“Where do all these chemicals come from? The answer is that they are produced by the inconceivable energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Living entities are part of the Supreme Godhead, and from their bodies come many chemicals. For example, the lemon tree is a living entity that produces many lemons, and within each lemon is a great deal of citric acid. Therefore, if even an insignificant living entity who is but a part of the Supreme Lord can produce so much of a chemical, how much potency there must be in the body of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Chaitanya Charitamrita, Adi 16.81 Purport)
Friend1: I came upon an interesting realization the other day. It was while watching a video that was downloaded to my local machine.
Friend2: As opposed to streaming it from another server?
Friend1: Yes, I wanted to have the comfort of distraction-free viewing. Also, the application on my PC saves the viewing progress, so that I can pause and resume without issue.
Friend2: That is the worst part about streaming, for sure. Along with the buffering.
Friend1: Anyway, it dawned on me that since the video is saved as a file in a directory, it essentially becomes a set of data written to disk.
Friend2: Umm, that is how saving files works. You never realized that before?
Friend1: Well, think about it. Real-life images. Accompanying sound. All reduced to bytes on a machine. I was blown away.
Friend2: In the sense that you could capture or even replicate real life by rendering bits, ones and zeroes, on a computer?
Friend1: Exactly. So amazing if you sit down and really contemplate. Everything that we see. All that we witness. Convert that to a file on a hard drive. Render something new based off imagination. Life, as we know it, translated in machine language.
Friend2: Just imagine the work of the creator, then. Known as Vidhata in Sanskrit, he takes the base three ingredients of goodness, passion and ignorance. The universe is like his blank canvas.
Friend1: I am pleased you went in that direction. This got me to thinking about the theory that life is just chemicals.
Friend1: Isn’t it true, to an extent? Just as we translate the images and sound to bits on a computer, couldn’t we say everything in this world is molecules? Protons, neutrons, electrons, and so forth.
Friend2: Atomic particles.
Friend1: Yes, precisely. That is the argument from a portion of the scientific community. When you break everything down, we are just a set of chemicals.
Friend2: Okay, but from where did those chemicals come?
Friend1: Never mind that for now. Do you concur with that assessment?
Friend2: I certainly would, if but for one glaring flaw.
Friend1: What is that?
Friend2: If we are all just chemicals, you would be able to take an identical chemical composition, replicate it, and create life.
Friend1: Not sure I follow.
Friend2: Let’s go back to your downloaded video example. If you want me to have a similar experience, how would you go about that?
Friend1: I don’t know. Maybe send you the video.
Friend2: And what does that involve?
Friend1: Uploading. Downloading. Computers. The internet.
Friend2: Copying. That is what you are forgetting. The essence of the object is the file, which is a collection of machine instructions. You copy that exact collection and then send to me.
Friend2: What is the nature of that copy? Is it inferior or superior?
Friend1: We are not talking about copying VHS tapes, here, which have the issue of degradation. There is no such thing as a highly “generated” copy of these video files. What you get is identical to mine.
Friend2: That is what I wanted you to admit. The copy is exactly the same, though there was an origin. Can you do the same with the chemicals that make up the human body?
Friend1: Maybe? I don’t know.
Friend2: You can’t. There is soul inside. That is what gives the spark. Scientists can’t even find the soul, let alone copy it.
Friend1: I see.
Friend2: As His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada explains, the basis for modern science is some trust in authority. Let’s say it is extended to Newton or some other prominent scientist from recent history.
Friend1: There is a constant evolution. People adding to previous discoveries.
Friend2: The followers of Vedanta extend the same trust, except there is nothing to add. The information is perfect from the beginning. We know what the soul is, where it came from, how it got here, and to where it is going (in the general sense). Thus our information is superior. That is the only way to know that we are more than chemicals.
Friend1: God is involved.
Friend2: The origin. The creator. The source of the material and spiritual energies. The original shelter and hopefully our future home, provided we align with the spiritual science under the guidance of an expert teacher.
My video file to contemplation reverted,
How life to machine language converted.
With human being not the same?
Where just collection of chemicals with name.
The key ingredient forgetting,
That life only if soul setting.
And that unique to you and me,
From Vedas superior way to see.