Pleeblandia

Thoughts from the front lines


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The Imperfection of Perfection

As I was reading The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood, I couldn’t help but be shocked at how the theme of perfection was so present in the book just like in Oryx and Crake.

As you all know, Crake planned to completely erradicate humans in order to introduce genetically modified indiviuals that he considered to be “perfect”. Crake saw huge flaws in humans and came to the conclusion that the only way to help humanity would be to start everything over with “superior beings”. I find it ironic that Crake wished to help humankind but instead he just killed them all (or most of them anyhow) including himself. He believed that introducing “perfect humans” would help humanity but the people he created cannot be considered human at all…

This got me thinking a lot and I decided to write this blog about the flaws that exist in trying to attain perfection. Hope you enjoy this read!

Society…

Nowadays we live in a society where we are constantly reminded that we shoud aspire to be as perfect as we can be…

Going from trying to reach physical perfection to intellectual perfection through our education…the constant reminder of perfection being the way to go is always there.

Now you can either look at this and torture yourself on a daily basis to try and reach these unrealistic expectations or you can simply lay back and tell yourself that the whole idea of perfection is imperfect in itself.

Image result for perfection is not real

Why is that?

Like psychotherapist Mel Schwartz thinks: “I’ve come to see that their (people’s) pursuit of perfection is really a disguise for their insecurity. It becomes a statement that I’m not good enough just as I am. When we do that, we judge ourselves.”

Schwartz believes that those who tend to want to reach perfection are just trying to catch up to the people around them that they consider somehow superior to them. Such people have most likely been told in the past that they were not good enough (either by others or even by themselves) and therefore think that the only way to live without any reproach from the rest of the word would be to become perfect.

This is a ridiculous misconception.

Image result for perfection is not real

What if?

Let’s take some time to analyze how people would react if it somehow was possible to reach perfection:

Imagine someone you knew somehow “succeded” in becoming perfect. Theoretically, such person would be praised for being so excellent at everything they do, but in reality, someone that perfect would pretty much be hated by everyone. This is because seeing someone “perfect” would be a daily reminder once again that we are not perfect ourselves. People would be jealous of such perfection and come to despise that person for being something that they have always strived to be.

This is all assuming everyone knowing this person also want to become perfect.

Now let’s look at it from another perspective :

Someone “perfect” could be also viewed as boring and not special at all. If you think about it, perfection means that all flaws have been surpassed and that there is no room for improvement anymore. In other words, this perfect person can be seen as not living life anymore. The purpose of life is to improve and better ourselves on a daily basis without trying to attain perfection, because perfection simply does not exist. If we were already perfect, then there would be nothing to distinguish ourselves. In other words, we would have no individuality.

A perfect world with perfect people would be composed of beings that are all the same, meaning that they have all reached the unreachable of what we see as perfection.

Isn’t that a scary thought though? 

Being surrounded by people who are exactly the same as you would be no fun at all and it would take away everything there is that makes us humans.

Like Schwartz said once again: “The closest thing to perfection is in the ability to be fully present. Without any distracting thoughts, measuring or grading ourselves, we’re free to really be in the moment.”

Put in other words, the only time we are truly alive is when we stop judging ourselves and decide to live in the present.

Image result for you were made to be real not perfect

THE CLOSEST THING TO PERFECTION IS NOW.

A perfectionist is contantly looking back on past decisions and worrying about the future. This takes away from being fully present right in this moment.

“The pursuit of perfection limits our ability to be present and literally robs us of the vitality of life. It is unachievable, unimaginable and frankly undesirable, so why pursue it?”

I believe our time would be better spent in this life if we all decided to stop focusing on this unrealistic view of perfection and decided instead to just better ourselves and become the best version of ourselves that we can be.

Don’t get me wrong, being the best version of yourself does not mean becoming perfect, it means embracing your flaws which makes you human and working on your insecurities while still keeping in mind that you are good enough just the way you are.

To conclude, perfection is terribly misplaced in society and people don’t realize that the idea of perfection is flawed in itself.

There is nothing wrong with trying to better yourself, but aspiring to become perfect is just a waste of time.

What is perfect anyways?

Ana Paula Facetti

……………………………………………………………..Read More………………………………………………………….

I invite you all to watch this short motivational video from the YouTube channel “Your World Within” that will hopefully change your views on perfection if you still thrive to achieve it. His words definitely hit me and also inspired me to write this blog:

Works Cited

Schwartz, Mel  “The Problem with Perfection”:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/shift-mind/200811/the-problem-perfection

 

 

 

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A Future With Motherless Babies?

Upon reading Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake and her take on what the future of baby-making could look like, I remembered a research I came across a few months ago concerning the use of skin cells to create eggs.

