A recent article from Science Magazine reported on a study performed on the west coast of Canada that wanted to know why, over thousands of years there were distinct genetic differences between bears that existed in close proximity. The environment was rich in food and environmental support; bears did not travel much over thousands of years. The geography, in part, has many large islands.
What made the study intriguing was that when the human genome of several indigenous human tribes from the same area was examined, there were genes that appeared similar to those in the bears and, interestingly, in the same part of the genome.
The conclusion by the scientists is that we are closer to our environment than we may think. Over generations, our bodies adapt to the environment – not just globally but regionally!
The finding contributes to the observed quick differentiation between human races that did not intermingle for many thousands of years. The concept even applies to smaller regions where the Irish, Germanic and Spanish tribes lived, for example. What is most fascinating is that the genetic changes for bears, the Irish and racial differences are located in the same part of the genome. Mariner wonders whether there is racial prejudice among the different bear colonies.
Oh well, this is fascinating science but it no longer applies generally to humans. Humans invented ships, planes, cars, highways; intermingling is inevitable. Perhaps, however, class distinction over many generations still may be a cause for adaptation. This is not as presumptuous as it sounds. In the latest edition of The Atlantic, David Brooks wrote an article that suggests that very thing.
David wrote an excellent commentary about what has brought the United States to the circumstances found today. Largely, it is a separation of what is defined as ‘successful’ among the various classes of society. It turns out that assumptions about what defines successful living have a direct effect on the society as a whole. David says that today in the U.S. culturally, the only successful lifestyle is the meritocracy built on being educated, smart, inventive and contributing to society through some form of creativity. He calls it the ‘creative’ class and is largely represented by today’s Democratic Party and very wealthy Republicans.
Society in the U.S. suggests that those who work with their hands, do monotonous work and have no need to indulge in ‘smart’ stuff cannot by definition be successful. This has led to the many variations of class war that are present today. The national turmoil will increase because the creative class is too small to survive in politics – the only frontier where being smart is not an absolute virtue.
So look forward to attacks on big data, socialist issues, tax advantages, science in general and the ideological fantasy of freedom and success – as in guns, law enforcement, racism and any other issue – even to the extent of whether one ‘must’ participate in fighting the pandemic that is now playing out in more conservative states.
Why can’t a gun-toting stevedore be seen as successful as a computer programmer?