:: joe arnold with friend ::
Joe Arnold delivered a technical talk tonight, posing hypotheses about how humans of our type might have become so prevalent. Could the lid have come off of something? They appeared to break out of the box right after a period of 75K years of cold. Had their number dwindled to where new cognitive abilities might emerge? Emergence by emergency?
As an example of possible genetic transformations, he was looking at fragile X chromosome sequences, CGG, CGG, CGG... a metaphor for both defects (or lacunae) and self healing. In one of the videos he shared, it appeared like the methylated CGG sequence got edited out by pinching off, though the literature to back him up was weak in this area. He admitted his hypothesis was highly speculative.
We were a packed house. Steve Holden with Julie from London, David Feinstein, Keith Lofstrom, Blueberry and Lynne... Buzz. A mixed bag. Terry Bristol was warming up for his talk, we hope not too sneering, as people sense tone over content when it's over their heads. Lots of good banter I thought. Terry questioned the dogma that some built in desire to reproduce and have huge families was really a driver, either now or really ever. Heresy is his middle name. He questions Darwin the same way some question the Gospels.
I started my day early in Woodstock as a follow-up to encountering the Peace Corps table, lots of vets last night at Lucky Lab, and wanting to chat more with the Sierra Leone guy (later the Balkans, also Peace Corps). We'd met here before. After I raised the topic of Quakers and slavery, the US Civil War, he talked about a route some former slaves took, to safer Canada and then back to Africa via Halifax.
Suzanne joined us and helped steer the conversation, which I was happy to have her do (something she's good at). Then shopping at Trader Joe's, which I'd boycotted for awhile, over some fish issue, but now am happy enough to trade with again (fish issue resolved).
Joe is our psychiatrist Wanderer who lives well outside Portland. He comes to the lectures and Heathman dinners and we respect him a lot. We've done retreats at his place. We come out of the woodwork when he shares his latest thinking.
The canvas he painted included this ultra-shy girl whose grandfather later turned out to have Fragile X syndrome. Recent breakthroughs in genetic science had allowed identification of this phenomenon, a long piece of methylated X chromosome, of up to 2000 CGG tri-nucleotides.
Joe's talk was about the history of the human species and related models, since Lucy. He did a cave painting like sketch of forks and branches, hominid types. How did they spread out of Africa, after a certain bottleneck? How low did the numbers go when the planet froze that time? He was referencing the mitochondrial record, something David had spoken about earlier, at the Wanderer's retreat (the rate of mitochondrial mutation blurs what seemed a clear picture of "Eve" at one point).
Earlier: a one frame cartoon that came to me. Eve handing Adam an Apple iPhone: "it's for you" she says. Feeding Adam's delirium he's channeling (talking to) God? Lots of interpretations. Actually it was the "snake" talking, or some brand of dragon maybe, depending on your mythos (frequency).
I thought Wanderers were on their best behavior. Joe's talk got us rialed in various ways, like screeching apes but more fluent in English. His calm quiet manner makes the world safe for us crazies to sound off, and people butted in big time towards the end. But that's per our model, we expect that in Wanderers. Terry was not out of place, as I explained to Helen, you just had to know enough history. She thanked me for the thumbnail. Good to have such a fun event and venue.
We all seem retarded to one another one might say. What Fuller called aberrational, aberrations, afterimages of eternity (instant). Or we seem preternaturally fast on occasion, like circus freaks. Relativity. Doppler Effect. That's how Synergetics deals with it (our relative slowness -- we all have these "sequence defects" somewhere or another). But these are also our gifts.
Joe's message seemed ultimately hopeful, that small self-repairings could make a big positive difference. We like it when that happens.