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When the earliest mariners were compelled by unassailable forces to sail their flimsy vessels, riding the waves of uncharted oceans, they relied mostly on intuition and hopes. The forces instigating their decision to put out to sea were most compelling, because then there were not known or reliable instruments to fix their positions in their unsophisticated charts and the hazards of their treks were most real. Despite the dangers ahead, they were inexorably compelled to risk their lives, travel, and accept the perils matter-of-factly. And travel they did.
My thoughts, in keeping with my theory of the DNA hardwiring, is that Mother Nature has taught us that She never leaves anything to chance. As for most contingencies, she has equipped us with instinctual tendencies to guide us, tendencies that we now call talents or intuitions.
How do we discern who would be the first astronomer ever to emerge? We can"t, the prospective astronomer, some day will find it for himself, as a revelation or a drive, and will follow his calling. On this vein, we cannot envisage that every subsequent astronomer would be a Galileo, as we cannot imagine that every child that scribbles on paper will turn out, some future day, to be a Rubens-we just say that the predisposition exists and that nature would take its proper course in due time. In my speculations I also allow for the impact of excellence, mediocrity, and missed opportunities. Not everyone following his call will excel, not everyone will rise to excellence, and not everyone will find his call on time to follow it-thus missing it, and terminating in a vocation different from the one that, for the for the collective well-being, he was originally programmed.
For the missing of opportunities is why Nature assured the outcome of its plans, maintaining a fund of duplicating redundancy.
Since, (if my hypothesis is valid) we are predisposed by nature to our professional calling; rudiments of proof of our innate proclivities must have been present through history, from the beginning of time. The alchemist came first, as precursor of the chemist, the witch doctor as precursor of the priest and the doctor. The gossiper comes easily as prototype of the tabloid publicist and of the press. The venal liar, as precursor of politicians, money lenders, money changers or bankers -in this fashion we can extend the list at infinitum, the real challenge resulting in being able to discern accurately the occupational configuration of the antecedents of a newly developed occupation. For example, who were the equivalents of the Hugh Heffners of the world before Playboy could be published? Who was the herald of the Sharon Stones in her kinky performances-those who sell their nudity and sexuality to the motion picture industry? I want to know an answer to these questions to be able to place them and their ancestry in a table of vocational antecedents modeled after D. I. Mendeleyev"s Periodic Table of Elements.
The need to test my theory rests in my observations of humans and animals. It"s apparent that we have basic ranges of possibilities from which to choose adaptations; and that the adaptations must correspond to the behavioral repertoire available to us.
For example, the Monarch butterfly or the migrant birds, do not decide that they should travel to their spawning grounds, obeying a signal originating somewhere. They just flight. The salmon does not choose self-immolation in order to achieve self-preservation; what the salmon do is what is commanded by some agent to do. The wildebeest stampedes at preordained times, crisscrossing the savannahs and losing to lions and hyenas countless heads of their herd, and the apian colony functions efficiently in the same fashion ant and termite colonies do-the work gets distributed; specialized members of the colony are identified and produced in a timed manner to make their appearance when it would benefit the colony as a whole. These type of balancing of species" sheet is done by means of mechanisms we fancy to call "instinctual". But, since we believe that there is nothing so lowly as to be regarded as merely instinctual in us-the ones of the largest brain-we prefer to think, instead, that our selections, behavioral patterns, and choices are example of our free will-thus my premise may turn out to be false.
I subscribe to a different way of thinking. I believe that species always come equipped with a set of narrowly established behavioral repertoire for its adaptation. It"s not up to a spider to weave a fanciful web with filigree and lace, the spider can only entwine one kind of a net-the one her species has programmed her to weave. The spider always constructs her cobweb in the one and only manner she has been programmed to weave, and it does so because in so doing depends her survival.
Sharks, dolphins, and marine denizens are born endowed with innate indicators that permit them to fathom, instinctively, the depths for which her bodies are built and the duration of a dive without risking drowning. They do not go to school to learn "how to do their thing," it comes naturally to them in a package of behaviorally inborn inventory. Nature acts with greater care with those of the smaller brains.
For us is different. Part of the complex construct we fancy to call free-will is merely an extension of what could be understood as the nest building freedom of bower birds-not two of them build identical nests, yet all of them mate and reproduce precisely in the exact same manner and during the same period of heat-but bower birds are not intelligent as we are, you may dispute-true, I respond.
