Tag Archive | science

on communication

I brood over communication. I’m thinking of whether we all of us see the same hues. Since we each of us  are unique individuals with body cells programmed by our unique DNA codes, then we shouldn’t necessarily have exactly similar rod and cone cells in our eyes. Also, only a single pair of eyes can occupy a point from which to view an object. Angles of reflecting and refracting light from source to object to eye would be different then. Hence, the red that I see wouldn’t be the red that you see. The color #b10611 may not necessarily appear similar to any two persons in the world.

love♥  <<< this is in the color #b10611.

We each of us perceive differently and yet we are capable of grasping each other’s perception. I simply find this amazing. When I woke up yesterday the thought of dust-laden mucus being directed by cilia outwards of my body—not anywhere else—made me seriously question as to which of the two, cilia or mucus, should the will of expulsion be attributed to. I thought then that the mucus is a non-living substance. Therefore the life, the willing-to-happen, is in the cilia. The cilia ‘know’ what to do, so to speak, and they do it. Amazing. Billions of microscopic cilia in my respiratory tract ‘talking’ to each other so that the pollution in the air I breathe in is barred from entering my vital functions.

This webpage, from where I got this picture from, has an easily understandable explanation.

bronchicilia from bio.davidson.edu

I was about to say that everything that has life communicate with its own kind, but then I realize that the-making-of-things-to-happen is not confined within forms that we tag as having “life”, or alive. I was thinking that all cells withing our body communicate with each other, but then when I get down to the basic building blocks I end up with just aggregates of proteins interacting with each other according to the chemical laws. However, I also think of the virus that’s dead outside a living cell but alive when it’s inside. So the wood particles comprising my table react with each other, yes, but not in the same way as the particles within the pine tree outside my window.

Of course when we really get down on it everything we can observe are nothing but just permutations of chemical configurations, held together by the fundamental forces—at least this is how we know things to be. But the matter of perception-comprehension-communication between us humans are also permutations of possibilities (and so there’s a similarity there, but more). You may or may not be able to understand what I say. You may or may not be able to understand what I say the way I meant for you to understand it. You may be able to grasp something from what I say which is entirely outside of my perception.

happiness is by Charlie Brown

So I find it amazing when love and life and laughter and beauty and hope and friendship is communicated between persons of differing worldviews and backgrounds and experiences and convictions and aspirations.

I say that there is a sort of a quantum gap (my term for that which is traversed in a quantum leap, and I’m using them here for mental pictures only) between a non-life and something  alive. Life is such a profound mystery. This marvel is manifested in the way living things communicate. Their interactions with one another—cell to cell, ant to ant, mind to mind, for instance—might just seem to be on the spectrum of matter interacting with each other but the possibilities defy quantification. Science has been very good at quantifying so many things and has been taming matter for a while now, but Life still defies quantification. It eludes our grasp, cannot be boxed.

Peanuts gang

I’m reminded of what Jesus of Nazareth told Nicodemus, that the spirit like the wind is there but one cannot predict its movement. Whenever I wonder at what moves life I think of this wind and then I am humbled by the many things that I have no comprehension of but yet are evident. It is evident that the world is in shambles, yes, but one has only to look at obscure nooks and one will see that life and goodness and hope are thriving and are spreading, being communicated from one living being to another. Things that deaden are overwhelmingly everywhere—concrete or plastic everything, garbage in mass media, our inner struggles, etc.—yet we only need to look at the green leaves and know that they, too, cover the earth. I only need to remind myself that the next person’s skin is as vulnerable as mine, which means I am among humans who like myself have stories being carried around all the time, everywhere.

This communication thing, it’s as elusive as Heisenberg’s electron, but it can be done and in many different ways. Cells, and humans, thrive by communicating. I realize that communication, in its many forms, is as vital as food and air. No wonder it, too, is so enjoyable.

(Many thanks to the creators of the Peanuts drawings.)

We’re supposed to live with dirt

A classmate once told me that had germs been visible to the naked eye none in our face-area would be visible at all. It’d be so covered with bacteria there’ll be no part of our faces left to be seen.  I remember how we laughed over the ghastly picture it presented to our imagination, but at the same time sobered by its truth.

I once again put off the the urge to transform my room into a spick-and-span condition. I’d just have to  continue hoping that no one come to visit me for now — my room’s state of disarray is embarrassing. (In case an unexpected visitor does drop by my saving grace is that my room doesn’t smell. Aside from maintaining ventilation I’ve followed some people’s tip to leave coffee grounds in open containers at a corner of the room. Also whenever I remember to do so, which isn’t too often, I wipe portions of the walls near the stove with vinegar-and-water solution. I don’t use air fresheners.)

