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Camels can go many weeks without drinking anything at all. The notion that they cache water in their humps is pure myth-their humps are made of fat, and water is stored in their body tissues. While other mammals draw water from bloodstreams when faced with dehydration, leading to death by volume shock, camels tap the water in their tissues, keeping their blood volume stable. Though this reduces the camel's bulk, they can lose up to a third of their body weight with no ill effects, which they can replace astonishingly quickly, as they are able to drink up to forty gallons in a single watering.' (pp.69-70)
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I have even learned to respond to someone crying by just listening. In the old days I used to reach for the tissues, until I realized that passing a person a tissue may be just another way to shut them down, to take them out of their experience of sadness and grief. Now I just listen. When they have cried all they need to cry, they find me there with them.
Rachel Naomi Remen
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Abby wouldn't want you to suffer because of some jerk that kidnapped her. She would want you to go on your trip so that she would have fun torturing you for not being a puddle on the ground with a box of tissues and an empty gallon of ice cream by your side. Then afterwards to hit you for thinking she was seriously hoping you would be doing that.
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Nobody believes in magicians any more, nobody believes that anyone can come along and wave a wand and turn you into a frog. But if you read in the paper that by injecting certain glands scientists can alter your vital tissues and you'll develop froglike characteristics, well, everybody would believe that.
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For a few minutes, maybe, life lingers in the tissues of some outlying regions of the body. Then, one by one, the lights go out and there is total blackness. And if some part of the non-entity we called George has indeed been absent at this moment of terminal shock, away out there on the deep water, then it will return to find itself homeless.
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I once did an event with Ian Rankin where he said he didn't really need to do much background research because his books are set in the present, and I just thought: 'You lucky, lucky beast!' because as a historical novelist, I live constantly on the edge of wondering whether tissues had been invented.
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For a decade, I had been studying a transparent worm, the C. elegans. I immediately thought, if you could put the G.F.P. gene into C. elegans, you'd then be able to see biological processes in live animals. Until then, we had to kill them and prepare their tissues chemically to visualize proteins or active genes within cells.
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Your beliefs and thoughts are wired into your biology. They become your cells, tissues, and organs. There's no supplement, no diet, no medicine, and no exercise regimen that can compare with the power of your thoughts and beliefs. That's the very first place you need to look when anything goes wrong with your body.
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Do you know what a fate map is in biology? It's a map of which cells in an embryo should develop into which specific adult tissues. But what they should develop into isn't necessarily what they actually do develop into. They can be manipulated, or change on their own, and end up as something completely different from what they were fated for.
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Bog-lights, vapors of mysticism, psychic Gnosticisms, veils and tissues of words, gibbering subjectivisms, gropings and maunderings, ontological fantasies, pan-psychic hallucinations""this is the stuff, the phantasms of hope, that fills your book shelves. Come. Your glass is empty. Fill and forget.
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If you get a personal genome, you should be able to get personal cell lines, stem cell derived from your adult tissues, that allow you to bring together synthetic biology and the sequencing so that you can repair parts of your body as you age or repair things that were inherited disorders.
George M. Church
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You will know if you are too acidic if you get sick often, get urinary tract infections, suffer from headaches, and have bad breath and body odor (when you do not use antiperspirant). Acidosis is the medical term for a blood alkalinity of less than 7.35. A normal reading is called homeostasis. It is not considered a disease; although in and of itself it is recognized as an indicator of disease. Your blood feeds your organs and tissues; so if your blood is acidic, your organs will suffer and your body will have to compensate for this imbalance somehow. We need to do all we can to keep our blood alkalinity high. The way to do this is to dramatically increase our intake of alkaline-rich elements like fresh, clean air; fresh, clean water; raw vegetables (particularly their juices); and sunlight, while drastically reducing our intake of and exposure to acid-forming substances: pollution, cigarettes, hard alcohol, white flour, white sugar, red meat, and coffee. By tipping the scales in the direction of alkalinity through alkaline diet and removal of acid waste through cleansing, and acidic body can become an alkaline one. "Bear in mind that some substances that are alkaline outside the body, like milk, are acidic to the body; meaning that they leave and acid reside in the tissues, just as many substances that are acidic outside the body, like lemons and ripe tomatoes, are alkaline and healing in the body and contribute to the body's critical alkaline reserve.
