Thursday, April 21, 2005

DNA analyzed from saliva samples of 49 subjects. One or two shorter copies of a gene that codes for the flow of the brain chemical serotonin, a neurotransmitter that plays a role in anxiety, depression and other mood states. Continued research in the area of the origins of shyness.

Yes, research on shyness. It would seem that the research remains inconclusive as to whether nature (genetic coding) or nurture (environmental issues and socialization) is the most prominent cause of this condition. "Best guess" research tells us that it's most likely a combination of the two influences.

Now don't get me wrong. I think research in specific areas such as these are worthy and noble. But how come no one is doing research in areas that could benefit larger groups, such as:

  • Indentifying a genome that is responsible for impatience, particularly at intersection lights;
  • Pinpointing the neurotransmitter responsible for anal retentiveness;
  • Better understanding the chemical process that brings on the urge to touch a hot stove, lick a frozen light pole in the winter and hit one's thumb over and over again while pounding a nail with a hammer;
  • Articulating the chemical compound that causes the mouth to speak before the brain is engaged.
It's wonderful that science has been able to uncover the general genetic cause of male pattern baldness and testosterone-driven male aggression; it gives so many of us the chance to say, "I can't help it, it's just the way I'm wired." It seems that once science has decided that the general cause of a human condition is teetering more toward genetic coding, we're given a carte blanche excuse for our behavior. "I'm sorry, officer, I didn't see the stop sign back there as I am octogonally-deficient in my right eye." "I'm sorry, dear, but I'm lacking the synaptic network that is responsible for separating my foot from my mouth."

I'm so looking forward to the day when science does uncover the specific genome responsible for impatience. Then I'll be able to say to my wife Di, "Sorry Di, that's just the way I'm wired. There's nothing I can do about it."

Of course, by then, science will have advanced far enough that Di will have me sent in to be "unwired."


Post Note: This reflection is intended to be a humorous look at our basic human nature and understanding; as well as a humorous look at myself. It is not intended to make fun of anyone who may be living with the condition of shyness. To this day, one of my favorite persons in high school was a very shy young woman named Rhonda Rusche. To you, is dedicated today's Morning Walk, Rhonda.

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