I love genetics. I think genetics is definitely one of the coolest sciences ever studied by humanity. As such, I talk about genetics pretty often. I wonder sometimes, however, if I am describing certain concepts in a comprehensible enough fashion to genuinely convey the ideas I happen to write about so often. In this article, allow me to guide you through my best explanation of what your DNA is, and how such information can lead to to living a more fulfilling existence here on Earth.
I could tell you about the vital difference between prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells, the various stages of the cell cycle, or even the various sub-stages of each one of those stages. We could spend hours and hours going through the microscopic mechanisms that initiate the processes of transcription, translation, and the subtle instructions of the cell's Gogi Apparatus that directs the resulting proteins to their final destinations for use; both inside and outside of the cell. We would then have to get into the even finer details of how various chemical components, reaction pathways, and environmental circumstances affect the expression of different alleles; more popularly known as genes. We could do all that, but by the time we're done we would have gone through three textbooks worth of information and enough punnet-squares to make your eyes tear-up; don't got time for that. I don't pretend that everyone else is obsessed with reading about these things, so speaking with such ridiculous technical jargon isn't of any real use here. Nonetheless, I feel that there is a profound benefit to understanding how the body works on a macroscopic scale, so the challenge that befalls me is: How can I take my passion for this information, and find a way to use it to help others who may not be very interested in all the details and mechanisms, while also doing so with enough accuracy to not bring discredit upon the ideas I'm describing?
The general public is a vastly different audience than that which the everyday biologist tends to write for. This is not a patronization of those who do not study such things, it is just a fact. Instead of drudging through a bunch of monotonous terminology, we are going to focus entirely upon what genetics means to you in your everyday life, and leave as much of the minutia out of the discussion as possible.
Let's Talk About What Your DNA Isn't
Your human DNA is not just some collection of deoxyribonucleic acid. To truly believe that about oneself is amongst the worst forms of self-depracation. It is an insult. Such is to equate oneself with nothing greater than an amoeba. Hell, even the bacteria E. coli has built-in feedback mechanisms to prevent the wasting of material on unneeded products. The lac operon is a feedback mechanism that is used on a daily basis by thousands of biochemists, for example, demonstrating that even the simplest forms of life on earth are still more complex than random collections of nucleotide base-pairs. Such forms of life also have DNA, but their DNA is only a short, singular loop. They possess the same chemical components of DNA that we have, but while the human genome is party to over three billion base-pairs of these components, the bacteria genome commands only about five million. In other words, we humans contain about six-hundred times more information in our genome than the lowly bacteria. Clearly there is something much more complex happening within us that is not observed within such simple fauna. Our DNA is not structured into one continuous loop, as with the bacteria, for instance. It can't be, because it's so massive that it must be compacted, packaged, and compacted again; kinda like the way we employ 'zip files' to compact information on a computer to save space. The product of this compaction is the chromosome. A chromosome is a (relatively speaking) huge scaffold of folded and compacted DNA. The human genome is the ingenious gestalt of twenty-three individual chromosomes worth of DNA all working together, harmoniously.
I feel like the word "chromosome" is heard a little bit more than it tends to be understood. Such an assessment is fair because, well, nobody really understands everything about chromosomes yet, but according to the experts in the field we appear to be on the brink of a tremendous renaissance in bio-technology. It's not like we don't know plenty about them, however. Chromosomes are, literally, packets of bio-electrically encoded information. To put it differently, they can be accurately thought of as 'folders' within the computer 'hard drive' of the cell. Not every program is running at any given time, however. In fact, the computer performs at its' best capacity with a minimal amount of multitasking. The manner in which various programs are opened, and run, is entirely dependent upon who is controlling the system.
A critical point here is that the rate at which physical changes are made manifest in the body from different thoughts is based upon the patterns and clusters of the thoughts. To put it another way, the body usually only makes large-scale changes in response to patterns of thought that are habitual in nature, so simply thinking a random negative or positive thought here and there will have minimal impact on the expression of one's genes. It is the patterns of thought that one develops over weeks, months, and years that build up and have the greatest impact on the overall expression of the individual genome. This is not to imply that short-term thoughts, such as fight-or-flight situations, or moments of extreme happiness, do not have a profound impact on homeostasis in themselves; only to describe the manner in which gross macroscopic bodily changes are made and adopted over time. A miserable person throughout life will likely demonstrate a body that reflects their misery. A joyful person throughout life tends to have a body that mirrors this. Exceptions are out there, but this is the general rule.
The implications of this observed phenomenon are vast. If cellular expression of genetic material is altered with the changing of one's current thoughts, what happens when that same person begins to think. . . less? There is a host of studies performed on residents of various monasteries, for example, that all indicate that the regular silencing of one's thoughts is directly related to health, and longevity. Conversely, it is well-documented that those who experience chronic stress tend to have significantly shorter lifespans. What happens when a person is chronically stressed? They think a lot, and the stuff they're thinking about is toxic. At the most basic level of description, time itself is perceived by the individual as the progression of their thoughts within their mental 'inner-monologue'. Since time is relative, and hinges entirely on the comparison of events, the simplest form of trackable event to your mind is the individual thought construct. As these change from one thought-event to the next, the progression of time is perceived as moving forward. Increase the rate at which these thought-events are generated, and time appears to move faster. This is the explanation for why time seems to be moving too quickly when you are in a rush and late for work, for example. Being in a stressed state in such situations, one's rate of thought-generation is significantly elevated. This elevation of progressing thought-events corresponds to our perception of time, thus the surrounding world is perceived as being an inconvenient place where everyone else on the road seems compelled to drive five miles under the speed limit.
