Archives for posts with tag: DNA

Culture is to human communities what DNA is to biological species.

It transports vital information from one generation to the other. Hence providing a venue for survival.
Furthermore, both culture and DNA can change in time. Hence providing a venue for evolution.

The difference between culture and DNA being, of course, the fact that culture is way more fluid than DNA.
DNA changes only once for each generation – what you get at birth is what you’re taking to the grave, while culture is in constant flux.
No individual organism has anything to say about their genetic information but almost every human is capable of learning almost anything.

Now for the historical part.

Stage one.

Veneration of the elders. The elders were the depositories of the common knowledge. Hence everybody took good care of the ‘data bases’.

Stage two.

Somebody learned to write.
Elders were no longer indispensable. More and more information could be ‘warehoused’ in alternative ways.
A structure was needed to manage the new ways of dealing with the vital information.

Stage three.

The state is born.
At first the structures which insured that culture was passed from one generation to another had been rather empiric: kingdoms, monasteries, etc.
Soon after the Enlightenment things had become more rational. Cultured people became nations and the academic scholars gave us the state. As the structure charged to make sure that culture and people stay together. Hence providing for the nation’s survival.

States who had been in constant contact – read rivalry, kept each-other fit. Or else.
States ‘removed’ from reality – geographically, by becoming too powerful to care or both, had experienced a natural decay. The people at the top of the food chain had forgotten about those at the bottom and those at the bottom had lost faith in their leadership.

States too weak to survive – for various reasons, have succumbed while those too powerful for their own sake have eventually imploded.

Psychology to the rescue.

Culture is more fluid than DNA for a reason.
DNA follows exclusively the laws of nature while culture is heavily influenced by us.
We, men, are the measure of all things.
All life heavily transforms the place it inhabits.
So do we, humans. Only we do it willingly. On purpose, that is.

Now, that we have amassed so much information – about life in general and about how we relate, as agents, to the entire process, we have reached a reckoning moment. What next?

Are we going to choose the path of the cuckoo or that shown to us by Hokule-a?

There’s a lot of dry wood in the forests around us. It stays there for a while. Only from time to time something happens that starts a fire.

Fill a room with a mixture of oxygen and hydrogen – at ‘room temperature’, and nothing happens. Strike a match and… you get a big noise and a little water. Don’t try this at home, you won’t live to tell the story. The noise is really big.

White phosphorus has to be kept under water. Whenever it gets in contact with humid air at a temperature above 30 degrees Celsius it starts to burn. And it cannot be extinguished in any other way than by submerging the whole thing under water.

Put a TNT stick (make sure it isn’t dynamite) into fire and it will simply burn. Fuse it properly and it will detonate whenever you ‘tell’ it to.

Let’s consider life now.

All the chemical elements, and a huge number of the organic molecules, which are the building blocks of any living organism have been around for eons while ‘life’ is a relatively recent occurrence.

Males and females – both animals and plants, roam around freely. Yet no offspring appears before something happens between a male and a female. This – the need for something to occur outside the individual organism, is valid also for bacteria – they need certain conditions to multiply, and viruses – which need the assistance of other, suitable, organisms.

Whenever conditions are right enough, sooner or later ‘life’ will surely appear. Or so it has happened all over our Earth. Till now, at least.

Whenever a living organism follows it’s normal set of instructions – its DNA remains fully functional, everything goes ‘as advertised’. If, by any reason, enough DNA is damaged beyond repair, the hell breaks loose. Being diagnosed with Cancer is enough to blow up even the most stable mind.

I’ve kept the most striking similitude for the last.
Both combustion and life continue only as long as certain conditions are met. Both need enough oxygen and fuel/nutrition.

There are also two big differences between them. One regarding ‘time’ – the successions of ‘moves’ which constitute the processes, and the other regarding ‘space’.

Combustion follows a set of pre-existing rules.  The chemical composition of the combustible might change the ignition temperature but that’s all it can do. Or it may add – as it’s the case for explosives, the possibility of detonation. But, again, both combustion and detonation follow a set of rules which are valid ‘across the board’. For all combustible and explosive substances.

