More Profound Things: The Living
* Human Matter Matters: We are starstuff (and Big Bang stuff too). It's pretty much to realize that all the elements (except hydrogen) that makes you, you, once-upon-a-time stayed in the interior of a massive star (s). Does that make you hot 'stuff? Of course all that makes you, you – all of the fundamental bits and pieces like electrons and quarks – can be traced back to the Big Bang. That's even more substantial, though being 'Big Bang stuff' is probably not poetic as being composed of 'starstuff'.
* Spooky Observations at a Distance: When you look up at the night sky, a) is someone or something is looking back at you, or b) is not one or nothing is looking back at you? Either scenario is substantial when you think of the implications.
* We Gotta Walk-That-Walk: That we have a total upright bipedal gait, without benefit of a balancing tail, is something totally unique and therefore something anomalous in the animal kingdom, despite all the obvious disadvantages. What disadvantages? For one, obviously, it's a lot easier to fall down when you're standing on two legs relative to four, six, eight or more. Falling over can result in serious consequences, especially if there is not anyone else around to come to your aid. Secondly, going bipedal called for a radical shift in our skeletal structure as well as in related musculature and organ attachment. A bipedal gait must therefore be not only revolutionary but really of evolutionary importance. But that substantial observation leads to another anomaly. If a bipedal gait without the encumbrance of a balancing tail is such a significant improvement, why have not more animals undergone that shift?
* We Face Facts: Human Facial Features. Say you are shown a photograph of the face of a short, bald, chubby, 30-ish white male. Say you are shown a photograph of the face of a chimpanzee; the face of a lion; an Indian elephant; a grizzly bear, a koala bear, a brown rat; a German Shepard, a wallaby, a bottlenose dolphin, a pelican, an ostrich, a cobra snake; a Nile crocodile, a green tree frog; a tuna fish, a lobster, a German cockroach; a black ant; a house fly, a huntsman spider, even a flea. Now, here you stand in a police line-up looking at five short, bald, chubby 30-ish white males, five chimpanzees, five lions, etc. etc. Match the original facial photograph with one of the five suspects! While a match is likely in the case of the human males, it's going to be on average pure guesswork with any other species or breed of species without the individual in question had some very unique and atypical facial feature. Now, the substantial question is, why do humans have unique facial features while the rest of the animal kingdom does not. How do you tend to recognize a human? First and foremost by his or her face. This is all very odd because it is so very unique, yet very substantial.
Equally as meaningful, not only do we have unique facial features, but racial facial features. Take four 'passport' photos of a Caucasian, a Negro, an Asian, and an Australian Aboriginal 30-ish something male and photoshop them so that all are exactly the same shade of gray. It would still be easy to match the face to the race. What's great here is that those racial facial features evolved, for reason (s) unknown, within the time a small group of Homo sapiens migrated out of Africa just rough 50,000 years ago.
* Memory, Creativity and Chemistry: Like a book or an LP, like a film strip or a DVD, like a painting / photograph or a CD, like computer software or a tape recording, the human mind houses a record of events which we call memory. Unlike these other physical media every time your mind does a replay, it can value-add to that memory. You may have a memory for how make pizza, but unlike the recipe in the cookbook, you can be creative and change the recipe. All of that memory / creativity is based in chemistry, specifically neurochemistry, which, unlike all other kinds of chemistry, makes that possible. How, I do not begin to comprehend, but it is so, and it is rather substantial upon reflection.
* Our Family Tree is Kaput: All our human ancestors are extinct. Something is screwy somewhere! I mean there have been dozens of separate and apart hominoid / hominid species that separate modern Homo sapiens from our nearest still living adults, the chimpanzees. All those in-betweens have gone extinct, for reason (s) unknown. That all would have succumbed to, whatever, seems to defy probability. Many many of those hominoid / hominid species shared many of our survival traits like possessing a reliably high degree of intelligence, tool making, group cooperation when hunting-gathering, etc. There's no rational explanation offered up by paleoanthropologists that explains this. There's not even that 'easy' answer of Homo ('shoot-first-and-ask-questions-later') sapiens being the fall 'guy' here. 'Modern' humans had not of been thought up yet in anyone's evolutionary philosophy when most of these extensions took place.
* Not a Ghost of a Chance: It's also pretty substantial when you have every human culture and society from across all time frames believe in the reality of a phenomena that modern science rejects as pseudoscience or supernatural and paranormal nonsense, and it is not just life-after-death or an afterlife but an actual identical manifestation of same. Some call them ghosts, wraiths, spirits, and phantoms – whatever. Actually I view (not that I actually have) ghosts, etc. as further evidence that we 'exist' in a Simulated (Virtual Reality) Universe, but that's another story for another time.