We are the life that knows how it came to be, that can contemplate its future. We are the universe become conscious of itself. For four billion years life never even bothered to ask, and then-just 40 thousand years ago-life finally popped the question. But it was only yesterday that we grasped the answer we-all life-have evolved and will continue to do so. Wakened suddenly from our four billion-year slumber, our millennial stirrings, we find ourselves in the midst of an explosion. At the precise moment we have awakened, have come to know, we appear to be either life's fool, accelerating toward the brick wall of planetary finiteness, life's clever revolutionary headed toward the stars, or a sadder but wiser species yearning for Eden. As we struggle to come fully awake, we are not yet sure which it is-the fool, Captain Kirk, or a new Adam and Eve-but we suspect our self-assessment could, in itself, make a decisive difference.