On it’s turn, life follows two broad sets of rules. It has to obey all those which govern chemistry and physics – read combustion and detonation, and, on top of that, it has it’s own set of detailed instructions. Which vary from species to species.

I’ve left for the end the difference regarding ‘space’ because this one is very simple.

‘Combustion’ will extend all over the place where combustible is ‘continuous’, in a single ‘event’, while ‘life’ is, by definition, about finite organisms which multiply to make ‘good use’ of the available resources.
This being the reason for which combustion stops whenever the combustible available in an enclosed place is exhausted while life can resist a certain period of ‘famine’.

I’ve reached the conclusion that thinking and digesting have very much in common.

Citarum 2

We can’t do it by our own. Those of us who don’t cooperate/speak with those around them, don’t have what to eat or what to think about.

Both processes imply three stages. Identification, absorption, use.
We use cultural models to identify both our food and the important issues.
Absorption – through our gut/conscience, is both highly specific to each individual and governed by our common DNA/shared cultural traditions.
The ‘products’ of the digesting/thinking process are, again, used both in public as well as in private. Part of the energy we get from our food is consumed ‘cooperatively’ with our ‘coworkers’ while most of our thoughts end up either verbally expressed or put in practice.

Both processes, digesting as well as thinking, increasingly change the environment where we, and others, live.

Citarum 1

În Decembrie 1989 manifestam în fața CC-ului pentru susținerea politicii partidului iar Ceaușescu ne promitea încă 100 de lei la salariu.

Ni s-a părut insuficient așa că ne-am mutat în Piața Universității.
Ceaușescu a înțeles mesajul, până la urmă, și s-a cărat.

În Ianuarie 1990, Iliescu și-a transformat Frontul în partid. Unii s-au ofticat și s-au întors în Piață.
Iliescu a aplicat metoda ‘câinii latră, ursul trece’.
Majoritatea a votat – în ‘Duminica Orbului’, minerii au venit să ‘facă ordine’ iar Iliescu s-a simțit dator să le mulțumească pentru spiritul lor civic.

Și uite-așa, ‘pe repede-nainte’, ajungem în Octombrie 2015.
Atunci când un incendiu catastrofal ne-a făcut să înțelegem cât de ‘ucigătoare’ este corupția.
Bine, incendiul acela a fost, de fapt, doar scânteia care a aprins mormanul de nemulțumire care mocnea deja… dar asta e altă mâncare de pește.

Partea proastă este că mulți se fac că nu pricep.
Sau poate că nu se prefac…

Cert este că la o lună după ce OUG 13 a scos din nou lumea în stradă, cineva a propus, în Parlament, să fie grațiate faptele de corupție (inclusiv cele care urmează să fie) săvârșite până la publicarea viitoarei/eventualei legi în Monitorul Oficial.

Se mai miră cineva că nu au trecut încă treizeci de ani de când strigam „Jos Securitatea” iar acum ‘oftăm’, din toți bojocii, „DNA, nu uita, noi suntem de partea ta!”?


‘Doar un singur click’ va desparte de un ‘fotoreportaj de la fata locului’.

Între timp se discută și despre legea salarizării unitare pentru bugetari. ” “Până la pragul de 4.000 lei salariile se dublează, după 4.000 lei este o creștere cu 45% a salariilor, iar după pragul de 7.000 lei sunt creșteri, dar nu foarte mari”, a afirmat ministrul Muncii. “.




Recentele intamplari ale caror protagonist a fost Sorin Oprescu, edilul sef al Bucurestiului, i-au cam mirat pe comentatorii vietii politice si sociale romanesti.

‘Cum sa mai faci asa ceva in situatia in care DNA-ul deja a ‘saltat’ oameni din primarie?’
‘Ies la iveala din ce in ce mai multe acte de coruptie in ciuda campaniei intense de combatere a acestui fenomen!’

