The substance we are made of

“Time is the substance I am made of,” wrote Jorge Luis Borges. “Time is a river which sweeps me along, but I am the river; it is a tiger which devours me, but I am the tiger; it is a fire which consumes me, but I am the fire.”
It would seem, nonetheless, that living things struggle to defy anitya, to resist change.
But the physiological constancy required by life can only be achieved in what physicists label an “open system,” which receives regular inputs of energy and material from elsewhere. In the case of living things, this means that even the temporary, seeming defiance of impermanence can only occur via a never-ending introduction of new stuff.
Paradoxically, maintaining a state of apparent constancy (i.e., life) requires continual openness to change, in this case exchange with an organism’s environment. When that exchange ceases, so does life.
Paradoxically, maintaining a state of apparent constancy (i.e., life) requires continual openness to change, in this case exchange with an organism’s environment. When that exchange ceases, so does life.