continued from previous
“In fact, this wouldn’t surprise me at all. It would be perhaps the missing perspective in our understanding of life, and the way that our genetic code has been put together in a disordered, yet ordered way. All of this time science has been focusing on the sequences within our DNA that have “meaning”, that encode genes, and labeling the rest of our genetic code, the sequences that we do not understand, as “junk” just because they seem to not encode for anything. Yet it is this junk DNA that represents the vast majority of our code. It is like the dark matter of the universe: just because you can’t see it it doesn’t mean that it has no purpose. It creates negative space, and negative space creates structure. We’ve just been so biased up to now – focusing only on the aspects of our DNA that create. What if there are also aspects of it that have other purposes? Maybe to even destroy? What if the end result of who we are is a balance between these two forces of creation and destruction? After all, isn’t this what life is?
“Erm…I guess…” – said Olivia, looking puzzled, yet intrigued. This mix of biology and existentialism was John’s own brand of philosophy that had always attracted her to his writings.
“I mean, what we as scientists perceive as chaos, what we perceive as rogue elements within our DNA, may actually be vital components of it, and just as important as the parts that create order and encode genes. It is just like our concept of mutation: it causes cancer, but without it we know that we would have no process of evolution. Yet we still consider mutation an error, although error and random chaos are essential components of who we are as a species, as a life form on this planet. It may be chaos that seems to be tearing us apart right now, but let’s not forget that it was exactly the same chaos that brought us together, that actually put us together in the first place, that put this planet together out of fire and ice. We are made from chaos itself. But rather than surrendering to the beauty, the bizarre balance of the chaos that created us, we are creating more unnecessary chaos out of our obsession to control, to bring more order into our life”.
John walked over to the bench and grabbed his notebook, opening it up to the page with the drawing. He lifted it up to Olivia:
“This drawing might look harmonious, it may look beautiful as a whole. But when you look at individual parts of it, you notice the chaos. You see the destruction. Can you see it?”
“See, I knew that this had something to do with what we were doing here!”, said Olivia smiling at John. “And I get you. I see your point. And I can’t believe we’ve just had such a deep talk when its barely 10:30 in the morning!”
“But seriously, I understand what you mean” – Olivia said while looking up at John, as her voice took on a serious tone and the smile faded from her face. For a few seconds, they both felt like they were being carried away by the ocean currents within the drawing. They felt small and insignificant against the chaos. They felt the futility of science, the unavoidable destiny of being a mortal, chaotic life form. Of being a human, perfectly imperfect. Or imperfectly perfect?
from the upcoming novel A New Earth
to read from the beginning, go here
George is an author, researcher, podcast host, chemist, molecular biologist and food scientist. You can follow him on Twitter @99blackbaloons , listen to his Spotify podcast George reads George, sign up for blog alerts below, or enjoy his books