Thursday, February 25, 2010

A prophecy of terrifying, cruel and inflexible truth

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The scale is this: if your chromosomes were long enough to stretch around the equator, the difference between health and insanity would be less than one extra inch.

No horoscope matches this accuracy. No theory of human causality, Freudian, Marxist, Christian or animist, has ever been so precise. No prophet in the Old Testament, no entrail-grazing oracle in ancient Greece, no crystal-ball gipsy clairvoyant on the pier at Bognor Regis ever pretended to tell people exactly when their lives would fall apart, let alone got it right. We are dealing here with a prophecy of terrifying, cruel and inflexible truth. There are a billion three-letter ‘words’ in your genome. Yet the length of just this one little motif is all that stands between each of us and mental illness.

~ Matt Ridley, Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 24 Chapters, 2006

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