Gye Baek ep11 (1) Gye Baek ep11 (2)Gye Baek ep11 (3)Gye Baek ep11 (4)Gye Baek ep11 (5)Gye Baek ep11 (6)Gye Baek ep11 (7)Gye Baek ep11 (8)Gye Baek ep11 (9)I have too much clutter. The books are all over, piled or stacked, on shelves and on the floor. Binders and folders line up on the shelf and on the floor. Boxes are under the table and stacked over the door. Condiments and pots and pans are beneath the teevee table. Of my 2 tables, only one-third of one has a cleared space, the other has one-fourth only. The window sill has an array of plants on big yogurt canisters. I don’t conceal the trash containers (1 for general trash, 1 for plastics, 1 for metals, 1 for paper). Since I have to be non-dependent  I decided it best to save little things that might be useful for “emergency” situations, like strings and bottles and card-boards and canisters. (However, I recently decided to discard some and resolved to not add into the collection anymore.)

I feel I ought to get more organized but the truth is that for me it’s less stressful to let things be than to go against the law of entropy. I just haven’t thought much about it but I may be “lazy” by nature — because the decades of academic discipline (waking up at 5 or 5:30 AM on school days since 8 years old) have not really “disciplined” me. I procrastinate. I focus according to interest and mood. I must have an inner motivation otherwise I yawn every minute. My brain now refuses to take in lists of vocabulary because I don’t have to take quizzes anymore. I can sit up for 8 hours straight on an interesting topic I’m surfing about but I have to get up from my seat, out of impatience, after every page of reading from a book that I “must” look into in preparation for a class.

I remember the saying “cleanliness is next to godliness”, the one drummed into us by our elementary school teachers. I guess for us then the bottom line of that was self-discipline. Whoa. I haven’t thought of that one for a long time now. So, what of it now, have I gone far from being “godly”? Hahahaha.

I learned from a Bavarian senior that even until today the Hausfrau (housewife) isn’t as looked-up to as the Karrierefrau (career woman). For many the housewife is someone “lazy”. I’m inclined to think that this absurd belief stems from the industrialization era, when concepts of just-in-time and bundy-clock precision had to be catered to in the name of “development” and, of course, profit. Hence, money. Hence, prestige. How can the housewife be associated with laziness? That’s absurd. By common sense argument her job (or the househusband’s) is the most crucial in any society.

What I am sure, though, that for now I find myself agreeing with Brian A. Haggerty’s “…there remains the fundamental question of why efficiency should occupy such a place of importance in society.”* He’s discussing a bit on how we are obsessed with, among other things, efficiency — so much so that we discard those that we find “inefficient”, like those who are of no use anymore in the industrial arena, specifically the aged.

I am inefficient in organizing my room so that it stays visitor-presentable all the time but then I think of my intestines that need bacteria in order to function. To what extent do I “clean up”? I think of the decomposers of the rotting things in the soil, and in my large intestines. I think of the ever-present germs in my oral cavity. I think of faces I’d meet on the streets (and mine in the mirror) had bacteria been non-invisible. Dirt is part of life.

In my part of the world body “odor” is suppressed. We’re efficient in it so much so that a breaking of this norm, to a certain generally accepted intensity, is considered an act of misconduct and is reprehensible. The morning full-bath is an understood must, and if possible one can’t be found to not have taken a bath before going out of the house for the day’s business. One isn’t free to smell bad. Everyone seems to disapprove of it.

I didn’t disapprove at all at Cho-young sniffing after Gye Baek (episode 11). Humans do smell. — Why shouldn’t Gye Baek smell? Why am I not free to be smelly? When and how and where did it ever start that the scent of a human is associated with negativity? How has it happened that something as natural and as “common sense” as the smell of a living human body be an avenue for discrimination? — It makes little sense to me. Each one has a particular smell and it is a mark of individuality, of particularity, of personhood — why should it be suppressed? Why are we so obsessed with the efficiency to not-smell/smell-“good”?

Which reminds me of my none-too-white teeth. Hahahaha. The craze to make the teeth white is frightening. I put turmeric in my food. I drink coffee and tea. I’m afraid I’d be punishing my enamel if I brush too hard and too frequently. I’d rather have “colored” teeth than stop using turmeric. Then there’s the matter of shampooing the hair everyday. Crazy. Even the prestigious maiko (geisha-in-training) washes her hair once a week.

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*”Out of the House of Slavery: On the Meaning of the Ten Commandments” (1978) p.81.

Note: Thanks a million to the site where I got my snapshots from.