Prima fraza este cat se poate de rezonabila, mai ales daca este luata separat.

Cea de a doua pare de-a dreptul ciudata. Din punct de vedere logic. Tot mai multe cazuri de coruptie ajung sa iasa la iveala tocmai datorita campaniei de combatere si in nici un caz in ciuda ei….

Indiferent de ‘ciudatenia’ ei, merita atentie
Genul asta de fraze sunt rostite de oameni de oameni care practica un stil de gandire extrem de rational, care elimina la rece orice urma de sentiment din procesul cognitiv. Analisti, nu? Din pacate acest mod de a percepe lumea nu este nici pe departe atat de infailibil pe cat se pretinde a fi.
In primul rand pacatuieste prin a atribui si celor analizati un mod similar de a vedea lumea – cum de au putut sa continue avand in vedere ce se intampla in jurul lor? – iar in al doilea rand ca nu tine cont de faptul ca nu prea poti sa intelegi ce se intampla in capul cuiva daca nu esti familiarizat, in mod real, cu modul sau de gandire si cu situatia in care se afla.

Pai nu?
Daca esti rational iti adaptezi instantaneu actiunile la reactiile pe care le-ai produs. Imediat ce s-au prins gaborii de cioaca bagi capul la cutie – te opresti din ce faceai – si strangi randurile – nimeni nu mai vorbeste nimic astfel incat totul sa ramana ingropat.
Abia acum intelegem cum adica ‘ies la iveala tot mai multe acte de coruptie in ciuda campaniei intense de combatere a acestui fenomen’. In viziunea celor care se mira de chestia asta atitudinea rationala ar fi fost ca nimeni sa nu mai spuna nimic.

Ei bine, in primul rand ca o atitudine cu adevarat rationala ar fi fost ca nimeni sa nu calce pe bec. De loc. Sau daca s-a intamplat si au auzit ca le trosnesc cioburile sub talpi sa se fi oprit de la primul sau de la al doilea. Faptul ca i-au dat inainte prin balarii nu denota prea multa rationalitate.
In al doilea rand coruptia asta nu se practica de unul singur.
Si daca in prima faza apartenenta la un grup de genul asta – chiar daca nu e organizat in mod mafiot – iti ofera un sentiment de siguranta, macar prin numar, descoperi foarte repede ca nu esti de capul tau. Adica nu poti sa te opresti atunci cand ti se pare tie ca ai ‘agonisit’ destul. Ceilalti au si ei pretentiile lor.

Si  uite asa, chiar daca intamplator ai inceput ca dirijor, ajungi sa joci dupa cum iti canta orchestra.

Solutia? Foarte simpla. Atata vreme cat functiile de decizie, indiferent care, vor fi platite prost, ele vor atrage doar pe acei oameni care stiu bine de la inceput ce ii asteapta. Iar daca cei din executie vor fi platiti si ei mizerabil atunci ii vor ajuta pe primii.
Varianta ar fi ca decidentii sa fie platiti bine iar cei din executie decent. In felul acesta vor fi atrasi si oameni cu adevarat capabili, care ii vor scoate din sistem pe cei nu doar coruptibili ci, mai ales, care isi ascund incapacitatea in spatele unei rigiditati de care nu poti trece – ca om care ai de rezolvat o problema – pana cand nu dai ‘o atentie’.

Iar pana nu vom intelege acest lucru situatia actuala se va mentine, indiferent de intensitatea cu care va lucra DNA-ul. Cei cu adevarat capabili vor ocoli genul acesta de slujbe iar noi vom avea de infruntat un hatis din ce in ce mai impenetrabil.
Si nu, cei cu adevarat capabili nu vor accepta sa se manjeasca, tocmai pentru ca isi cunosc valoarea si nu vor sa ‘plece’ in concedii obligatorii si extrem de prost platite.
Cu alte cuvinte salariile decente sunt doar o conditie, nu un panaceu. DNA-ul trebuie sa ramana vigilent. Ca si noi toti de altfel.

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