The idea of our free spirit if it indeed does freely exists, has to be carefully examined before we appropriate and shine on ourselves the flame of the temple of demigods. Our so-called "free will" is a relatively narrow concept, subject to numerous intervening variables that, at times render the notion as more will and less freedom. It would be unimaginable to estimate the chances that in the lineal scientific, and cultural progression of our species took place; as men in different places, at different times, while thinking in complementary ways, produced (by making the same discoveries) a coherent and cohesive edifice of progress.
The mind-boggling phenomenon, to which I hint, of discoveries being made by men working at considerable distance from each other, and in ignorance of what the others were doing; yet, historically arriving at the same conclusion or discerning the same phenomena, speaks out to me more of predetermination than chance-in other words in the natural progression, that a particular event was programmed, somehow, to happen at the time it happened. I"d realize this measly explanation has a lot to be desired, but does anyone have a better one?
We are essentially nomads. We have migrated more frequently and farther asunder in history than any other living organism-excepted are our microscopic brethren (the microbes), roaches, and rodents frequent travelers of opportunity in (our bodies or following) us. Our imperative to journey is so powerful that has resulted on our travels to the planets, to the bottom of the seas, and to anywhere wayfaring can be fancied or envisioned.
To prepare us for these wide choices of intelligent trekking, Nature gave us the enormous brain and the intuitive creativity to compensate for the wings or other organs we came, to this world, without.
Coincidences and convergences
Alfred Russell Wallace and Charles Darwin laboring under different circumstances in places considerably distant from each other and without one having met the other, arrived at the very same conclusions that led them separately to advance individually the Theory of Evolution.
The glut of such coincidences, abound in the archives of science and world history with such frequency, that it would seem futile for me to provide a list. Equally is perplexing the seeming unleashing of a chain of social upheavals resulting in dictatorships being overthrown, systems of government banished, liberty arriving to countries at unison, wars being started, and scientific paradigms being supplanted. Discoveries seem to have been made, at times, amidst an atmosphere that facilitated for the discoveries to happen in concert.
Explorations, musical periods, rebellions, social transformations, all seems to be predetermined by an "invisible hand," acting in much the same inexplicable manner as Adam Smith postulated in Economics for his own convenience.
These phenomena, to some are mere coincidences; to me they indicate a more profound organization and a sense of predetermination.
I"m sure that everybody has, at some time in life confronted a mystifying experience, an event that defied logical explanation in terms of physical laws, as we know them. I have had many such coincidences in life-events that in their complexity and incidence could"ve only be explained by cosmic (perhaps?) intercession. I"ll relate one such event; two years ago, almost to the day, Meg and I were headed from Taos to Albuquerque to meet her mother and sister at the airport. They were coming to spend a few days visiting, staying near us in a cabin we rented for them in the vicinity of our own dwelling.
I am admittedly an inexperienced and unenthusiastic driver in the winter snow-but drive I had to. We departed for the airport early in the morning, after snow had fallen in and around Taos and the surrounding mountains the entire night before. The weather was clear and the road poorly traveled but plowed. We had to traverse in our journey elevated ridges and negotiate steep mountains, driving frequently on the edge of many precipices and gorges. It was not a trip that I would have taken for leisure.
To expand our knowledge, during a trip of some duration, we often listen to books on tape. One such book was playing on the deck, while I drove and Meg maintained an eye on our maps. Incidentally, I had never heard before of the term "black ice," a concept that awaited its surprising introduction to me ahead on the road. We had entered a winding section of the highway that reproduced in the space of half-a-mile a perfect serpentine letter "S," hanging precariously at the edge of a profound ravine. The metal barrier, guarding the gulch in that particular location, had been missing some time for unknown reasons; what it meant was that any automobile abandoning the road in that particular spot would experience a free fall to the bottom.
We had traveled the first loop of the "S," approaching the area where the road narrowed down, bringing us closer to the edge of the canyon, and to the place where the protective obstacle was missing. All of a sudden (as I hit a black ice spot) I felt the car entering a rapid spin that I could not control. The car spun first to the left, in the direction of the median and then to the right towards the threatening chasm. I vaguely remember having been told once that one steers in the direction (or was it away?) from a spin. I could see Meg"s terrified expression with the corner of my eye, while I felt hopeless --- suddenly I felt the force of powerful hands grabbing my wrists and skillfully turning the wheel right-and-left-left-and right until we headed straight, out of the spin, but toward the open cliff-then and there, having lost speed, I considered, for the first time during the rotation, the use of the brake pedal, which I gentle applied bringing the spinning car to a halt. We continued our trip as if nothing had really happened. We did not even talked about this incident for long.