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The assumption that everything past is preserved holds good even in mental life only on condition that the organ of the mind has remained intact and that its tissues have not been damaged by trauma or inflammation. But destructive influences which can be compared to causes of illness like these are never lacking in the history of a city, even if it has had a less chequered past than Rome, and even if, like London, it has hardly ever suffered from the visitations of an enemy.
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Along with the possibility of extinction of mankind by nuclear war, the central problem of our age has therefore become the contamination of man's total environment with such substances of incredible potential for harm-substances that accumulate in the tissues of plants and animals and even penetrate the germ cells to shatter or alter the very material of heredity upon which the shape of the future depends.
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Our tissues change as we live: the food we eat and the air we breathe become flesh of our flesh and bone of our bone, and the momentary elements of our flesh and bone pass out of our body every day with our excreta. We are but whirlpools in a river of ever-flowing water. We are not stuff that abides, but patterns that perpetuate themselves
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The elementary parts of all tissues are formed of cells in an analogous, though very diversified manner, so that it may be asserted, that there is one universal principle of development for the elementary parts of organisms, however different, and that this principle is the formation of cells.
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In the car on my way to premieres and awards shows, I'll sit with tissue paper under my armpits so I don't soil the delicate dress fabric. The whole time, I'm telling myself, 'Please don't sweat, please don't sweat.' I throw the tissues out right before I step out of the car, and nobody ever knows! I just put on a smile and fake it.
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Calcification is the hardening of body tissues by calcium salts or deposits. Although calcification itself is not considered a disease, it has been shown to be a significant contributing factor in nearly every known illness and aging condition, including heart disease, kidney stones, gallstones, chronic inflammation, arthritis, cancers, cataracts, eczema, psoriasis, and even wrinkles.
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As soon as we touch the complex processes that go on in a living thing, be it plant or animal, we are at once forced to use the methods of this science [chemistry]. No longer will the microscope, the kymograph, the scalpel avail for the complete solution of the problem. For the further analysis of these phenomena which are in flux and flow, the investigator must associate himself with those who have labored in fields where molecules and atoms, rather than multicellular tissues or even unicellular organisms, are the units of study.
John Jacob Abel
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Words never fail. We hear them, we read them; they enter into the mind and become part of us for as long as we shall live. Who speaks reason to his fellowmen bestows it upon them. Who mouths inanity disorders thought for all who listen. There must be some minimum allowable dose of inanity beyond which the mind cannot remain reasonable. Irrationality, like buried chemical waste, sooner or later must seep into all the tissues of thought.
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A study of over 10,000 patients shows clearly that chemo's supposedly strong track record with Hodgkin's disease (lymphoma) is actually a lie. Patients who underwent chemo were 14 times more likely to develop leukemia and 6 times more likely to develop cancers of the bones, joints, and soft tissues than those patients who did not undergo chemotherapy .
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In this town, white politicians and black ministers seemed to go together like tears and tissues. At election time, the pols got religion and came looking for the blessings of black ministers as a way to get black votes without providing the kinds of services to black communities that they at least promised to East Boston and Charlestown and the other mostly white Boston neighborhoods.
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Gray clouds were charging across tissues of white, which stretched and shredded and tore slowly, until through their final layers there gleamed a hint of the disappearing blue. Summer was retreating. The wind roared, the trees groaned, yet the noise seemed insufficient for those vast operations in heaven. The weather was breaking up, breaking, broken, and it is a sense of the fit rather than of the supernatural that equips such crises with the salvos of angelic artillery.
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As a progressive discipline [biochemistry] belongs to the present century. From the experimental physiologists of the last century it obtained a charter, and, from a few pioneers of its own, a promise of success; but for the furtherance of its essential aim that century left it but a small inheritance of facts and methods. By its essential or ultimate aim I myself mean an adequate and acceptable description of molecular dynamics in living cells and tissues.
