In the latest post in my previous thread I quoted Ralph Waldo Emerson. The first paragraph read:
Polarity, or action and reaction, we meet in every part of nature; in darkness and light, in heat and cold; in the ebb and flow of waters; in male and female; in the inspiration and expiration of plants and animals; in the systole and diastole of the heart; in the undulations of fluids and of sound; in the centrifugal and centripetal gravity; in electricity, galvanism, and chemical affinity. Superinduce magnetism at one end of a needle, the opposite magnetism takes place at the other end. If the south attracts, the north repels. To empty here, you must condense there. An inevitable dualism bisects nature, so that each thing is a half, and suggests another thing to make it whole; as, spirit, matter; man, woman; subjective, objective; in, out; upper, under; motion, rest; yea, nay.
The term, ‘life force’ will most probably invoke many criticisms and objections. But if we take it to mean observed vitality and let it stand at that without speculating any further, we can study its ‘ebb and flow’ in the natural world around us. We can see these processes in a wide variety of life forms.
I look around my neighbourhood and see winter fast approaching. In preparation the deciduous trees have all but shed their leaves, hedgehogs are beginning their hibernation and the metabolism of frogs is slowing right down. I can see in all of these organisms a reduction in vitality. The life force is being withdrawn and it will resurface in the spring.
It is obvious that a young spring oak leaf has more vitality than a piece of the tree’s bark, and a mating wood frog (Lithobates sylvaticus) has more vitality than one in which much of its tissue is frozen solid during winter.
Animals in general have more freedom than plants and some animals are not so tied to a particular environment. Many birds are free to migrate long distances. There is only one species of bird that is known to hibernate and that is the common poorwill
Heterothermy is common among animals and has convergently evolved multiple times. Some animals enter a state of torpor daily in addition to annual hibernaton.
Instead of having their lifestyle dictated by a particular environment migratory animals are able to move to more suitable surroundings. Many animals that reside permanently in a specific location compensate for this restriction by becoming dormant through the winter. There are many examples of compensatory behaviour in nature. Elephants compensate for lacking a pair of dexterous appendages by having one dexterous trunk that can be used in conjunction with their tusks for handling objects. Birds become very adept at using their beaks for construction work and parrots use their beaks and feet in a highly coordinated manner.
Like parrots and elephants, cetaceans are also highly intelligent animals and like the former their creative skills are restricted. And because they are highly adapted to existing in an aquatic environment these skills are even more restricted compared to parrots or elephants. Their lack of hind limbs and extremely specialised forelimbs ensure that this is the case.
Animals at the opposite extreme to the cetaceans can be found among the insects and arachnids.. Here can be found master creative builders but their individual intelligence is very poor compared to advanced mammals and birds. Cetaceans must return to the surface to breathe but some insects manufacture an aqualung for themselves allowing them to remain underwater while breathing. The bubbles used will need to be replenished from time to time but they can take in oxygen from the surrounding water extending their usable life.
Due to our creativity in shielding ourselves from the local environmental conditions we humans can survive and remain active anywhere on the planet.
Most of the vital energy of a plant is taken up with growth. In the case of us humans the energy of growth is prominent up to the point of reaching maturity and then our vitality begins to decline. During our life as mature adults a high percentage of our metabolic energy is allocated to the seat of our creative activity, the brain. Our conscious, creative activity come at the expense of the decline of the body. To compensate for serving our organ of consciousness our plant-like vitality must decline accordingly. A continual balance must be held between ebb and flow.