I haven't been in touch with Chemistry as a subject of study for several years now. Still- if I remember correctly, Si, Ge, Sn, Pb all have same number of electrons as Carbon in their outer orbits.
So why is Carbon so ubiquitous? I believe the number of electrons an element can give or accept decides how readily it bonds with other elements. For instance, inert gases have no room for extra electrons and hence, are inert.
So why don't other elements in the column of Carbon bond as easily? In other words, why aren't we made up of Pb primarily instead of C?
I remember asking this question to my high school chemistry teacher, but as far as I can remember, he wasn't able to give a satisfactory answer. Forgive me for asking this , if this question is too naive. But I genuinely wondered a lot about it back in my school days and still don't know the answer.