daily preciousness

Monday, March 03, 2003

dna

"The data landscapes..."

Zarathustra reminds, "You

must look beyond them!"

I kept muttering this to myself, amid the din of the telepopmusik playing on my iPod. It was a perfect mantra for a morning jog last Wednesday.

I live in a landscape of information, everyday, sheltered (and sheltering myself) amongst books and other data storage media. And I take people by the hand – sometimes literally – to find the "right" information for them. (At least I try to find the "right" information for them, even if I’m not always successful....)

It's a comfortable existence. But I've been challenged recently by Henry. He's got strong religious convictions. And I envy him for that. I sometimes wish that I could believe that strongly in something that abstract, that intangible.

But something precludes that in me. I’m not sure what it is. I wonder where my heart is, why I can’t rely on a feeling to invest my belief in something. I wonder where my heart was, long ago, when I attended that Baptist Church, down the street, when I first faced my feelings of utter disbelief. "What are these people thinking?!?" I remember wondering.

And still I can't believe in a lot of what the church tells us to.

Wish I could, but I can't.

So I just do the dance of the secular information diva, bowing to the overlords of data, here at work, behind the info desk.

It is behind that desk that I first read the recent news of a major accomplishment in secular faith. It’s all about this little string of pearls – Quite the accessory for your trendy biologist this season!

It's been 13 years in the making, but we've completed it. We've made the maps to our bodies, to our minds, and perhaps to other things. The little code is mapped out. Formally. Or at least 98 percent of it is....

The good news went out just last week. I read it in the Borneo Bulletin and the People's Daily online of China.

"We have succeeded in decoding all the chapters of the instruction book for human life."

And in a nice twist, it's the 50th anniversary of the discovery of DNA.

How sweet is that?

True, each base pair has only been sequenced on average four times... and molecular biologists are the type of folk who like to check their work like... ten times... not just three or four times. So we've got a little ways to go. But we're headed in the right direction.

So we're living in a Genetic World.

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