Posts Tagged ‘science’

The world is not atomized

To be clear, I DID IT, TOO

Several years ago, I briefly joined a Facebook group for administrators of inspirational pages. I was deeply discomfited by the group, members of which spent much more time talking about how to get more page and post likes than how to inspire people. The proper formula at that time was just the right quote pasted on just the right pretty picture; many admins were perturbed when sharing algorithms changed so that Facebook began sharing fewer pictures.

Troubled, I wrote that I didn’t feel inspiration resided in the number of people able to see a post. Maybe one person who really needed to see a post would see it, and than an “unsuccessful” post would’ve made a world of difference to that one person. The good it worked on them would ripple outward in lovely ways, so that a post’s reach would go far beyond what some statistic on Facebook revealed.

Each post I read there left me more unnerved. I couldn’t articulate the feeling then, but it was a sensation like: We’re putting numbers over people. This technology is turning us into marketers and targets, not humans engaging with other humans.

I left the group. I eventually left Facebook, too, and found myself better able to see human beings in all their splendor after doing so.

I was on and off Twitter. I even ended up deleting my Instagram account last November, after realizing that, too, was somehow messing up how I perceived real people. In December, I wrote in “Sunlight & friends“:

Something delightful happened after I deleted my Instagram account last month: I stopped thinking of my friends as the two-dimensional representations they share there, and started remembering them as who my heart knows them to be.

I hadn’t even realized I’d been boiling them down to their most superficial selves until I was no longer doing it.

Reading a copy of Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business last week, I was floored to find old concerns addressed with such deference to history, present, and future. That’s to say, in 1985, a scholar I’d never heard of was publishing a book that’d help 2017 me begin to find words for things I felt silly for finding disturbing. Read more…


Dream, reach, explore, Endeavour

Space research: fascinating, but not an especially good use of money with our own world full of hunger and unresolved needs. That’s how I would have characterized my take on space research early last year, before I read a couple of compelling posts on its merits.

Thanks to changes in thought and heart rippling out from my reading those posts, I knew enough to stand atop a roof and watch for the space shuttle Endeavour as it passed over my office today.

That shuttle was not so very long ago among the stars. It was among the stars because we have minds great enough to dream up, create and send not only technology but life into space. With minds out there great enough to accomplish these things, I cannot help but have faith that time will see many more wonders worked both in the sky and on our own home planet.

To do things, we must first dream them. As I stood and watched the shuttle fly by, I was heartened by the vastness of human dreams, and by the amazing impacts of our drive to see them come true.

And let us hope that all the other leaders in all the other fields look up into the night sky and ask, “What do I want?  Would I be happiest to see the stars from here on Earth, or to fly amongst them?”
— Kristina, “Want Versus Need…Stuff and Space

FTIAT: Living Systems

Andrew (Lucid Dreams & Saturn Skies) intrigues me with the merger of meditation and the macabre on his blog. It’s a unique merger that keeps me coming back for more.

He shares my love of horror, and has even helped feed my own with his horror stories.  I enjoy reading his blog features about terrifying things–more so when they’re fictional than when they’re true!–but am equally fond of his reflective posts.

Recommended post: As the Life of A Flower

Living Systems

Initially, when Deb approached me about FTIAT, I drew a blank. It isn’t that I don’t have gratitude for all the wonderful people and things in my life – I do. It was that I couldn’t quite find a way to express what I wanted to express. That coupled with the craziness surrounding the last semesters of my undergrad career led me to put the project in my digital dustbin. However, a recent conversation with a close friend and another invitation from Deb conspired to swat me upside the head with inspiration.

Hang on to your hats folks. Things are about to get science-y!

You see, I am a biology major (and a business major, in the interest of full disclosure). Naturally, I find the science fascinating. So does one of my closest friends, who is enrolled in her first college biology class at the moment. It’s kind of funny how minds can meld during a close friendship, even if said brains are separated by thousands of miles. (My friend lives in Alaska.) You see, as I recall it, she and I were basically struck by the same pseudo-epiphany almost the same day, and it was that conversation that led to this post.

The more I study biology, the more I am amazed that any living system works at all. We are used to thinking of our body as a single whole, but that could not be further from the truth. In reality, each and every one of us are a super colony of trillions upon trillions of interconnected and symbiotic cells and bacteria.

All of the intricate structures that make up our bodies are either made of cells or are secreted by said cells. Said cells are regulated by the genetic code: DNA. The acronym DNA is tossed around quite a bit, thanks to shows like CSI and NCIS, but as with many of the other acronyms we use on a daily basis, many use it without knowing what it’s short for. DNA stands for deoxyribonucleic acid, and it acts as the molecule that confers inheritance. In a basic biological sense, if not a psycho-spiritual one, DNA makes you you.

Crazy, right? You know what’s crazier? At the end of the day, DNA is just a bunch of stringy white goop. Seriously. One day in lab I was twirling a bunch of fruit DNA we’d isolated on the end of a glass stir rod, amazed that this pulpy looking gunk was quite literally the stuff of life.

That white stringy gunk is responsible for everything. It contains within it the recipe of life. Somehow it can direct all the varied cells to find their proper place in the body. Not only that, it contains within it code for the mechanisms that allow said cells to communicate with one another, to divide, and even to kill themselves.

What is more, DNA is the code for all known life. From bacteria to elephants to people, all organisms use the same molecule both to replicate themselves and to provide the recipe for their living bodies. It’s all wonderfully complex and, especially for those trying to unravel life’s mysteries, often very confusing.

So you might be wondering at this point what I am thankful for. Life itself. Not only is how it works amazing, but it’s amazing that it works in the first place!

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