Splitting Branches

I was looking at a tree along the canal, admiring its thick branching ribbons. How calligraphic they are, these branches, splitting from one to two, then two to more, then more to many more.

They’re ambitious, aren’t they? These branches are always reaching out, seeking for light.

Wait, doesn’t that mean they’re always bashing one another? Trying to keep other branches down so that they can have more sunlight?

Isn’t that why other twigs, weaker branches wither, fall off then die?

What a cruel battle playing out within an organism.

You know, I used to believe in the benign – even benevolent – nature of life. I used to believe that life tends towards order and that cells sing in harmonic hymns, lubricating the wheels of living.

But recent events forced an understanding that life simply is.

It’s about the survival of the fittest. It’s always about power – how to gain more of it and retain it longer. The most powerful branch gets to live while the others fade away.

It's all about natural selection.

It’s never about those fairy tales where we all live together under one roof, parts of a greater whole, happy and hearty. It’s never about the thoughts and emotions of a single belching, farting and snoring homo economicus. It’s never about a human being, or even a lot of human beings.

Life simply is the competition and contestation between species and even within species.

The world is a lot more threatening that many imagined it to be.