Why Are We Here?

My purpose in writing this essay is to express thoughts which appear to make as much sense as any other philosophy or religious belief which attempts to explain our purpose for being here.  The presentation is simple and should be easy to follow.  Mankind has evolved to a species capable of using higher technology.  This was made possible by the collective consciousness of the Earth's plant life as a means of liberating the carbon currently locked up in hydrocarbons and mineral deposits and making this carbon available for re-use by plant life.

This is not easily accepted by people of any faith or belief as it minimizes man's purpose to a level found uncomfortable by most religious believers.  Most faiths put mankind into a higher plane or at least make the higher plane or existence in some way obtainable by true believers plus providing a purpose for life.  Most of what we accept as religious text today was produced by what we would consider by today’s standards as mentally ill individuals.  All truly observable indications put mankind into the "we are merely mammals seeking to survive and procreate and thus allow continuation of the genetic line in the survival of the fittest contest".  Universally societies reject all man’s link to his animal past.  Mankind totally disregards the possibility of Earth's plant life having any sort of consciousness and thus any sort of bearing on the fate of the planet and its various life forms.

For those of you in the West Christianity has numbed your senses to the environment around you as it is there for your benefit and there are no limits to possible exploitation.  Western native cultures tend to group mankind as part of the environment and stressed the need for man to be a good steward of the environment with responsibilities to the ecosystem.  In Westernized societies there is a consideration of the environment taking root in the hearts and minds of the more mature societies.  Unfortunately most of the current crop of environmentalists and Greens are just another variety of closet environmental Nazis with little clear understanding of what is required to sustain our present level of civilization and with a primitive attitude toward what constitutes exploitation of the environment.

The first atmosphere of Earth had a high content of carbon dioxide (CO2) and very little free oxygen (O2).  Significant free O2 is probably not likely to be a common component of planetary atmospheres as it is prone to reacting with other molecules to form other compounds.  O2 is highly reactive and O2 levels in a planetary atmosphere would probably approach zero unless there was a mechanism for recycling oxygen from various compounds back into free O2.

At an early stage of Earth's history a form of plant life evolved, cyanobacteria, which used CO2 in a photosynthesis reaction with the carbon being locked up in mineral deposits (carbonates, ie - stromatolites) and the oxygen component being released as atmospheric O2.  This form of plant life thrived for a very long time decreasing atmospheric CO2 and increasing atmospheric O2 to levels somewhat near to present levels.  This form of plant life polluted its environment, changing it so significantly that it was no longer able to thrive even though a distant relative exists today in environments where competition is limited by the hostility of that environment.  All plant life today requires CO2 to exist and most plant life would benefit from small to moderate increases in atmospheric CO2 levels.

Later forms of plant life used the carbon derived from CO2 to build its leaves, stalks or what could be called vegetable matter.  When these plants died some of the vegetable matter decomposed, with the carbon recombining with atmospheric O2 to form atmospheric CO2.  Some of this vegetable matter would eventually form what is now called hydrocarbons.  All oil, natural gas and coal deposits were formed in this manner.  Later forms of animal life also succeeded in locking up significant amounts of CO2 in  various carbonate mineral deposits.

In the past Earth's atmospheric CO2 levels were significantly higher than current levels and plant life thrived, as can be seen from the abundance of hydrocarbon deposits.  While plant life created a self-sustaining environment for itself the system was not complete as at some point most atmospheric CO2 would be locked up in mineral deposits, hydrocarbons or in a process which would not adequately recycle carbon into a form which could be used by plant life.  Most plants can only get significant amounts of carbon from atmospheric CO2.

Something must be added to Earth's biosystem to ensure significant quantities of carbon would be recycled and available for re-use by plant life.  Adding animals to the system would help but animals without technology are limited in their ability to recycle carbon.  Let an animal develop technology and its ability to recycle carbon increases dramatically.

The biomass of the Earth's plant life greatly exceeds that of animal life.  It is foolish to think that amount of biomass with such tenacity for life and procreation is totally without any consciousness or will.  Just because mankind is unable to communicate with this consciousness doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Man tends to believe he is the top life form in the pyramid of life on this planet and resists any suggestion that he is not the prime attraction.

It is just as likely mankind is merely an agent of Earth's plant life whose function is to recycle carbon into atmospheric CO2.  Without this recycling effort plant life would find it harder to thrive and at some point would cease to be the dominant life form on this planet.  Without plant life producing O2 there would not be any free atmospheric O2 as the oxygen would react and combine with some other molecule.

Man's purpose is to serve plant life by recycling carbon.  We are part of the biosystem and we must do our part by building a civilization which recycles carbon either by hydrocarbon use or freeing carbon from mineral deposits.  Whatever plants we consume is small in comparison to the total plant biomass and is hardly missed.  The more you prune plants the more they grow, man can do no wrong.
Another consideration of man's role in improving the environment for plant life is the return of mineral nitrogen to the biosystem for re-use (from hydrocarbons) as even though atmosphere nitrogen is abundant that is not the form required by plant life.

Man tends to believe he is the end result of evolution.  Use the example of cyanobacteria, a life form which thrived for the better part of a billion years and made the Earth habitable for most current life forms on this speck of cosmic dust.  Cyanobacteria destroyed an ideal environment for its existence.  Yet their environmental destruction made it possible for what we consider higher forms of life to evolve.  If the cyanobacteria were Green, and told steps to preserve their environment, the wide variety of current life forms would not have had the opportunity to develop.  In retrospect we can definitely state their destiny was to prepare the Earth for other forms of life and thereby sacrifice the bountiful existence of their species.  Maybe man is destined to play a similar role by recycling CO2 back into the atmosphere? 

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Revised: August 9, 2006