Doing Nothing

Leaves for butterflies, seeds for birds, almost gone from this area

One of the vast and Inseparable differences between life and non-life is what each is doing when it is “doing nothing.”

Nothing in the universe really does nothing, of course. An inert asteroid is still moving rapidly, turning. A rock on the ground is a seething froth of molecules and energy fields, absorbing or radiating energy, possibly undergoing radioactive change, affected by chemical or physical processes.

But life is nothing but doing something. Always chemical reactions as busy little proteins, RNA, DNA go about their business, as protoplasm sloshes here and there, as molecules are built or deconstructed. All in a moment, infinite and instant, uncountable millions and trillions of changes on and on. All that to mostly survive and continue and replicate.  That is what life is.

So when I sit and do nothing all afternoon I am actually doing quite a lot. Ah, you say, but that doesn’t count because you haven’t willed any of it.

I get your point, but even there I’m not sure I agree. An inaction is really a type of action in a constantly fermenting cosmos. If I do not chop down a tree, for example, that has consequences just as if I killed it for firewood.

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