Shahriar Shahriari

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Poems - Consciousness - Group 4
ii. Life


I remember how I studied scientific descriptions of the universe
With Quantum Physics and Systems Theory I'd fill my mental purse;
Endeared to me for they explained many things succinctly
I understood their general description of the world distinctly.
I understood how by going to the level of the sub-atomic and quantum
Everything becomes a cloudy haze of energy, light with momentum,
How the intent of the observer affects the electron
Collapses the energy function, turns the particle on,
Pure information at the level of the implicate appears
To create the dance of the universe to the music of the spheres.
It all made so much sense to me, to the extent
That I started teaching the same, with the intent
To help others to understand that at last
Science had resolved the riddle of the distant past.

Yet I was not happy with the dance of energy and information
So in my descriptions, intelligence instead I'd mention;
Yet deep down in my heart I needed something more
To express how it really felt to me in my core.

Until one day I had a moment of "aha!", a revelation
Understood the flaw of my thinking, with rapture, elation;
I saw what I had been trying to do was to answer the old
Question of "what is life?" the riddle of generations untold.
I saw that my approach as well as everyone I knew
Was to find a scientific answer to this, bar a few;
To quantify life through mathematical hypotheses
For mathematics, a natural universal language is.
Yet life was illusive, defied all reductionist description
How could it be otherwise? for living, there is no prescription;
It is futile to try to define a quality with numbers
How to measure beauty? By which method joy transfers?
And what of love and passion and intelligence?
For attempts to quantify these there is no defense.

So I changed my tune, used a different terminology
Yet radically modified my pseudo-scientific theology
Instead of defining the world as intelligent information and energy
I began to define life in terms of consciousness and flow's synergy;
I used qualitative terms to define the ultimate quality
Now I feel much more in touch with the underlying reality.

Reduce life to the ultimate system, I still hear Systems Theory saying
"Life is self-serving, self-regenerating, self-transcending."
Perhaps this is so, but I am certain, I know
Life is much more than these definitions show;
Life is self-searching, self-knowing, self-healing,
Much more than that, is beautiful, intelligent, loving, feeling;
And life is infinitely more than all these, it is freeing
From all categories and definitions, life is fleeing.

I do know that life cannot be bound by any definition
Confining life to a neat mathematical formula is an apparition,
It even defies artistic vision and poetic veneration
Yet it embraces all, formula, word, vision, definition.

Life is a consciousness, a spirit, infinite, eternal, unbound
After science, perhaps spirituality will run to the ground.

Shahriar Shahriari
Vancouver, Canada
June 5, 1997

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