Simple question: Why are there so many forms of life on earth?
Why the exaggerated – and seemingly unnecessary – variation?
Maybe it points to the idea of freedom in a way I have not fully considered.
At any rate, the magnitude of it all, shrunk down for us on this little planet, which itself is a blip in an infinite universe, as another nod at how incalculaby precious it all is.
Don’t you think?
Of all known forms of life, only about ten percent are still living today. All other forms—fantastic plants, ordinary plants, living animals with unimaginably various wings, tails, teeth, brains—are utterly and forever gone. That is a great many forms that have been created. Multiplying ten times the number of living forms today yields a profusion that is quite beyond what I consider thinkable. Why so many forms? Why not just that one hydrogen atom? The creator goes off on one wild, specific tangent after another, or millions simultaneously, with an exuberance that would seem to be unwarranted, and with an abandoned energy sprung from an unfathomable font. What is going on here? The point of the dragonfly’s terrible lip, the giant water bug, birdsong, or the beautiful dazzle and flash of
sunlightedminnows, is not that it all fits together like clockwork—for it doesn’t, particularly, not even inside the goldfish bowl—but that it all flows so freely wild, like the creek, that it all surges in such a free, fringed tangle. Freedom is the world’s water and weather, the world’s nourishment freely given, its soil and sap: and the creator loves pizzazz.
-Annie Dillard, Pilgrim At Tinker Creek