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Sunlight contains the entire spectrum of electromagnetic wavelengths we perceive as colors. Yet, by itself, sunlight is perfectly clear and colorless. When filtered through a prism the colors fan out into those we can perceive and some we can't.
Seawater contains all the elements of life, Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen, Nitrogen, Phosphorous, Sulfur, Sodium, calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, iodine; a total of 96 basic elements. Seawater, pure, filtered, open ocean seawater, is colorless and perfectly clear.
A living coral polyp on Sea's floor is visible, colorful, alive. Yet a qualitative analysis of the elements in a living coral polyp would reveal it is identical in composition with sea water. All of the same elements are present, but the concentrations of some, especially carbon, phosphorous, and nitrogen, are greater than in open sea water. The arrangement of the elements, and they way they move, is much different than in the open sea water and it is this arrangement and movement we see as a living coral polyp.
The colors of the living coral polyp result from the prismatic effect of certain organic molecules. The arrangement of the elements of sea inside tiny zooxanthellae between the coral cells alters the flow of sunlight to produce the pastel coral colors of green, blue, brown and yellow. Without these, the coral tissues themselves are almost as transparent as the sea water they are made of.
The nested communication webs of the coral changes the direction and speed of the elements as they pass through the coral.
The shifts in direction and linkages of the elements produces the movements the coral communication web uses to grab more elements from Sea, pulling them into itself, arranging the elements into patterns, breaking down old atomic relationships and throwing out residual elements to be replaced with new ones.
In 48 hours, the coral polyp I see on Sea's floor today will have all new elements, new atoms fresh from Sea.
So, if I look again at the coral 48 hours later, the "material" coral will be all new seawater. It will be moving using the energy of the sun, gathered by the zooxanthellae that very day.
If none of the original elements and none of the original energy remains in the fleshy coral tissues, what is it that does remain? It will still look the same to me, still behave the same, down to the smallest detail of the smallest cell.
What remains is the coral's communication network, the coral's perceptions, memories and responses in the process of changing the path of the elements of sea, using the energy from the sun.
There is no elemental difference between the sunlit Sea and the coral polyp; except the dance of awareness.
Mind, reflecting upon eons of perception, memory and response, within this magic sea.