Some time later I mentioned it to a theologian friend who professes skepticism about divine intervention at those levels; he has reasons to doubt these things, as his son died in a fiery freak accident caused by a drunken motorist-why should divine power intervene? I agree. But where did I draw from, to account for my expert and flawless behavior in the face of certain death? Where did the strong hands (I intensely felt grabbing my wrists) come from? And why did I not follow my first impulse, to slam on the brakes the moment I sensed danger, sending us to a certain death? I don"t know, and really no one else does. But this and other similar coincidences have lead me to believe that perhaps, if we don"t hazard our lives unnecessarily, that a predetermined force would act correctively in our favor until our time has come or until an assigned task to us is completed.
When I say above, "If we don"t hazard our lives," there escapes a hint of my recognition of a free will. Perhaps there is one; I just don"t think that is all that free.
The Economist published for January 1st, 2000 is a veritable scholarly masterpiece of a magazine, one that besides being read and assimilated gradually deserves to be consigned to the bookshelves for repeated consultation and enjoyment. The obituary of this particular issue is, (wouldn"t you guess it?) the Obituary of God-truly, it deserves to be read and appreciated.
Of course God"s demise was predicted in the 1900s when this millennium was about to begin-the learned of then, prophesized that this century, properly the beginning of the third thousandth of the birth of Christ, would be the millennium of the end of religion, asserting that God was dead.
In this millennium, and mainly in this past century, progresses in the areas of physics and communications have dwarfed any progress we have made previously. Interstellar travel, man setting foot on the moon. The discovery of, harnessing, and the release of nuclear energy. The great wars, and the many smaller wars (fought continually), of ethnic and religious origin, the environmental catastrophes, the thinning of the ozone layer, the development of the Internet; among many and nameless inventions and discoveries that truly boggle the mind.
In the backdrop of these advances are the progress made in biological science. The discovery of the DNA structure, the birth of the field of genetic engineering (with moral and ethic issues that need to be addressed), and the possibility, not only of cloning human beings, but of have designer engineered children. The potential for euthanasia as our ability for the prediction of the transmission of poor genes is refined, constitutes a great conundrum of immense concerns to ethicists and moralists.
The past century, just gone only three days ago, saw the erection and the deconstruction of the infamous Berlin Wall, the rise and fall of Communism, the emergence and the decline of dictatorships in all of Latin America; as it witnessed the racial integration (in paper, anyway) of the United States with the official adoption of the principles and doctrines of the Civil Rights Movement.
South Africa and apartheid became an anachronism worthy of being confined to the darkest pages of history. Nazism, Fascism, and Communism (in the form of viable governments) disappeared. Monarchies have been reduced progressively to cosmetic luxuries whose cost some peoples enjoys defraying. But something that puzzles me remains in the form of the lingering villains that still remain entrenched in office as gadflies thumbing their noses at the rest of humanity. Saddam Hussein, Fidel Castro, Muammar al-Quadaffi, Kim Jong Il, Joaquín Balaguer, and many other petty-tyrants that have, when their presence is no longer justifiable, and who have prevailed (with rogue nations" support) despite the cruelty and pain they impose to their victimized people.
This phenomenon of the residual scoundrel that escapes punishment, of his ability of enticing support from nations that have abandoned similar past and brutal ways-while struggling for reform. This uncanny contradiction that whenever the head of a malignant regime is severed, or when a pernicious idea is declared obsolete; that if by magic intervention, an ideological hydra emerges replacing the missing head with myriad new heads operating as revitalized reenergized agents of the defunct ideology or system of government.
Why is it that, more often than not, when believe to have finally slain the monster of our nightmares that the scornful monster returns?
Hercules slain the Hydra
I think that this is so because is such a ubiquitous occurrence that it must predetermined by (whatever it is) the force that maps our actions and controls our destinies in the service of the natural and collective well being. Why should this force preserve what we consider undesirable or disgusting? Because it must operate with a larger perspective in mind, a perspective that transcends our own personal preferences whether, we like it or not. So, the timing for the evanescing of Saddam or of Fidel may never come; his ideas (of which few he"s got) can become a movement, which in keeping with the model of the Catholic Church, will continue to linger on into the third millennium and yonder. What may happen is that in the very nature of its staying power resides the seeds that would transform his doctrines, as they persist into something that, not even himself, could recognize (remember Dostoevsky"s "Parable of the Grand Inquisitor"?) For that very same reason some thinkers contend that if Jesus would roam again, the world of today, that he would not be able to believe how strangely his doctrines are being applied or relate to his teaching as seen in the various cults prophesying to uphold his "Christianity."
De esta manera es como concibiera la Regla del DNA, hace tantos años…
Larocca, F: (2007) La Regla del DNA en monografías.com
Dr. Félix E. F. Larocca
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