To start with it seemed to me that in this complex world, my rock was literally a solid base on which I could anchor my thoughts – as Richard Dawkins says: “In the beginning was simplicity”; before anything else existed on planet earth, there was rock. But now of course I realise that is just too simple. Yes, of course, rock existed before life, but life has gone on to make rock. Everything in the world is inter-connected. Now I understand that before my flint was a rock, it was alive…
“Flints were formed during a complex chemical process which began in the chalk seas millions of years ago when silica from the decomposing skeletons of sea creatures became incorporated in the accumulating chalk sediment. Under certain conditions the silica reacted slowly with oxygen in the water and hydrogen sulphide from decomposing organic material to form a precipitate which collected in the burrows and tunnels made by sea creatures.”*
And don’t forget Stromatolites.
“Stromatolites are rock-like structures formed by cyanobacteria and single-celled algae. The mucus secreted by the bacteria collects grains of sediment which become stuck together with calcium carbonate, also from the bacteria. This builds up into the structures seen in certain sea-shore bays. Cyanobacteria and algae can photosynthesise and the real significance of these microbes is that they are thought to be the first known organisms to photosynthesise and produce free oxygen and so were largely responsible for increasing the amount of oxygen in the primeval Earth’s atmosphere. After about a billion years, the effect of this, called the Great Oxygenation Event, actually killed off many organisms which could not live in oxygen, and led to the kind of environments we know today, where most organisms use and need oxygen.”**
NOW scientists and engineers are developing self-healing concrete, incorporating bacteria into the concrete mix along with a form of starch which acts as food. The bacteria lie dormant in the concrete unless a crack forms, allowing air and water to penetrate, then the bacteria are activated and start to metabolise the starch. They grow and reproduce and excrete a mineral form of calcium carbonate which bonds to the concrete and seals the crack.
Click on the image below to view a short GIF slideshow or view the full version of A Brief History of Rock at https://vimeo.com/255278513.
NEXT: Extremophiles and other life forms
“Animism is the belief that objects, places and creatures all possess a spirit or soul. Believers in animism potentially perceive all things—animals, plants, rocks, rivers, weather systems, human handiwork and perhaps even words—as animated and alive.” It is said to describe the most common, foundational thread of indigenous peoples’ spiritual or supernatural perspectives. There are many anthropological theories about animist cultures, but what seems indisputable is that animism promotes an active and respectful relationship between humans and their environment. For our early ancestors, all matter was alive.”*
maybe this stone just needs awakening, activating in some way… maybe it already is active but just very… very… slow
“For a long time researchers have tried to demystify “living stones” capable of autonomous movement. A lot of different accounts have emerged and one even states that Trovants are a silicon form of life. It is also possible that they are conscious. Some scientists even claim that Trovants are capable of breathing – of course, very slowly – a single breath lasts from three days to two weeks. The “living stones” even have some kind of pulse, but it can be detected only with super-sensitive equipment. It turns out that these odd stones are able to move, even though only about 2.5 mm in two weeks.
A whole “village” of Trovants was found in Romania. They all have a circular, rounded shape. Locals claim that the “living stones” are even capable of reproduction. In the beginning, a small outgrowth appears on the surface of the stone. It grows and grows until it falls off from the “mother” stone. The new stone is completely detached and starts to grow faster. The active growth is more visible right after rain.”
If we are able to confirm that Trovants are able to breathe and reproduce, then we should really start considering them as living beings.” **
NEXT – A Brief History of Rock and self-healing concrete
So I freely admit, I seemed to have become a bit fixated on my rock for all those years. I had clung to it through thick and thin, couldn’t seem to get it out of my mind. It had become … all of those clichés – an old friend, unfinished business, a bit of an obsession. I hade fed and watered, nurtured and, yes, you’re right, maybe I took things a little too far.
I continued with my efforts to liberate the latent life in my stone.
The Organic Bridge
“The principle of the organic bridge can be reduced to these simple rules. If you want to transfer the energies of life into an inanimate object, you need a go-between that contains matter which is or was alive, such as wood, leather, fur, feathers or shells; that is shaped like a living thing; or that has been given the name of something or someone alive. For a mind bent on magic or influence of any kind, these provide a handle or a focal point, a bridge or fulcrum, for the release and transfer of the necessary energy. It need not be a conscious process. In fact the evidence suggests that it is often better left to operate at unconscious levels through superstition, ritual, incantation or scientific protocol.”*
* Lyall Watson, The Secret Life of Inanimate Objects
NEXT: Animism and Trovants