It is often assumed that the fine longitudinal lines of the cartographer’s pen describe an arbitrary division, but this is deceptive. The vertical lines actually mark the places where the spindle’s filaments run from pole to equator and serve as pathways for the great division that will eventually occur. Few note these filaments, for they are invisible on the surface and only an act of unconscious sensitivity permitted their tracings. One may ponder upon the nature of the staff which runs through the spindle. Its two poles have never yet been seen, but their magnetic forces are felt and even the most apathetic are perforce affected by them. Many may have wondered about the clustered populations gathered near the equatorial belt, but few would have sensed that they presage a momentous development. Who could imagine the complex crossings, mixings and dividings that spirit and matter must make before the final division takes place and the separating bodies travel along the spindles to the poles? Is the globe itself analogous to the minute cell?
The cell is the structural and functional basis of the uniqueness of every living organism, and contemporary science identifies it as the most elementary unit that can sustain life. Fragments of broken cells can continue their activities for awhile, but they do not constitute what scientists call life – owing to the sharp distinction between organic and inorganic substance – whose continuity they believe to have a cellular basis. W. Q. Judge, however, suggested that “the ‘cell’ is an illusion”. He saw the cell as composed of other cells and called it “the ideal form within which the actual physical atoms – made up of the ‘lives’ – arrange themselves”. Eastern wisdom unveils a richer perspective concerning the nature of life and its units. In exploring the definition of a cell one could meditate upon the mystery of the egg. On a vast cosmological scale, ancient Seers spoke of the non-eternal and periodic mundane Egg which contains the promise and potency of the entire universe. They taught that the mystery of self-generation and evolution in the microcosmic egg is a miniature of cosmic evolution. There is a highly suggestive correspondence between the growing egg or cell and the developing embryo. Both show an ordered pattern of chemical synthesis as well as morphogenesis, and there is the recurring pattern in successive generations involving the regulation and expression of genes. Not only can the structure and function of all organisms be seen to have much in common through the study of cells, but there is abundant evidence for cellular-like activity at many different levels in nature.