poetry, philosophy, science - sifted through me, as I am

Monday, 27 December 2010

Our fossilized beauty

The recent unearthing of my childhood fossils and stones collection has resonated with my belief in the gradual structuring and reinvention of our human body over time.

I do not believe that we consist only of our isolated selves, our personal lifelong genes. We are not self-contained, pure and untainted within our skins; and current developments in microbiology and genetics give me encouragement in believing this.

What if each of us, when we were tapped with a little fossil hammer, broke open to reveal complex beauty? The beauty created by additional beings within us that have gifted their pattern to our make-up.

Maybe we have many quiet contributors within us that will not be revealed for a very long time, despite how clever we think we are in scientific terms. Until the relevant patch of earth cracks and crumbles, the true face of the stone will not be exposed to examination and awe.

What I am suggesting is that we are the sum of many people - past and present - and also many other things, so that our physiology and health may get a little improved, or a little worsened over a period of our lives; or maybe both of these possible actions, in one lifelong balancing act.

The possibility that some creature could slip a few genes in to another unrelated creature simply by living with them was once thought to be extremely rare. Recent studies on intracellular bacteria and their hosts seriously question this view

When I look at the magnificent tracery of ancient fossils within my stone collection I'm excited about what we can learn in the near future about the greater complexity of our human body - if we are prepared to think inside and outside ourselves.


  1. Transfer of genes via bacteria or some such mechanism? Hadn't ever perceived of this in my thinking on the subject, although could you broadly include this mechanism in the 'environmental' bracket? I am still (unscientifically) convinced of an infinitely variable balance between genetic and environmental influence on an individual's personality and physiology, effectively making each one of us unique in some way. Call it empirical observational science, if you like (or not as the case may be!), just watching both my children and my parents and grandparent, given significantly differing proportions of these influences, I find some support (and comfort) from this view. I do, however, believe that it will be a very long time, if ever, before the complexity of the human body is understood, philosophically, let alone scientifically!

  2. I'm with you on the "empirical observational science" - I observed a few things before the relevant scientific research had been published. Having said that, my understanding (and continued wonder at the still undisclosed mystery) would be bare if it were not for a meandering serendipity over the past few years through microbiology, immunology, genetics, philosophy and mysticism - and also a wonderful crop of modern writers in their own ways representing the spirit of the age cross-fertilising fiction and fact, science and history (as in, everything that happened before today). If you want to see some more on the scientific side, have a look at my other blog
    Thanks for your thoughts - all the best with your new blog.

  3. Thanks for the link; I shall view with interest. New blog on Blogger.com only conceived, not yet born - FortyTwo refers to the answer to life, the universe and everything, of course, with sincere reverence to Douglas Adams. I also have a WordPress Blog at http://poetjanstie.wordpress.com/poems/2011-2/unreality/, where I recently posted what I suppose is called 'free verse' in the guise of poetry, on the subject of a recent BBC Horizon programme entitled 'What is Reality?'