Wednesday, April 24, 2002

"Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known." --Carl Sagan
This was a quote nestled among the blog posts of a lively and creative student, whose site is worth checking out.

I got fixated on the quote because of a link that b!X emailed me that offers a theory, based on information that the genome project has shared, about human ancestry.

The site begins with the following statement:
In whose image was The Adam – the prototype of modern humans, Homo sapiens – created? The Bible asserts that the Elohim said: “Let us fashion the Adam in our image and after our likeness.” But if one is to accept a tentative explanation for enigmatic genes that humans possess, offered when the deciphering of the human genome was announced in mid-February, the feat was decided upon by a group of bacteria!

The site goes on to explain, in somewhat scientific detail, the composition of human DNA, beginning with this statement:
Moreover, there was hardly any uniqueness to the human genes. They are comparative to not the presumed 95 percent but to almost 99 percent of the chimpanzees, and 70 percent of the mouse. Human genes, with the same functions, were found to be identical to genes of other vertebrates, as well as invertebrates, plants, fungi, even yeast. The findings not only confirmed that there was one source of DNA for all life on Earth, but also enabled the scientists to trace the evolutionary process – how more complex organisms evolved, genetically, from simpler ones, adopting at each stage the genes of a lower life form to create a more complex higher life form – culminating with Homo sapiens.

It was here, in tracing the vertical evolutionary record contained in the human and the other analyzed genomes, that the scientists ran into an enigma. The “head-scratching discovery by the public consortium,” as Science termed it, was that the human genome contains 223 genes that do not have the required predecessors on the genomic evolutionary tree.

How did Man acquire such a bunch of enigmatic genes?

The site offers the same answer that many others have regarding "ancient astronauts." I find it as believable an explanation as any put forth by more traditional spiritualities.
Can we move from "feminism" to "humanism?"
Halley Suitt has several blog posts that cite various books and other blog posts about the struggle women still have achieving careers success on an equal basis with men -- a definition of "equal basis" that includes the sharing of family responsibilities. She hopes we are moving into a new era of "humanism" in contrast to "feminism."

I hope that she's right, although it was the feminst movement that gave women like me the personal confidence to go out and make our way in the "man's" world of work. Oddly enough, however, both the best boss and the worst boss I have ever had were both women. And, while "feminism" had nothing to do with their management styles, I must say that "humanism" did.

However, mine is a feminist success story. I was a teenager in the 50s, rebelled against those values in college, and married someone who seemed to accept me as an equal. That is, until I got pregnant immediately; then I was expected to become the wife/mother/homemaker. He made it impossible for me to pursue a career, but after we divorced, I had no problem doing that successfully and raising my kids myself as well. I have found that, in my generation, husbands often made it very difficult for their wives to have a careers while raising children. The husband expected that he would work outside the home; but if the woman did so, she was also expected to do the work inside the home as well. No wonder we succumbed to either anger or depression, and no wonder so many of us embraced the feminist movement.

It's much different for my pregnant 30-something daughter, whose husband has shared homemaking with her from the very beginning of their relationship.. He also intends to share the child care. While they haven't yet worked out how they will share the bread-winning, he is open to doing whatever will work best for the family -- from one of them staying home with the child, to their each working part-time, to one of them working full time and the other part time. That kind of equality of responsibility was rare in my generation. Perhaps many of us "feminist" women who struggled so hard have it all and realized that we couldn't, have raised sons who are aware that having it all means sharing it all.

Creating workplaces that are flexible enough to accommodate this more humanistic family unit, however, is another story. My last job (with the best boss) allowed for a great deal of flexibility for both men and women who had childen, including telecommuting, bringing kids into the office, taking emergency time off etc. etc. And she wound up with an incredibly loyal and productive staff as a result. So it can be done. But I wonder how likely it is to be done by many male managers/bosses.
Linda Lovelace died yesterday.
She died in a car accident. But that's not my point. Linda Lovelace's most famous and most degrading movie, Deep Throatwas the first porno movie I ever saw. It was on a double bill with The Devil in Miss Jones in the only movie theater in Gloucester, Maine.

One summer weekend in the mid-seventies, a female elementary school teacher friend of mine and I left our husbands with our kids and took off for a weekend on our own. We wound up in Cape Anne, Massachusetts, where we did some sightseeing, including discovering that Harry Chapin's song about "Dogtown" was based on real and really weird stuff. On our first night there we were so tired that we crashed after dinner (and wine, of course) and then set out the next day for Gloucester. Well, what can two married women do in the evening after dinner in a town where they don't know anyone? Heh. Go to the movies, of course. We had a choice of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid or a double porno bill. Neither one of us had ever seen a porno movie, and no one in town knew who we were. It was a chance we couldn't pass up.

Years after, Linda Lovelace revealed the horrors that she endured as her (then) husband proceeded to get her hooked on drugs and caught in a spiral of prostitution and personal brutality. That was the reality. But for two young naive married women off on a weekend away from their every day real worlds, the fantasy was too intriguing to pass up.

It is important to know the difference between fantasy and reality.