Sunday, January 11, 2009

Genome and Self

An excellent piece!
"As I stared blankly, the interviewer suggested that perhaps it was because I grew up in Quebec in the 1970s when language, our pre-eminent cognitive capacity, figured so prominently in debates about the future of the province. I quickly agreed — and silently vowed to come up with something better for the next time. Now I say that my formative years were a time of raging debates about the political implications of human nature, or that my parents subscribed to a Time-Life series of science books, and my eye was caught by the one called “The Mind,” or that one day a friend took me to hear a lecture by the great Canadian psychologist D. O. Hebb, and I was hooked. But it is all humbug. The very fact that I had to think so hard brought home what scholars of autobiography and memoir have long recognized. None of us know what made us what we are, and when we have to say something, we make up a good story."

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Anonymous said...

"None of us know what made us what we are, and when we have to say something, we make up a good story.""

JJ said...

That's why I find it odd that so many of us pay so much attention to the past or our respctive gene pool. Isn't it all too hard to make sense of to start with, anyway? It's easier to look to the future for answers, I find.
I don't know. Call me an eternal optimist.
Well, you might not as that eradicates a lot of appreciated jokes, but others don't know, so, let them guess. :)

Dieter said...

Also, das Gesichte erzaehlt nur manchmal die echte Geschichte, gell?
Interessantes Werk, danke.

Brooke said...

A pet peeve of mine is when people assume they can 'figure me out' because they know certain things about me.
Things like, 'perhaps it was because I grew up...' are problematic. My sibs and I grew up in a similar fashion. They're TOTALLY different from me.
So, the gene pool is important, sure, but it's not everything. Circumstance never gets the right rep, I find.

sean said...

This is really interesting. Maybe it's a sign of my older age :) and whatnot, but I think about the 'why-s' of my nature on a daily basis.

Becca said...

It's funny how very few embrace their external and internal face as is. Too bad. I liked this.

Sra said...

The human race likes to make sense of things. So we boil stuff down into defining moments and turning points, in search of easy explanations and understanding. But we are not simple creatures, and we really can't be understood in terms of the moment that determined our careers, etc. If there indeed exist such moments.

Anonymous said...

I tend to think that 'a-ha' moments are important but that present life is too complex to be 'solved' in therapy sessions. We are multi-layered, complex, odd, different. Embrace it, folks.

Nicki said...

'this is my face: deal with it.'
we spend too much time trying to explain our nature rather than enjoy our natures.

Nicki said...


"None of us know what made us what we are, and when we have to say something, we make up a good story."
This makes full sense to me when I think of my siblings!