Frederick Gowland Hopkins
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I confess to a rare problem gynekinetophobia, or the fear of women falling on me but this is a rather mild illness compared with many affluent suburbanites, who have developed an almost total zoophobia, or fear of anything that moves. It is, as any traveller can confirm, a complaint best developed in the affluent North American, and it seems to be part of blue toilet dyes, air fresheners, lots of paper tissues, and two showers a day.
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We know from astronomy that the universe had a beginning, from physics that the future is both open and unpredictable, from geology and paleontology that the whole of life has been a process of change and transformation. From biology we know that our tissues are not impenetrable reservoirs of vital magic, but a stunning matrix of complex wonders, ultimately explicable in terms of biochemistry and molecular biology. With such knowledge we can see, perhaps for the first time, why a Creator would have allowed our species to be fashioned by the process of evolution.
Kenneth R. Miller
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Beyond natural history Other biological sciences take up the study at other levels of organization: dissecting the individual into organs and tissues and seeing how these work together, as in physiology; reaching down still further to the level of cells, as in cytology; and reaching the final biological level with the study of living molecules and their interactions, as in biochemistry. No one of these levels can be considered as more important than any other.
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I wondered why it had to be so poisonous. Oleanders could live through anything, they could stand heat, drought, neglect, and put out thousands of waxy blooms. So what did they need poison for? Couldn't they just be bitter? They weren't like rattlesnakes, they didn't even eat what they killed. The way she boiled it down, distilled it, like her hatred. Maybe it was a poison in the soil, something about L.A., the hatred, the callousness, something we didn't want to think about, that the plant concentrated in its tissues. Maybe it wasn't a source of poison, but just another victim.
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After Carol had left, as Symons threw away a pile of used tissues and rearranged the cushions on the couch, he remarked that the most common and unhelpful illusion plaguing those who came to see him [as a career counselor] was the idea that they ought somehow, in the normal course of events, to have intuited-long before they had finished their degrees, started families, bought houses and risen to the top of law firms-what they should properly be doing with their lives. They were tormented by a residual notion of having through some error or stupidity on their part missed out on their true 'calling.
Alain de Botton
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It was strange how in that moment of tragedy, it had seemed so unreal, like an old-fashioned movie reel playing on a screen for my eyes only. The pain and broken heart were blocked off for a little while, leaving me numb with disbelief. Shock is what Dad called it. But after a while, the cruel reality started to seep into my tissues, and my body became a sponge, just sucking it all up until, finally, there was so much grief inside, I couldn't help feeling it. That's how it happened for me. First, the numbness right after she died, next the agonising pain and then the place I was at now-the land of perpetual depression.
Karen Ann Hopkins
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The extracellular genesis of cells in animals seemed to me, ever since the publication of the cell theory [of Schwann], just as unlikely as the spontaneous generation of organisms. These doubts produced my observations on the multiplication of blood cells by division in bird and mammalian embryos and on the division of muscle bundles in frog larvae. Since then I have continued these observations in frog larvae, where it is possible to follow the history of tissues back to segmentation.
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There are few chemicals that we as a people are exposed to that have as many far reaching physiological affects on living beings as Monosodium Glutamate does. MSG directly causes obesity, diabetes, triggers epilepsy, destroys eye tissues, is genotoxic in many organs and is the probable cause of ADHD and Autism. Considering that MSG's only reported role in food is that of 'flavour enhancer' is that use worth the risk of the myriad of physical ailments associated with it? Does the public really want to be tricked into eating more food and faster by a food additive?
John E. Erb
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And what are you doing here, Nicholas? Decided to watch me sleep?" "Yes," said Nick, and bowed is head over his sword again. He had tissues, oil, and sandpaper laid out on the windowsill in front of him, and a little stone block he was passing his sword up and down, very carefully. "I came to gaze upon your sleeping face. Only you had the blanket over your head, so I just had to gaze at a lump I thought was your sleeping face, and that turned out to be your shoulder. Which just wasn't as special." ~Nick and Mae
Sarah Rees Brennan
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The most alarming of all man's assaults upon the environment is the contamination of air, earth, rivers, and sea with dangerous and even lethal materials. This pollution is for the most part irrecoverable; the chain of evil it initiates not only in the world that must support life but in living tissues is for the most part irreversible. In this now universal contamination of the environment, chemicals are the sinister and little-recognized partners of radiation in changing the very nature of the world-the very nature of its life.
