Author: Adaeze Nwokolobia

Superorganism: Microbes or Humans

“Whose house is this? /Whose night keeps out the light in here?/ Say, who owns this house?/ It’s not mine./ I dreamed another, sweeter, brighter/ with a view of lakes crossed in painted boats;/ of fields wide as arms open for me. /This house is strange. Its shadows lie. Say, tell me, why does its lock fit my key? – Toni Morrison, Home. 

The human microbiome contains vast number of micro organisms residing in our bodies in complex relationships. According to Sherwood & Woolverton (2013), the human microbiome refers specifically to the collective genomes of resident microorganisms. These relationships can take the form of symbiosis including commensalism, mutualism or even parasitism. Commensals are organisms which reside in a host body not causing harm but not adding benefit either. Rather, these organisms do all the benefiting. Mutualists organisms give us benefits while also receiving benefits. The parasitic ones are the most dangerous capable of threatening our very lives much like a brain eating Amoeba. Yikes! However, if like Michael Pollan, New York times asserts that we are made up of 10 percent human,  then the 90% of the organisms within us are the majority. We never gave our consent to these millions of microorganisms living with us yet we need some of them. The questions in the opening passage of “Home” resounds clearly in my mind, “whose house is this? Whose night keeps out the light in here?/say who owns this house”.  Even as Philosophers like Socrates, Aristotle have likened our bodies to be temporary houses that we shed as we pass away from this life, our bodies are important to us! These numbers of organisms that cohabit in our house, some paying rent like e coli that helps to break down and digest the food we eat. Some that live in the attic quiet like the commensal flora and fauna that feed on dead skin cells. While others weaken our body in a bid to become master of the house like protozoans.  Say who owns this house?

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Self Birth: Disorganisation

Sometimes in the recesses of our soul we wish to feel new again. Sometimes, in the dark matter of our minds, we wonder what we could be if we were someone else. In the subcutaneous layer of our skin, the pulsing vibrations of our excitement at the possibilities energises our lifeblood giving us a rush of some sorts. We could be day dreaming or we could be in the gestation period of our self-birth.

The origin of life is a controversial topic in the science world with multiple theories laced with loopholes. Many of which are quite difficult to answer presently. However, researchers over the years have proposed and modified multiple types of theories to explain how the first life came about. Many of these theories can not specifically explain how life started without help from an external influence. However, chemical evolution is a leading theory with the Oparin-Haldin  hypothesis suggesting that life arose gradually from inorganic molecules, with “building blocks” like amino acids forming first and then combining to make complex polymers. While, other scientists support the RNA World Hypothesis which suggests that the first life was self-replicating RNA. Others favour the Metabolism- First hypothesis placing metabolic networks before DNA or RNA. How can the wonder of birth and how living things came about not cause such a frenzy? https://www.khanacademy.org/science/biology/history-of-life-on-earth/history-life-on-earth/a/hypotheses-about-the-origins-of-life Read more

Making Sense of the Shadows: An Allegory of Modern Day Slavery.

“Race”, a tightly weaved fabrication that has been adeptly warped and knitted into the tapestry of time always finds a way to spin and roll itself into every social justice conversation and debate in modern day America. With each passing generation, the hot topic on race refuses to fizzle out. Yet, race does not exist, scientists have maintained constantly. Then, why do we still believe it does? Let’s look at the early origins of slavery.  The documentary, “Race: the power of an illusion” narrates how in Early America there was no division along color lines, rather the obvious division was class. In other words, “Race is a modern idea – it hasn’t always been with us. In ancient times, language, religion, status, and class distinctions were more important than physical appearance” ( ). Basically, the main question at the time was not about who was coloured or white but who had more wealth, influence and lands than the other. The advent of the transatlantic slave trade business and forceful capture of Africans into the Americas introduced a deceptive division. Chain business transactions (pun intended) would create a division so wide, false ideology and pseudoscience could only account for it. In simplistic terms, the historical buying and selling of human beings breathed life to the lie called “race”  Albeit, modern scientists maintain that if race actually exists then there is only the human race.  Read more