlier start. If we look back far enough we arrive at a primal mist wherein spirit is but a restlessness of atoms, a trembling of something there that will not stay in stillness and in cold.

Matter would have the universe a uniform dispersion, motionless, complete. Spirit would have an earth, a heaven and a hell, whirl and conflict, an incandescent sun to drive away the dark, to illumine good and evil, would have thought, memory, desire, would build a stairway of forms increasing in complexity, inclusiveness, to a heaven ever receding above, changing always in configuration, becoming when reached but the way to more distant heavens, the last . . . but there is no last, for spirit tends upward without end, wanders, spirals, dips, but tends ever upward, ruthlessly using lower forms to create higher forms, moving toward ever greater inwardness, consciousness, spontaneity, to an ever greater freedom.

Particles become animate. Spirit leaps aside from matter which tugs forever to pull it down, to make it still. Minute creatures writhe in warm oceans. Ever more complex become the tiny forms which bear for a moment a questing spirit. They come together, touch; spirit is beginning to create love. They touch, something passes. They die, die, die, endlessly. Who shall know the spawnings in the rivers of our past? Who shall count the waltzing grunnion on the shores of ancient seas? Who shall hear the unheard poundings of that surf? Who will mourn the rabbits of the plains, the furry tides of lemmings. They die, die, die, but have touched, and something passes. Spirit leaps away, creates new bodies, endlessly, ever more complex vessels to bear spirit forward, pass it on enlarged to those who follow.

Virus becomes bacteria, becomes algae, becomes fern. Thrust of spirit cracks stone, drives up the Douglas fir. Amoeba reaches out soft blunt arms in ceaseless motion to find the world, to know it better, to bring it in, growing larger, questing further, ever more capacious of spirit. Anemone becomes squid, becomes fish; wiggling becomes swimming, becomes crawling; fish becomes slug, becomes lizard; crawling becomes walking, becomes running, becomes flying. Living things reach out to each other, spirit leaps between. Tropism becomes scent, becomes fascination, becomes lust, becomes love. Lizard to fox to monkey to man, in a look, in a word, we come together, touch, die, serve spirit without knowing, carry it forward, pass it on. Ever more winged this spirit, ever greater its leaps. We love someone far away, someone who died long ago.

Allen Wheelis ~ 1975 ©

As copytyped and abridged by Pwl, Sep97. From "The Mind's I" composed by Douglas Hofstadter & Daniel Dennet, ©1981.
Published Harvester Press, ISBN 0-7108-0352-4. (Out of print.)
Now available in Penguin edition, ISBN 0-14-006253-X

Frugilegus over Fritillaria

Our echoes roll from soul to soul, And grow for ever and for ever. ~ Tennyson 1850