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They put on fresh gloves and got back to business. Jazz wiped up the blood splatters in the freezer and tossed the tissues in with Howie's waste. It bothered him that he was leaving evidence behind without some sort of oxygenated bleach, those blood splatters would still show up under Luminol. Of course, the odds of anyone deciding to spray down the morgue freezer and switch on an ultraviolet light were pretty minimal, so it's not like it was evidence that anyone would ever find or use. Still: Billy Dent's First Commandment was "Thou shalt not leave evidence.
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Suddenly I realized that a cell's life is controlled by the physical and energetic environment and not by its genes. Genes are simply molecular blueprints used in the construction of cells, tissues, and organs. The environment serves as a "contractor" who reads and engages those genetic blueprints and is ultimately responsible for the character of a cell's life. It is a single cell's "awareness" of the environment, not its genes, that sets into motion the mechanisms of life.
Bruce H. Lipton
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The summer day is closed - the sun is set:Well they have done their office, those bright hours,The latest of whose train goes softly outIn the red west. The green blade of the groundHas risen, and herds have cropped it; the young twigHas spread its plaited tissues to the sun;Flowers of the garden and the waste have blownAnd withered; seeds have fallen upon the soil,From bursting cells, and in their graves awaitTheir resurrection. Insects from the poolsHave filled the air awhile with humming wings,That now are still for ever; painted mothsHave wandered the blue sky, and died again
William C. Bryant
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But carbon 13 [the carbon from corn] doesn't lie, and researchers who have compared the isotopes in the flesh or hair of Americans to those in the same tissues of Mexicans report that it is now we in the North who are the true people of corn... Compared to us, Mexicans today consume a far more varied carbon diet: the animals they eat still eat grass (until recently, Mexicans regarded feeding corn to livestock as a sacrilege); much of their protein comes from legumes; and they still sweeten their beverages with cane sugar. So that's us: processed corn, walking.
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But carbon 13 [the carbon from corn] doesn't lie, and researchers who have compared the isotopes in the flesh or hair of Americans to those in the same tissues of Mexicans report that it is now we in the North who are the true people of corn.... Compared to us, Mexicans today consume a far more varied carbon diet: the animals they eat still eat grass (until recently, Mexicans regarded feeding corn to livestock as a sacrilege); much of their protein comes from legumes; and they still sweeten their beverages with cane sugar. So that's us: processed corn, walking.
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So deep is the conflict, I believe I cannot breathe for all the doubt, guilt and sorrow my sister is pushing into me as her hand presses harder upon my sore breastplate and her fingers nervously twist the rusted clasp I remember so well. She is listening to the expert medic as he mutters excuses for not knowing what's happening. She knows not what she does to me, knows not what she did. She cries into tissues my mother hands her, yet the sound of her sadness almost seems weak. I doubted her in life at times. She waged a constant battle - and, to survive it, I waged mine. Each young body tiring the other for no reason but the chance to win a pointless game - a game I told her was not necessary many times. She saw me as a competitor and wanted everything I wanted, had to have everything I had. She saw me as a threat - my own sister - and that always hurt.
Carla H. Krueger
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How's the blood-stream, my dear, invaluable little woman? How's the blood-stream?"... "It's quite comfortable, sir... I think, sir, thank you."... "Aha!"... "a comfortable stream, is it? Aha! v-e-r-y good. V-e-r-y good. Dawdling 'twixt hill and hill, no doubt. Meandering through groves of bone, threading the tissues and giving what sustenance it can to your dear old body... I am so glad. But in yourself - right deep down in yourself - how do you feel? Carnally speaking, are you at peace - from the dear grey hairs of your head to the patter of your little feet - are you at peace?" "What does he mean, dear?" said poor Mrs. Slagg, clutching Fuschia's arm... "He wants to know if you feel well or not.
