Further still on the "immortal" jellyfish and the science of researching the mechanisms by which this organism "reverses" the inevitable.
I don't know if the author of this piece thought of his opening regarding Gilgamesh as a cautionary example of hubris or just a neat link to the idea that "immortality" might be found in the "rose" of the deep. But, I do.
Gilgamesh...what exists materially of the two-thirds-divine Gilgamesh? Nada. A name and a story...words. Sure there's likely some minor pile of dust somewhere that might be the magnificent walls of Uruk. And yes, there's a tower in babel somewhere too...but listen, the grandeur was never very grand. At least not to our new eyes.
Still, if the walls crumbled and the man who was king was as much or more myth than man, there are the pyramids you exclaim! Yes, yes...they are human babel-ing too at least that is as they seem--Melville calls them observatories and bakehouses...interesting that he imagines the astronomer as taking "prodigious" strides as if this was another form of being (an alien) long faded away like the "truth" of the buildings themselves.
And that the Egyptians were a nation of mast-head standers, is an assertion based upon the general belief among archaeologists, that the first pyramids were founded for astronomical purposes: a theory singularly supported by the peculiar stair-like formation of all four sides of those edifices; whereby, with prodigious long upliftings of their legs, those old astronomers were wont to mount to the apex, and sing out for new stars...So, Gilgamesh is story, and even the still visible, the visible from space, pyramids (and that other great useless wall), are story. And the truth (ah truth) may be that the story we tell is always the wrong one.
Translation itself is always wrong--the bible in latin, in aramaic, in greek, in english, in german...wrong, all wrong...but then what is the "right"? So many humans profess "the way."
Still, humans over the centuries have been expanding (universe-like), thinking big, reaching towards the (in)visible heavens, to hear the voice of God...and to talk back no less, damn straight!
But, finally, ground glass has renewed our jackalled and featherless hope, grinding out faith in a seed: a contraction flowering again into infinitude. Confirming (speculating) the endlessness of space, the ground glass also revealed the vasty spaces of our very being. And it is in this exploration that we now know there is an answer...slice a jellyfish, grow an oracle.
It is in the what-we-are-not that we seek to remedy the what-that-we-are.
But as to the cautionary in this...Gilgamesh kills the protector of the sacred cedar forest, traveling leagues to ultimately harvest lumber, and it is this offense against nature that seals his fate. His best friend is slain protecting him against the revenge of the gods and he fails in his quest to place himself among the gods even after discovering the "jellyfish" of immortality. He cannot transcend the limits of life.
All he can do, all he has done, is transgress.
Still there is the acknowledgement, via the magical mechanical insight of the Genome Project, that there is "little" variation in our codes. Does not the "marvelous" diversity of forms make plain that, if from a single code cometh ALL, and that these forms are various enough to create a wonderment of strangenesses (an imaginarium of realities), our puny "intelligence" cannot in any way understand the minuscule differences that lead to these gulfs in our "natures," our species "being"?
That these code distinctions, these gaps, are what is as common as the bulk of constants: that in the gaps is the abyss. Take a good long look, mighty kings, astronomers and deep-sea divers, then take out your chisels and etch what you see.