Thursday, July 10, 2014

Do Our Mistakes Shape Us?

I dug into some Serious Reading today and had some Serious Thoughts, like how Buddhist precepts overlap with family systems theory.  

But I'm on vacation, so I'm not going to blog on that right now. 

Instead, let's consider the YouTube videos my kids had me watching. Specifically this one from the Vsauce guys. Yeah, it's got cancer in the title, but it's about a lot more than that, and here's the one thing that stuck out for me-

120,000 transcription errors every time our DNA copies.  

Yeah. 120,000 mistakes.  Whoopses. Screw-ups. 

Many of them are caught by our bodies' own systems, but some of these errors will be carried on in further splitting of cells. Sometimes this is a bad thing (like cancer), sometimes it makes very little difference, and sometimes the mutation can even be beneficial.

Do our mistakes, conscious or not, make us who we are? Not entirely, but yes, they must play a role. 

First, the unconscious--from those genetic typos to things we don't really consider--the accident or opportunity we might miss when we oversleep. That right there is the stuff of a thousand stories.

Next are the big mistakes we make with our eyes open. Sometimes we make what turns out to be a wrong choice.  Or we make a choice and something unexpected happens--it, too, might be good, bad, or neutral.

And what about how we REACT to our mistakes? Do we take responsibility? If we have done harm, do we admit it and ask forgiveness? Offer to repair things? If we had one of those serendipities of accidental discovery, do we fess up to the wonder?

(If we're bitten by a radioactive spider, do we use our newfound powers for good, evil, or impressive macrame?)

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