Essence - 本質 - Běnzhí
When admiring a wall-scroll,
do not examine the ink or paper.
When meeting the artisian,
forget about the brush.
Searching for the meaning of life in the microscopic mechanisms of the biochemical is akin to judging a painting simply by analyzing the pain. It may be interesting in some way, but it will invariably miss the point. An idea expressed through an imperfect media cannot be deconstructed scientifically.
Study the mechanisms at work in the world, but do not constrain yourself or your mind by these constructs. An artistic genius may leave a paint brush behind, but you cannot recreate the mind of an artist through the use of one of his tools. In the same way, life cannot be understood as the mere interplay of mechanistic forces. Aspects of whole can be comprehended through physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, and other sciences, but the parts must be placed together to form a comprehensive outlook. All too frequently, we find ourselves mesmermized by the minutiae of life's details that we lose track of our place and our purpose.
The essence of life cannot be known by any individual who merely seeks to observe, as a viewer looking upon a subject. The absolute, the essential nature of life can only be known through merging with the currents of life and becoming entirely one with the movements of the universe.