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We sleep, allowing gravity to hold us, allowing Earth- our larger body- to recalibrate our neurons, composting the keen encounters of our waking hours (the tensions and terrors of our individual days), stirring them back, as dreams, into the sleeping substance of our muscles. We give ourselves over to the influence of the breathing earth. Sleep is the shadow of the earth as it seeps into our skin and spreads throughout our limbs, dissolving our individual will into the thousand and one selves that compose it- cells, tissues, and organs taking their prime directives now from gravity and the wind- as residual bits of sunlight, caught in the long tangle of nerves, wander the drifting landscape of our earth-borne bodies like deer moving across the forested valleys.
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The skin is an integral part of the body and depends upon the general system for its supply of food and to carry away its waste. Skin health depends primarily upon the general health of the body. All attempts to deal with the skin as an independent entity, without due regard to its reliance upon the general system, must of necessity result in failure. The skin is nourished by the blood and there is no other source from which it can draw sustenance. "Skin foods" are all frauds. These are composed chiefly of grease. No fat can be assimilated by the skin or other tissues of the body until it has first been broken down into its constituent fatty acids in the process of digestion. Even were this not true, the skin contains very little fat and these "skin foods" would still not constitute proper nourishment for it. Blood is the only skin food.
Herbert M. Shelton
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She has that voraciousness about children. She swoops in on them. Even I, in public was a beloved child. She'd parade me into town, smiling and teasing me, tickling me as she spoke with people on the sidewalks. When we got home, she'd trail off to her room like an unfinished sentence, and I would sit outside with my face pressed against her door, and replay the day in my head, searching for clues to what I had done to displease her. I have one memory that catches in me like a nasty clump of blood. Marian was dead about two years, and my mother had a cluster of friends come over for afternoon drinks. For hours, the child was cooed over, smothered with red lipstick kisses, tidied up with tissues, then lipstick smacked again. I was suppose to be reading in my room, but I sat at the top of the stairs watching. My mother finally was handed the baby, and she cuddled it ferociously. Oh, how, wonderful it is to hold a baby again! Adora jiggled it on her knee, walked it around the rooms, whispered to it, and I looked down from above like a spiteful little god, the back of my hand placed against my face, imagining how it felt to be cheek to cheek with my mother.
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Pick up a pinecone and count the spiral rows of scales. You may find eight spirals winding up to the left and 13 spirals winding up to the right, or 13 left and 21 right spirals, or other pairs of numbers. The striking fact is that these pairs of numbers are adjacent numbers in the famous Fibonacci series: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21... Here, each term is the sum of the previous two terms. The phenomenon is well known and called phyllotaxis. Many are the efforts of biologists to understand why pinecones, sunflowers, and many other plants exhibit this remarkable pattern. Organisms do the strangest things, but all these odd things need not reflect selection or historical accident. Some of the best efforts to understand phyllotaxis appeal to a form of self-organization. Paul Green, at Stanford, has argued persuasively that the Fibonacci series is just what one would expects as the simplest self-repeating pattern that can be generated by the particular growth processes in the growing tips of the tissues that form sunflowers, pinecones, and so forth. Like a snowflake and its sixfold symmetry, the pinecone and its phyllotaxis may be part of order for free
Stuart A. Kauffman
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He looked at them and saw their faces did not fit. The skin on the skulls crawled and twitched like half-solid paste. All the heads in his angle of vision seemed irregular lumps, like potatoes but without a potato's repose: potatoes with crawling surfaces punctured by holes which opened and shut, holes blocked with coloured jelly or fringed with bone stumps, elastic holes through which air was sucked or squirted, holes secreting salt, wax, spittle and snot. He grasped a pencil in his trouser pocket, wishing it were a knife he could thrust through his cheek and use to carve his face down to the clean bone. But that was foolish. Nothing clean lay under the face. He thought of sectioned brains, palettes, eyeballs and ears seen in medical diagrams and butcher's shops. He thought of elastic muscle, pulsing tubes, gland sacks full of lukewarm fluid, the layers of cellular and fibrous and granular tissues inside a head. What was felt as tastes, caresses, dreams and thoughts could be seen as a cleverly articulated mass of garbage.