So, it appears that you are not just a set of harmonic chromosomes, either. No, for even then you'd essentially be saying that you're just a fancy desktop computer with a big hard drive. That's bogus, because as we just discussed, genetics tells us right now that the very thoughts one thinks change the way DNA actually performs in the body. You are neither a program, nor folder, nor collection of folders, nor the code that is harmonizing them all. Apparently, you're that which is in control of the the expression of the code. Realistically, you're the person 'sitting at the computer', choosing which programs and folders to open and use.
Like I mentioned earlier, the exact way that this goes down is still up for grabs. However, there have been some interesting experiments that demonstrate an intimate relationship between DNA and light. In fact, this is taken entirely for granted in our society. Everyone knows that ultraviolet light causes cancer, right? Well, what's cancer? Cancer is the mutated result of cell replication involving damaged, or otherwise altered DNA sequences. UV light (the light just beyond our visible color spectrum) causes these alterations. In the field of genetics, it is common practice to use UV light to generate mutant cell cultures, in order to identify various traits about pathways and so on. Likewise, medical x-ray (which is higher in frequency to UV) technologies are well-known for their mutation-causing tendencies as well, demonstrating another example of how light can alter DNA. Gamma radiation (even higher than x-rays in frequency) is commonly discussed in science fiction, and is a popular mechanism for the various mutations resulting in our contemporary fictional super-heroes. There is no question that various frequencies of light affect DNA differently.
Within the visible light spectrum alone there is a host of literature on the ways various colors affect consciousness and biologic processes. For example, when the body is exposed to white and blue colored light, the sympathetic nervous system becomes more active, and attributes such as wakefulness, alertness, focus, and concentration are all boosted. In contrast, when the body is exposed to red colored light, or contained in a dark room, the parasympathetic nervous is stimulated; resulting in drowsiness, increased digestive activity, and the overall desire to chill out. As far as the real-world goes, there are now non-lethal technologies employed worldwide that allow for the safe immobilization of an aggressor using light. Strobe-light devices that are ridiculously bright, concentrated, and some that even alternate the frequency (color) of their pulsing light every couple of strobes are among the results of these studies into the various effects of different frequencies of light on the body.
It should be appreciated, I believe, how vast the range of effects are observed from just this very limited visible spectrum of light frequencies. Realize that UV-rays, X-rays, and Gamma-waves all represent much broader ranges in the electromagnetic light spectrum when compared to the limited nature of the frequencies we can actually see. Think of it like this: The color red is found near the bottom of the overall visible light spectrum, and the color blue is found nearer to the top of it. Referring to my previous points, if those two different frequency ranges, which are actually rather close together in the grand scheme of things, have such different effects upon human gene expression (blue = SNS, red = PSNS), it logically follows that a similar diversity of effects could be found in the various extremes of all those other broad ranges of frequency.
Henceforth I Speculate
We know that consciousness controls gene expression. We know that various frequencies of light affect gene expression. The logical question that follows from these two observations would be: is there a connection between consciousness and light? I think there is. To be more accurate, I think that consciousness itself is frequency; that consciousness is a form of light that is of such a mind-boggelingly high frequency that modern technologies have simply not measured it with any great accuracy as of yet. This would then imply that your consciousness could be thought of as the electromagnetic field of ultra-high-frequency light that orchestrates the expression of the various genetic information within the overall complex of your body. As we discussed in The Scientific Validity of Divinity and a bit earlier in this article, consciousness has a direct effect on the way time itself is perceived. I find it plausible that this impact could be due to the fact that consciousness is a symphony of lightwaves, and is therefore a phenomenon that exists "at the speed of light"; therefore beyond the confines of what is normally thought of as "time".
Perhaps the nature of the genetic material here on earth is simply too fragile to be exposed to such bombardment of certain "lower frequency" lightwaves such as UV, X-ray, and Gamma-waves. I say "lower frequency" in reference to these forms of light in this case, because when such frequency ranges are compared to the range of frequencies being discussed and hypothetically attributed to consciousness, they are indeed much lower in frequency by a few orders of magnitude. Perhaps to properly and safely control genetic expression without causing alterations, deletions, or other forms of damage, a finer touch is what is required. This 'finer touch' could very well be the ultra-high-frequency lightwaves emitted by consciousness, while the 'sloppy' frequencies of UV, x-ray, and Gamma result in mutations and cancer.
In the simplest possible terms, I think that you are a self-aware, fully-sovereign symphony of musical notes that are very, ridiculously high-pitched. These ultra-high harmonic frequencies then influence the code dictating how the different programs contained on your various chromosomes are utilized. This information is then transcribed from DNA into RNA, and translated from RNA into the proteins and other components that do all the rest of the work in the body. It's a huge chain reaction, really. You, your "I-ness", is the symphony of your thoughts. Different thoughts affect DNA utilization differently. Different DNA usage creates different bodily chemical and components. Thus, through this process, your thoughts hold sovereignty over your body.
You are your thoughts, and they are you. You are your body, and your body is you. Your body is your thoughts, and your thoughts are your body. None are divided from the other, for they are all just the same thing being described with different words.
I'm making this a two parter for myself, since I'm pressed for time... but this line stood outReplyDelete
"Every leading geneticist that I know of agrees that the influence of consciousness on the way the programs in your 'hard drive' are turned on, or off, is paramount."
One thing that blows my mind is the study of epigenetics. Last I heard, environmental influences (and, by extension, psychological experiences) in early childhood can influence gene expression... and then these epigenetic changes can be passed down!
Is that something you can explain in layman's terms to me? It's wild.
Awesome article once again. I must be your target demo, cos that stuff about three textbooks worth of info on how genes work sounded really appealing.
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