Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Scoffing at the sacred cow

I enjoy ambivalence. Immensely. With this being the case, I recently compiled a list of ideas I held with certainty. First thing on the list: evolution!

Now, I don't know anything about evolution. Genetics? Nah. Intro to Biology? B+... easy class. And yet, I believe in evolution.

Not. anymore I don't! Now, I am thoroughly ambivalent. I am neither in or out. I float about.

How'd I do it? I read about sex. Not a picture book. Not a how-to (I have that pretty. well. covered.) Rather, why sex? In the sense of: lifeforms didn't always go bump in the night. Asexual reproduction (apparently?) once ruled the day. And then? Sex! Lots of it.

Here's what I really like: sex and reproduction... totally different. You see, reproduction is when one becomes two. Sex... however, takes two, and becomes one. And the explanations I've skimmed can't account for this at all... evolution doesn't know. It goes meh. Enter ambivalence. Lovely.

How about the turritopsis nutricula, or immortal jellyfish. It doesn't die of old age. It just doesn't. You, for instance, are probably living in a body that isn't keeping up with repairs. You are aging. It will kill you. This jellyfish doesn't age in one direction. It cycles. From maturity to immaturity, or, it goes from pre-to-post puberty... round and round. Hilarious, right?

So why isn't this a common biological move? What's the deal with aging? Can evolution account for that? Nah. At least, not particularly well.

I'll stop now, but I'll finish with this: I've noticed that, as I age, I keep sneaking towards certainties. So I must be on guard. I must actively combat this inertiatic move. And it's fun.

3 comments:

  1. Maybe the cycle never stops, especially for those who believe in reincarnation. This kind of a cycle of birth, death and rebirth is of course not similar to a jellyfish’s immortality, in that in reincarnation there is variation in each life that we reincarnate into, but the process of life on earth doesn’t necessarily stop for a person who believes in this concept.
    You write: “Here's what I really like: sex and reproduction... totally different. You see, reproduction is when one becomes two. Sex... however, takes two, and becomes one.”
    This is just beautiful. Bataille talks about exactly this notion in his book, Eroticism: Death and Sensuality. I highly recommend this book.

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  2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Queen_hypothesis

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antagonistic_pleiotropy_hypothesis

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