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Time does not heal wounds. It's a body's ritual that does. The instinctual cleansing with rain or other waters, the application of salves. Despite the sting. Even neglected, the body begins to take care. To repair itself. Blood clots, tissues regenerate, flesh scars. Soon, the thin white line is the only evidence of the pain. It is the body, not time. Time does nothing except create distance between the body and that which caused it harm. Recollection of fear can be stronger than the original fear itself. Similarly, bliss is sometimes more vivid when recollected. How else do you explain longing? Longing for what has already passed. That's the real pain. But you insisted, you pried with your fingers to see. You retuned to me after I turned away. You made me recollect for you, collect again and again for you, interrupting the healing with your curiosity. Now that I have given you the words, you may long for them. You may miss me. You may try to find the notes to the song again and again and won't be able to find them. Perhaps, the wounds I made will already have begun to scar. Maybe the body will have begun its ritual of forgetting. I told you not to ask for haunted, not to ask me to recollect. Because recollection is like tearing at closed wounds. Like pealing back the careful tissue put there by the body to make it safe. And because remembered pain is always worse than the original pain, because this time it is expected. This time you already know how much it will hurt.
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To regard all things and principles of things as inconstant modes or fashions has more and more become the tendency of modern thought. Let us begin with that which is without - our physical life. Fix upon it in one of its more exquisite intervals, the moment, for instance, of delicious recoil from the flood of water in summer heat. What is the whole physical life in that moment but a combination of natural elements to which science gives their names? But these elements, phosphorus and lime and delicate fibres, are present not in the human body alone: we detect them in places most remote from it. Our physical life is a perpetual motion of them - the passage of the blood, the wasting and repairing of the lenses of the eye, the modification of the tissues of the brain by every ray of light and sound - processes which science reduces to simpler and more elementary forces. Like the elements of which we are composed, the action of these forces extends beyond us; it rusts iron and ripens corn. Far out on every side of us those elements are broadcast, driven by many forces; and birth and gesture and death and the springing of violets from the grave are but a few out of ten thousand resultant combinations. That clear, perpetual outline of face and limb is but an image of ours, under which we group them - a design in a web, the actual threads of which pass out beyond it. This at least of flame-like our life has, that it is but the concurrence, renewed from moment to moment, of forces parting sooner or later on their ways.
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The Earth Speaks, clearly, distinctly, and, in many of the realms of Nature, loudly, to William Jennings Bryan, but he fails to hear a single sound. The earth speaks from the remotest periods in its wonderful life history in the Archaeozoic Age, when it reveals only a few tissues of its primitive plants. Fifty million years ago it begins to speak as 'the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creatures that hath life.' In successive eons of time the various kinds of animals leave their remains in the rocks which compose the deeper layers of the earth, and when the rocks are laid bare by wind, frost, and storm we find wondrous lines of ascent invariably following the principles of creative evolution, whereby the simpler and more lowly forms always precede the higher and more specialized forms. The earth speaks not of a succession of distinct creations but of a continuous ascent, in which, as the millions of years roll by, increasing perfection of structure and beauty of form are found; out of the water-breathing fish arises the air-breathing amphibian; out of the land-living amphibian arises the land-living, air-breathing reptile, these two kinds of creeping things resembling each other closely. The earth speaks loudly and clearly of the ascent of the bird from one kind of reptile and of the mammal from another kind of reptile.
