If You Want to Understand the Universe, Start with Your Biology

Lauren Alexander
July 14, 2022
a cell as seen under a microscope by Fayette Reynolds
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. - Albert Einstein

If you go to your body, you'll get a glimpse into what's happening in the entire cosmos.

When you look into yourself, you'll see that you're made of trillions upon trillions of cells - muscle cells, bone cells, liver cells, blood cells, skin cells, neurons, and the list goes on an on.

Each one of these cells has a distinct size, shape, lifespan, and role to play in the overall function of the whole. Their vast differences are vital to the health of the organism, YOU. If all of the cells in your body were exactly the same, you would die immediately. In other words, internal diversity is essential to your existence as an organism.

What does this have to do with understanding the universe?

Specialized cells unite to form organisms, organisms unite to create populations of similar species, populations unite to form communities, communities interacting with their surroundings create ecosystems, interacting ecosystems coalesce to create a habitable planet for us to occupy, planets unite to create our solar system, solar systems unite to form galaxies which come together to create the universe as we know it.

Image by Philippe Donn

All this to say that everything we know is made up of smaller, individual parts or "cells", each with it's own essential role to play in the overall function of the whole organism that is life. Diversity is not only essential to your existence as an organism, it is essential to existence as a whole, to life itself.

People are just like cells. There are about as many different kinds of people as you can imagine, each one with their own distinct size, shape, lifespan, and role to play in the overall function of society. Each one of them serves a purpose, even if it’s hard to understand that purpose from your perspective. Some people are brain cells that can use their intellect to build things and solve problems the rest of us can't fathom. Some people are stomach cells that can take various inputs convert them into something usable. Some people are like skin cells that protect the rest from outside forces that could otherwise harm. And some people are, well, asshole cells...


I can think of several many asshole cells that I’ve run into in my life that at the time really had me questioning the "why" behind their usefulness, but the reality is that some of the biggest and most impactful lessons in my life have been learned because of interactions with asshole cells.

With this in mind, it becomes clear that humanity actually benefits from all of these different kinds of people to learn and grow from, even if it doesn’t seem like that on the surface. We just have to be willing to look deeper.

What's even more interesting to me is that it's not that one cell (or one person) is only capabale of one way of being. All the cells in our bodies have access to all of the DNA, aka all of the information they would need to become any type of cell, but they only activate and use specific information to play their specialized role.

In much the same way, us humans have the capacity to manifest ourselves as anything we want, but either consciously or unconsiously we tend to only allow ourselves to show up as a limited personality. When you feel great about how your life is going, this is not an issue, but when you're tired of showing up as one particular type of cell, you have the power to adjust, because unlike the cells in your body that do the same job until they die, people CAN change into other kinds of cells. However, this often takes effort that most people aren’t willing to put in.

The point is... We are all meant to be different, including you. You don't have to become a heart cell or a brain cell because you (or soemeone else) thinks that is the most admirable cell type. If everybody was a doctor or lawyer (my worst nightmare) those jobs wouldn't even sound as special or fancy as most people make them out to be because they'd be the norm.

The older I get the more I learn about myself and what it means to me to show up in this universe authentically. I still feel like I know nothing, but it's as if my identity is unfolding before me. It's like as time goes on, I shed more and more of the desire to become the type of organism I thought I should aspire to be, and instead I'm becoming the organism this unverse knew I was meant to be. In a weird way, it's as if I'm coming home to myself.

This had me thinking, what kind of cell am I? I’d be lying if I said I haven’y been an asshole cell in the past, but I have made the effort to change over the years. Now I’d like to think that I’m a heart neuron (yes, those exist) because I am extremely analytical, but I try to incorporate my heart and intuition into my choices and the way I think.

What kind of cell are you? What kind of cell do you want to be?

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