Lewis Thomas Quotes

Lewis Thomas Quotes: My mitochondria comprise a very large proportion of me. I cannot do the calculation, but I suppose there is almost as much of them in sheer dry bulk as there is the rest of me. Looked at in this way, I could be taken for a very large, motile colony of respiring bacteria, operating a complex system of nuclei, microtubules, and neurons for the pleasure and sustenance of their families, and running, at the moment, a typewriter.
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Lewis Thomas Quote: The drive to be useful is encoded in our genes. But when we gather in very large numbers, as in the modern nation-state, we seem capable of levels of folly and self-destruction to be found nowhere else in all of nature. But if we keep at it and keep alive, we are in for one surprise after another. We can build structures for human society never seen before, thoughts never heard before, music never heard before.
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Quotes about Lewis Thomas: We are spectacular splendid manifestations of life. We have language. We have affection. And finally, and perhaps best of all, we have music.
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Quote about Lewis Thomas: The capacity to blunder slightly is the real marvel of DNA. Without this special attribute, we would still be anaerobic bacteria and there would be no music.
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Lewis Thomas Sayings: I maintain, despite the moment's evidence against the claim, that we are born and grow up with a fondness for each other, and we have genes for that. We can be talked out of it, for the genetic message is like a distant music, and some of us are hard-of-hearing. Societies are noisy affairs, drowning out the sound of ourselves and our connection.
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Lewis Thomas Saying: Altruism has always been one of biology's deep mysteries. Why should any animal, off on its own, specified and labeled by all sorts of signals as its individual self, choose to give up its life in aid of someone else?
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Sayings about Lewis Thomas: It is from the progeny of this parent cell that we all take our looks; we still share genes around, and the resemblance of the enzymes of grasses to those of whales is in fact a family resemblance.
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Saying about Lewis Thomas: I am a member of a fragile species, still new to the earth, the youngest creatures of any scale, here only a few moments as evolutionary time is measured, a juvenile species, a child of a species. We are only tentatively set in place, error prone, at risk of fumbling, in real danger at the moment of leaving behind only a thin layer of of our fossils, radioactive at that.
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Lewis Thomas Quotes: In real life, every field of science is incomplete, and most of them - whatever the record of accomplishment during the last 200 years - are still in their very earliest stages.
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Lewis Thomas Quote: It is when physicians are bogged down by their incomplete technologies, by the innumerable things they are obliged to do in medicine when they lack a clear understanding of disease mechanisms, that the deficiencies of the health-care system are most conspicuous. If I were a policy-maker, interested in saving money for health care over the long haul, I would regard it as an act of high prudence to give high priority to a lot more basic research in biologic science.
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Quotes about Lewis Thomas: We are told that the trouble with modern man is that he has been trying to detach himself from nature... In this scenario, Man comes on as a stupendous lethal force, and the Earth is pictured as something delicate, like rising bubbles at the surface of a country pond, or flights of fragile birds.
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Quote about Lewis Thomas: It is not a simple life to be a single cell, although I have no right to say so, having been a single cell so long ago myself that I have no memory at all of that stage of my life.
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Lewis Thomas Sayings: There's really no such thing as the agony of dying. I'm quite sure that pain is shut off at the moment of death. You see, something happens when the body knows it's about to go. Peptide hormones are released by cells in the hypothalamus and pituitary gland. Endorphins. They attach themselves to the cells responsible for feeling pain.
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Lewis Thomas Saying: Montaigne simply turns his mind loose and writes whatever he feels like writing. Mostly, he wants to say that reason is not a special, unique gift of human beings, marking us off from the rest of nature.
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Sayings about Lewis Thomas: I have always had a bad memory, as far back as I can remember.
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Saying about Lewis Thomas: We're as clever as we think we are, but we'll be a lot cleverer when we learn to use not just one brain but to pool huge numbers of brains. We're at a level technologically where we can share information and think collectively about our problems. We do it in science all the time - there's no reason why we can't do it in other endeavors.
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Lewis Thomas Quotes: Perhaps the safest thing to do at the outset, if technology permits, is to send music. This language may be the best we have for explaining what we are like to others in space, with least ambiguity. I would vote for Bach, all of Bach, streamed out into space, over and over again. We would be bragging of course, but it is surely excusable to put the best possible face on at the beginning of such an acquaintance. We can tell the harder truths later.
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Lewis Thomas Quote: Science will...produce the data..., but never the full meaning. For perceiving real significance, we shall need...most of all the brains of poets, [and] also those of artists, musicians, philosophers, historians, writers in general.
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