Yes, SKIN CELLS, you read it right!

Babies may one day be born from embryos made from skin cells rather than eggs, according to a recent scientific research.

Isn’t that amazing!

What’s the science behind this?

This research started in 2012 by a reproductive biologist named Katsuhiko Hayashi at Kyushu University in Fukuoka. He led a team together with stem-cell biologist Mitinori Saitou and they successfully managed to turn skin cells into primordial germ cells. PGCs are what give rise to sperm and eggs. They can be described as immature egg cells that are in their beginning stages of development.

This was done using the skin cells from the tails of brown female mice in a lab. In order to fully help these artificial eggs develop, scientists had to take a little bit of tissue from the ovaries of mouse fetuses and incorporate them with the immature egg cells. This helped the undeveloped egg cells to fully mature.

Now we had eggs made from skin cells alone!

In order to test if these egg cells actually did what they were meant to do, the scientists fertilized them with the sperm of brown mice using the IN-VITRO fertilization technique. Then they implanted the fertilized eggs into the uteruses of the female mice.

8 healthy pups were born from reprogrammed skin cells!

Hayashi even reported that some of these animals were able to give birth to a second generation of mice.

Mice born from a dish in a lab. Picture taken from nature.com

What does this mean for humans?

No one has yet tried to create human eggs from skin cells, but Hayashi says that in theory, it should be possible.

Such an advancement in scientific research would open tons of new possibilities for the future of conceiving babies.

Let’s explore some of them:

Putting and end to infertility

Think about it…

If we were able to make an unlimited amount of eggs from skin cells, then we could completely eradicate infertility. Such advancement would be extremely useful for women who have become less fertile with age or who have a low number of eggs. They could get pregnant by transforming their skin cells into eggs and fertilizing them using IVF. Such technique could even be used for women that have had their ovaries damaged due to radiation treatment for cancer!

Babies with two genetic fathers

The same technique could be used to create eggs from male skin cells, allowing babies to have shared DNA from two male fathers. Of course, a woman would still be needed to carry the baby to term.

This could be amazing for gay couples!

Hayashi has tried to create eggs from the skin cells of male mice, but he hasn’t yet succeeded. This raises a lot more challenges than creating eggs from female skin cells. This is because having just the Y chromosomes disrupts the process of successful cell division. In order for this to work, scientists would have to find a different method. The fact that fetal tissue was used to boost the maturity of the eggs could also be a challenge.

Saving endangered animals species

If this technique proves to be successful in other animals, then it could be used for breeding endangered animal species.

This could save a lot of animals from extinction!

What are the downsides?

As exciting as this scientific advancement is, I can’t help but think of the possible controversies and negative consequences attached to it.

Of course, everything comes with their pros and cons. Being such a new technique, it is almost impossible to know for sure if the same could be applied to humans. Theory is one thing, but actually managing to do it is different and far more challenging.

There are many risks associated with this research that most scientists are not willing to take with humans. This raises the question of using animals to experiment on. Is that ethically ok?

Another controversy attached to this research is the role of women in conceiving. Are we looking at a future where anyone can have babies and women are no longer needed?

Should we look forward to this or would it be pushing technology too far? Do the positive impacts outweigh the negative ones or not?

Tell me what you think!

Relation to Oryx and Crake

In Oryx and Crake, we see a futuristic world where technology and science have taken over. Jimmy seems very bothered by the fact that Ramona and his father want to have a child together. The idea of having a sibling isn’t what troubles him, but the thought of it being superior to him. By superior, Jimmy entails that Ramona and his father will try to create this perfect child by most likely undergoing some sort of genetic remodeling. In other words, handcrafting their own child.

This is a perfect example in the book of technology pushing too far.

When is it too much?

Ana Paula Facetti

For more information about the subject, check out:

CNN News: http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/09/health/embryo-skin-cell-ivg/

TechCrunch: https://techcrunch.com/2016/10/21/scientists-made-babies-from-mouse-skin-cells/

Pulse: http://pulse.embs.org/january-2015/babies-skin-cells/

References:

Atwood, Margaret. Oryx and Crake. Toronto: Vintage Canada, 2003.

Jessica Hamzelou, ‘Eggs made from skin cells in lab could herald end to infertility ‘. Scientist Journal. October 17, 2016

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2109305-eggs-made-from-skin-cells-in-lab-could-herald-end-of-infertility/

David Cyranoski, ‘Mouse eggs made from skin cells in a dish’. Nature Journal. October 17, 2016

http://www.nature.com/news/mouse-eggs-made-from-skin-cells-in-a-dish-1.20817