Every year in January it is blowing in our living room: we call it Amaryllis, but actually this is a category of plants and this one does not belong to this category anymore which had been redefined in the beginning of the 20th century. The correct name for this wonderful flower is “Ritterstern (Hippeastrum)” and most probably the ones we can buy her are hybrids.
Usually in November we buy an onion on the Hochheimer Markt. A pot with soil and some water here and then are sufficient to create a huge and impressive flower growing with dramatic pace. This years exemplar is very impressive: three flower stalks, two have opened meanwhile, one showing five instead of the usual four flowers.
Everytime I am looking at this beautiful flower I start thinking about the power of nature and the meaning of life. How can something so wonderful arise from the simple onion within two month, just by adding some soil and water to it ? And why is this plant spending all that effort to show up in such a nice costume ? Of course the question might be silly since a plant most probably does not have an own will. But evolution created this life form in a way so that it focuses pretty much on showing up as a beautiful being. Why ?
Objective certainly is to attract insects to foster reproduction of its own. Reproduction of is own – is this the only meaning of life ? How would the plant look like if this would not be its primary objective ? Would it just drive out some green leaves and that would be it ? What then would be the meaning of its existence ? As far as I can tell it is not useful as food for other life forms. Actually it is poisonous, since it contains the alkaloid lycorine, which can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and convulsions. There might be some use in medicine though.
How would we human beings looks like if reporiduction would not be our main motiviator ( is it actually ?) ? What would we do all day long when not working ? Less time in the bath room, less spending for fashion, clothes and cosmetics ? How would we define esthetics ?
As life forms started spreading on this planet the objective to focus pretty much on reproduction made a lot of sense. But is this a reasonable objective nowadays as our planet is getting smaller and smaller for all of us ? We are running out of space and resources, thus shouldn’t our primary objective change to something like reducing our reproduction rate ? Shouldn’t we all start looking more ugly now ? Or shouldn’t evolution develop some means to shorten our life span ?
It is really amazing what thought can arise from just looking at plant as beautiful as this Hippeastrum.