Originally Posted by Amtmann
I feel very privileged to have had this conversation with her, a conversation that she has had with no one else. I will remember it forever.
A beautiful moment and a well-turned vignette -- your gran, I'm sure, would be proud of it.
On a more mundane level, I'm reminded by mikhail's quote of Ann Druyan's on Carl Sagan above, of Bill Bryson's plainer, slightly droll thoughts
on the same topic:
Originally Posted by Bill Bryson
To get from protoplasmal primordial atomic globule (as Gilbert and Sullivan put it) to sentient upright modern human has required you to mutate new traits over and over in a precisely timely manner for an exceedingly long while. So at various periods over the last 3.8 billion years you have abhorred oxygen and then doted on it, grown fins and limbs and jaunty sails, laid eggs, flicked the air with a forked tongue, been sleek, been furry, lived underground, lived in trees, been as big as a deer and as small as mouse, and a million things more. The tiniest deviation from any of these evolutionary imperatives and you might now be licking algae from cave walls or lolling walrus-like on some stony shore or disgorging air through a blowhole in the top of your head before diving sixty feet for a mouthful of delicious sandworms.
Not only have you been lucky enough to be attached since time immemorial to a favoured evolutionary line, but you have also been extremely – make that miraculously – fortunate in your personal ancestry. Consider the fact that for 3.8 billion years, a period of time older than the Earth´s mountains and rivers and oceans, every one of your forebears on both sides has been attractive enough to find a mate, healthy enough to reproduce, and sufficiently blessed by fate and circumstances to live long enough to do so.
Not one of your pertinent ancestors was squashed, devoured, drowned, starved, stuck fast, untimely wounded or otherwise deflected from its life’s quest of delivering a tiny charge of genetic material to the right partner at the right moment to perpetuate the only possible sequence of hereditary combinations that could result – eventually, astoundingly, and all too briefly – in you.
I'm sure your gran would appreciate a copy of Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything