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Sunday 28 July 2013

My new crush.

Anyone who can write a book entitled Genome and make it really interesting gets my cerebral vote.

I have to quote one part of a paragraph, that had me cheering from the rooftops.

"But no gene is an island.  Each one exists as part of an enormous confederation called the body.  It is time to put the organism back together again.  It is time to visit a much more social gene, a gene whose whole function is to integrate some of the many different functions of the body, and a gene whose existence gives the lie to the mind-body dualism that plagues our mental image of the human person.  The brain, the body and the genome are locked, all three, in a dance.  The genome is as much under the control of the other two as they are controlled by it.  That is partly why genetic determination is such a myth.  The switching on and off of human genes can be influenced by conscious or unconscious external action."

(Matt Ridley, GENOME, The Autobiography of a Species, Fourth Estate)

This book was published in 2000 and is still recommended reading for Biology students.  It is also science for Idiots (like me!) - he does great analogies.

His explanations of how biology underpins the most basic of things but the interaction with the environment can unconsciously turn on genes that can run amok, makes much more sense than blaming your parents for your cancer/eating disorder/eye colour/shape of nose/ etc etc etc.

"It underscores yet again the fact that what we call personality is to a considerable degree a question of brain chemistry.  There are a score of different ways in which one chemical, serotonin, can be related to innate differences in personality.  These are overlaid on the score of the different ways that the mind's serotonin system responds to outside influences such as social signals.  This is the reality of genes and the environment: a maze of complication interactions between them, not one-directional determination"

(Matt Ridley, GENOME, The Autobiography of a Species, Fourth Estate)

This makes much more sense than this:

Guided imagery was my first specialty. This study still teaches me about symbols and how we can use a disguised language to work through problems we will not let ourselves know concretely. Dream analysis became part of this study.

This led me to 12 step programs and psychoanalysis simultaneously as I studied the grip of addiction and the power of memory, distorted memory and lack of memory. I also saw how a cognitive behavioral approach could be integrated into unconscious work and make the therapeutic experience more effective.

(Joanna Poppink, Healing your Hungry Heart, 2011)

1 comment:

  1. You point up the very important difference between the necessity of grounded, thoughtful, complex wisdom vs. attractive clouds.

    The former is harder to do but ultimately far more satisfying.