Part I: the gene
In the beginning there was nothing, and perhaps it should have remained that way.
Then, there was life — no heart or lungs or legs, but life regardless — and that life gave rise to another, and then there was life across the face of the blue planet, which fought the cruel tantrums of nature and won.
Through some series of wondrous mistakes, one life — which came many iterations after the gene — learned to talk and think, and to scorch the very earth it came from, to paint in the caves, to sing around the fire, to heal the sick and feed the weak.
It learned to kill the beasts it kept for food and warmth, to kill its brothers for pride and glory, to kill itself for the very sake of it, and it gave every other life a name they would not understand. It called itself human and declared itself the ruler of the world.
The human, since those days, has been searching for a sense of meaning, unwilling to realize what has always been evident: we are no more than a fallible concoction of uncertain ideas and empty space — skin over flesh, flesh over bones.
We are tangles of proteins and chemicals, built of abstract, unforgiving molecules, the stuff of mere probabilities.
We are the oscillations of the waves — rising, flying, crashing, in search of shores we will never reach. We are the lights that guide us to blind us, stardust chipped away from constellations now extinct. These are the things that we are made of, when we look past the fact that we are made of very nearly nothing at all.