Throughout our lives our bodies are renewed. Skin cells, muscle cells, bone cells—a great many of each are shed daily, making way for new cells. Via this process, an adult human being emerges from the child that was.
Mature galaxies emerge in a similar fashion. Primitive stars consisting of hydrogen and helium burn out and die, often exploding spectacularly. From the smoldering leftovers are born new stars and planets harboring all the complexity of Carbon, Iron, Gold … and occasionally Life.
From the beginning of space-time, death has seeded new life and new growth.
Our minds, too, grow and mature. What alchemy transmutes mere intelligence into wisdom? Certain ideas and beliefs of childhood must make way for the ideas and insights that are won via experience. A kind of amputation, the death of an old belief is infinitely more painful than the death of mere cells.
(From Dr. Rodger Swift’s Abandoned Lab Journal.)