2020-05-08 Complex Relationship — What Things Really Are

I’m reading ’The Gene’ by Siddharta Mukherjee, an excellent book about how we are made — what makes us. I read the following paragraphs and it occurred to me that people don’t understand the importance of this.


p.196 “The geneticist Antoine Danchin once used the parable of the Delphic boat to describe the process by which individual genes could produce the observed complexity of the natural world. In the proverbial story, the oracle at Delphi is asked to consider a boat on a river whose planks have begun to rot. As the wood decays, each plank is replaced, one by one — and after a decade, no plank is left from the original boat. Yet, the owner is convinced that it is the same boat. how can the boat be the same boat — the riddle runs — if every physical element of the original has been replaced?

The answer is that the “boat” is not made of planks but of the /relationship/ between planks. If you hammer a hundred strips of wood atop each other you get a wall; if you nail them side-to-side, you get a deck; only a particular configuration of plans, held together in a particular relationship, in a particular order, makes a boat.”


The whole is more that the sum of its parts. The importance of this cannot be overstated. We are more than the sum of our parts. We have a spirit which goes beyond our mortal being

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