Shoutout to this episode of the Howto Academy podcast. It is an interview with Adam Rutherford about his new book “Control”, which is about eugenics.
Of course I immediately purchased the book! For some reason it’s on sale on Amazon UK, and the hardcover version is cheaper than the paperback. I am familiar with Adam Rutherford from his Rutherford & Fry podcast (I don’t listen to it regularly) as well as his interview with Siddhartha Mukherjee in another episode of the Howto Academy podcast. That was a fascinating listen to.
The reason I am blogging about these now is because something Adam said in his podcast struck me. I knew about it, but hearing it said again triggered something in my head – possibly because of the way he went into more details with some examples etc. Specifically, his point was that people think you can switch on and off genes for various traits. Example: blue eyes, green eyes, and so on. And that you can somehow choose what you want specifically. But that’s not how genes work, or at least our understanding of them. If you, say, select for blue eyes then other traits in other parts of the body will be a certain way. I suppose it’s like Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle – if you determine the position of a particle you can’t calculate the speed; if you determine the speed of a particle you don’t know its position. Similarly if you lock down certain elements you lose control over other elements.
This is also how life is, isn’t it. It’s easy to wishful think upon the past to think “if I had done so and so in the past, my life would be better than it’s now” – but you have no idea that it would really be any better or worse. If you had done one particular thing a different way, yes maybe you’ll optimize for that and achieve happiness in that area, but you might also lose out on other things that you are currently happy with and possibly don’t realize. The whole of life has this Uncertainty Principle around it.
Embrace it, I suppose!