Description: Order and design - The complexities of the body
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Order and Design – Human Body
by Ernest O’Neill
What is the meaning of life? Why are we here? What’s the purpose of it? What are you doing here? How did you
end up here? That’s the subject we’re discussing at this time on this station. You remember yesterday that we
asked the question, “Is there any clue in the world to the meaning of it all?”
You remember that we looked at the incredible phenomenon of the circulation of our blood and saw that twenty
pounds of blood is pumped around our body every two minutes by one of the most efficient pumps that exists:
It’s very easy to see when you look at that phenomenon in our bodies that there is incredible order and design
and purpose and meaning in the way our bodies are constructed. Actually, wherever we look in our world we see
the same truth exhibited; that everywhere there is a sense of meaning.
For instance, if you look at your eye or you touch your eyelid at this moment and just take a little of your
eyelid between your index finger and your thumb and pull the eyelid out from your eye a little, do you notice
how elastic it is? Do you notice how it’s almost like a rubber band? Do you realize that that is why you are
able to see?
You don’t have to exert constant, deliberate thought to keep your eyelid back from your eye. You don’t have to
say to yourself, “I must exert effort to keep my eyelid back from my eye so that I can see.” You don’t! It’s
the elasticity of the eyelid that pulls it naturally back into its open position. If it hadn’t that
elasticity, you would have to maintain constant contraction of a muscle in order to keep the eyelid back.
Now, how does your eyelid come down over your eye? By the contraction of a muscle. Yet the surprising thing
about that muscle is that it operates from the back of your eye and there is actually not enough space or room
back there for a muscle to pull in a straight, direct direction, so that your eyelid would be pulled back. So
that muscle actually is bent.
In other words, it makes use of the lever principle in mechanics. It is bent through the loop of another
muscle and actually that other muscle aids the effect of that first muscle so that they combine to efficiently
pull your eyelid down over your eye when you want to wink or when you want to sleep.
Now that’s just the part of your body that protects your eye. When you begin to look at your eye itself you
realize that the only way that that eye operates is because it is kept constantly clean and that is done by
virtue of the fact that you actually blink and use a kind of windscreen wiper on your eye thousands of times
every minute. So your eye is being constantly washed by a fluid that actually is drained through the bone of
your nose and into your nose and the waste fluid is evaporated through your nose into the air. All that is
managed simply to keep your eye clean so that you can use the incredible optical arrangements of your eye to
be able to see.
Do you realize, for instance, that if you look at a car or an automobile, perhaps a hundred yards away from
you, that huge image that you see is reduced to about one-twelfth of an inch inside your eye and yet the image
is so distinct that you are able to perceive it through the operation of your brain and to interpret what it
is and to study every detail of it, even though it is completely reduced in size from its actual size here in
Then, do you realize that your eye works more efficiently than the most efficient Nikon camera that exists
today. It varies its focusing ability so that it can perceive objects that are perhaps a couple of miles away
and can perceive objects that are close-up to it, because it can exert varying pressure on the globe of your
eye so that you, in fact, can focus on different objects at different distances.
This is only part of the amazing ability that you possess in being able to see. If you just for a moment think
of the way you move your head, do you realize that your head cannot only move in a nodding position, because
it is set on the top vertebrae of your spinal column? But do you realize also that you can turn your head from
side to side so that you can see objects around you. That happens because you have a mechanism there that is
very like that of a pivot or a tripod on which we set our cameras — where there is a tilt mechanism that can
tilt back and forward along with a bone with a peg in it on which your head can pivot around in different
Then, do you realize, your vertebrae in your back not only create a lever which is flexible enough to enable
you to bend from side to side even, and front forwards and backwards, but it is also able to hold itself rigid
enough so that you can stand up? Also, those vertebrae provide the channel by which vital fluid flows right
down your back and then diffuses itself throughout your body in a complex nervous system.
When you consider your muscular system, do you realize that you have over five hundred muscles? The muscles
operate in your body simply by contraction and release. Do you see that if you look at the back of your hand,
if all the muscles that operate your fingers when you bend them were set in the back of your hand, your hand
would look ugly. There would be a huge muscular mass on the back of your hand. And because of that, so that
your hand would look as graceful as it does, those muscles that operate those fingers are situated up in your
forearm, hidden away.
So, in all kinds of situations in your body at times your muscles act over each other, across each other and
through each other, at times by remote control. Yet those five hundred muscles operate in precise order and
harmony to enable you to do thousands of things all at once. When you think of the muscles that operate your
tongue so precisely so that it can place itself exactly in a certain position and at a certain angle to form a
certain word of speech, you begin to realize the great complexity and intricacy of your muscular system.
When you consider the mouth itself and all the things that your mouth is able to do, you begin to realize the
great complexity of the mechanical organization of your body so that not only is your mouth able to taste, not
only is it able to swallow, not only is it able to breathe, but it is also able to speak and to sing and to
produce sounds. Your mouth is probably the most complex mechanical operation that one could ever imagine —
when you think of the teeth that grind and then the throat that swallows the food.
In other words, wherever you look in our world, there is meaning in it. There is meaning everywhere. It’s very
difficult to find any part of our world where there isn’t meaning and purpose.
Does that give us any clue about the meaning of our lives? Let’s talk about that a little more tomorrow.