Scientific evidence suggests life began on earth about 4 billion years ago. It appeared once. That’s it, one time - and evolved into the variety of sizes, shapes, and forms we see today. Did life spontaneously arise? Did it come from somewhere else? No one knows. But one thing is for sure. The story for how life came into being must have been nothing short of miraculous. To fully appreciate why, you have to understand its inner workings. Even the simplest bacterium is an amazing arrangement of chemicals synchronized in an almost unfathomably complex symphony. Not robotic like anything a human would build, but flexible and adaptable. The numerous parts are in a constant state of motion, continually being degraded and replaced. The parts are often redundant, and the tasks aren't always accomplished the same way each time. Out of a noisy background of seemingly random and unnecessary exertion, precise results are achieved. But not too precise. Just imprecise enough to allow for small differences among individuals. The group can't consist only of clones, materially or behaviorally. The differences ensure that at least some individuals survive, and even thrive, when faced with changes to their environment. But too much variation spells catastrophe just as too little prevents survival. There's a small window that enables success. The machinery of life is finely tuned to these mathematical realities, made possible by complex chemical cooperation. That's what life really is. Cooperation among individuals and groups of chemicals to ensure that they all collectively persist. We are all collectives. Collectives of molecules, cells, individuals, families, and groups. When you begin to understand how life works, it quickly becomes apparent that it was never inevitable. It is not common. Life is precious. It is special. And all life is deserving of our respect. Behold it in awe and wonder. Through reading Sudden Onset, we hope you will gain a new appreciation for the miracle we call life.