Magnifying the 97% Mystery

The media is all abuzz about the discovery of the actual function of 97% of the human DNA, previously labeled as “junk.” Published reports from The Encode Project, involving teams of basic research scientists from across the globe, have stated that this heretofore wasteland of cellular matter, lo and behold, actually plays an important role in regulating activity within the cell; thus opening doors to a much more personalized approach to medical care for each of us.

 

Bravo to our basic research scientists and the federal funds used to jumpstart this huge project.

 

What does the Encode Project have to do with re-booting your life?

 

Just this: for decades, this 97% of the human DNA was labeled and relegated to rubbish status. Cutting edge scientists of the day could see that there was “stuff” there, but because these parts of the DNA didn’t include genomes that programmed protein creation, it appeared superfluous to them. In other words, although right in front of them, they didn’t know what they were looking at.

 

Analogy: as multiple search committee members told me when I used to work on academic searches, “If I haven’t heard of Candidate A, she must not be worthy of the committee’s consideration.” Really? Alas, I have found that it’s a rare bird who regularly takes into their calculus that they may not have a grasp of the entire universe.

 

Think about it: for decades, the scientists knew they only understood 3% of a cell’s DNA and yet they labeled the 97% remainder as “junk.” Why? They didn’t know what they were looking at or what purpose it might play, and so dismissed it. What part of this approach makes sense? Now, I am not a scientist and I am oversimplifying the evolution of this issue, but I am pointing out a practice we are all guilty of: because we don’t necessarily understand or wish to face the complexities of something right in front of us, we dismiss it and turn a blind eye. It’s junk to us.

 

From everything I know about Mother Nature, she does not waste effort. Look all around you in the natural world and this theory will be confirmed. So, given such a basic understanding of how Nature operates, how in the world could the prevalent, longstanding thought among scientific research circles include an outright dismissal of 97% of the human DNA as scrap?

 

Intrinsic to the impetus to re-boot is the knowledge that there is something better “out there.” We mat not be able to envision it or we may dismiss what’s right in front of us as useless, but at least part of us keeps pushing to find it. My point is that, like the scientists of the Encode Project, we need to revisit that part of ourselves which is before us, but we have labeled as unworthy or not bothering with. Does it, in fact, serve a purpose that we may have previously overlooked?

 

Ask yourself the following: what is it about my life that I am not seeing? What is it that I refuse to acknowledge plays a more important part in my life than previously understood? Could this part serve as my own regulatory control?

 

As we mature, we learn to revisit issues with a different eye. We can understand and appreciate things differently than in the past. For instance, Alice in Wonderland is a fantastic children’s tale, but it has an entirely different meaning for adults. The fact that children can’t appreciate these nuances does not lessen the enjoyment or power of the story, but the way they see it is not the end of the story.

 

What is your 97% mystery? What huge element of your life have you been unwilling to acknowledge or explore or understand because it just seems “purposeless,” or could open up a can of worms that you fear would be so complex it exhausts you to think about it? Perhaps you no longer lack the vocabulary to understand this part. Perhaps, by trying, you will unlock a vast array of secrets that will help you live a more fulfilling life.

 

To paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld, “We don’t always know what we don’t know.”

The importance of this statement is the ongoing willingness to hold out the possibility that maybe we don’t know everything. Maybe there is more that we simply haven’t considered or even been able to recognize. Re-booters have that willingness to believe there is “more” out there than what we know now.

 

Get out your magnifying glass and get to work.

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One Response to “Magnifying the 97% Mystery”

  1. grasshopper Says:

    great blog!

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