Henry Fairfield Osborn
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Long before there were effective treatments, physicians dispensed prognoses, hope, and, above all, meaning. When something terrible happens-and serious disease is always terrible-people want to know why. In a pantheistic world, the explanation was simple-one god had caused the problem, another could cure it. In the time since people have been trying to get along with only one God, explaining disease and evil has become more difficult. Generations of theologians have wrestled with the problem of theodicy-how can a good God allow such bad things to happen to good people? Darwinian medicine can't offer a substitute for such explanations. It can't provide a universe in which events are part of a divine plan, much less one in which individual illness reflects individual sins. It can only show us why we are the way we are, why we are vulnerable to certain diseases. A Darwinian view of medicine simultaneously makes disease less and more meaningful. Diseases do not result from random or malevolent forces, they arise ultimately from past natural selection. Paradoxically, the same capacities that make us vulnerable to disease often confer benefits. The capacity for suffering is a useful defense. Autoimmune disease is a price of our remarkable ability to attack invaders. Cancer is the price of tissues that can repair themselves. Menopause may protect the interests of our genes in existing children. Even senescence and death are not random, but compromises struck by natural selection as it inexorably shaped out bodies to maximize the transmission of our genes. In such paradoxical benefits, some may find a gentle satisfaction, even a bit of meaning-at least the sort of meaning Dobzhansky recognized. After all, nothing in medicine makes sense except in the light of evolution.
Randolph M. Nesse
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Say you could view a time lapse film of our planet: what would you see? Transparent images moving through light, 'an infinite storm of beauty.' The beginning is swaddled in mists, blasted by random blinding flashes. Lava pours and cools; seas boil and flood. Clouds materialize and shift; now you can see the earth's face through only random patches of clarity. The land shudders and splits, like pack ice rent by widening lead. Mountains burst up, jutting, and dull and soften before your eyes, clothed in forests like felt. The ice rolls up, grinding green land under water forever; the ice rolls back. Forests erupt and disappear like fairy rings. The ice rolls up- mountains are mowed into lakes, land rises wet from the sea like a surfacing whale- the ice rolls back. A blue-green streaks the highest ridges, a yellow-green spreads from the south like a wave up a strand. A red dye seems to leak from the north down the ridges and into the valleys, seeping south; a white follows the red, then yellow-green washes north, then red spreads again, then white, over and over, making patterns of color too intricate to follow. Slow the film. You see dust storms, locusts, floods, in dizzying flash-frames. Zero in on a well-watered shore and see smoke from fires drifting. Stone cities rise, spread, and crumble, like paths of alpine blossoms that flourish for a day an inch above the permafrost, that iced earth no root can suck, and wither in a hour. New cities appear, and rivers sift silt onto their rooftops; more cities emerge and spread in lobes like lichen on rock. The great human figures of history, those intricate, spirited tissues whose split second in the light was too brief an exposure to yield any image but the hunched shadowless figures of ghosts. Slow it down more, come closer still. A dot appears, a flesh-flake. It swells like a balloon; it moves, circles, slows, and vanishes. This is your life.
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Say you could view a time-lapse film of our planet: what would you see? Transparent images moving through light, 'an infinite storm of beauty.' The beginning is swaddled in mists, blasted by random blinding flashes. Lava pours and cools; seas boil and flood. Clouds materialize and shift; now you can see the earth's face through only random patches of clarity. The land shudders and splits, like pack ice rent by a widening lead. Mountains burst up, jutting and dull and soften before your eyes, clothed in forests like felt. The ice rolls up, grinding green land under water forever; the ice rolls back. Forests erupt and disappear like fairy rings. The ice rolls up-mountains are mowed into lakes, land rises wet from the sea like a surfacing whale- the ice rolls back. A blue-green streaks the highest ridges, a yellow-green spreads from the south like a wave up a strand. A red dye seems to leak from the north down the ridges and into the valleys, seeping south; a white follows the red, then yellow-green washes north, then red spreads again, then white, over and over, making patterns of color too swift and intricate to follow. Slow the film. You see dust storms, locusts, floods, in dizzying flash frames. Zero in on a well-watered shore and see smoke from fires drifting. Stone cities rise, spread, and then crumble, like patches of alpine blossoms that flourish for a day an inch above the permafrost, that iced earth no root can suck, and wither in a hour. New cities appear, and rivers sift silt onto their rooftops; more cities emerge and spread in lobes like lichen on rock. The great human figures of history, those intricate, spirited tissues that roamed the earth's surface, are a wavering blur whose split second in the light was too brief an exposure to yield any images. The great herds of caribou pour into the valleys and trickle back, and pour, a brown fluid. Slow it down more, come closer still. A dot appears, like a flesh-flake. It swells like a balloon; it moves, circles, slows, and vanishes. This is your life.
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