Which came first, the chicken or the egg? One answer is, “A chicken is how an egg reproduces itself.”

This entertaining puzzler is solvable, however, if you start thinking about patterns of relationships in time. It becomes entertaining philosophy instead; when relatedness-time replaces linear-time. I’ll explain with a true story…

A long time ago, when I moved from London to Plymouth and married a farmer’s daughter, I discovered country life. I discovered as a city boy, for example, where the milk comes from that I grabbed unthinking from supermarket shelves. It was years before I had the courage to ask my truly troubling question. How did a cockerel get its bits inside the egg to make it fertile for the next generation to break out? The shell seemed to me like an impenetrable barrier, no matter how hard the cockerel might try.

The answer to this conundrum is, of course, that the hen stores up the cockerel’s contributions over time. She naturally adds samples bit by bit into the growing production line of eggs inside her. This defeats linear time. Instead, it introduces a pattern of relationships into egg production. The relational pattern exists at the level both of the two fully-grown creatures, and at the level of their combining cells safely kept warm within one of them.

Am I making sense now? I’m nearly there, but not quite yet…

Chicken is to hen, as pork is to pig. Chicken as meat does not have active relationships. Six eggs in a box do not interact dynamically. Neither do eggs in a nest lying alongside their tranquil neighbours.

Life emerges from the relational chaos of a farmyard, or a garden, where cockerels chase hens around, and hens tell cockerels where to get off. Which came first, dynamic informational relationships, or living forms? Life begins growing as relationships grow first!