Lewis Thomas Essays

Lewis Thomas Essays-56
..life of the planet began the long, slow process of modulating and regulating the physical conditions of the planet.The oxygen in today's atmosphere is almost entirely the result of photosynthetic living, which had its start with the appearance of blue-green algae among the microorganisms.There are so many new books about dying that there are now special shelves set aside for them in bookshops, along with the health-diet and home-repair paperbacks and the sex manuals.

..life of the planet began the long, slow process of modulating and regulating the physical conditions of the planet.The oxygen in today's atmosphere is almost entirely the result of photosynthetic living, which had its start with the appearance of blue-green algae among the microorganisms.There are so many new books about dying that there are now special shelves set aside for them in bookshops, along with the health-diet and home-repair paperbacks and the sex manuals.

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Any ambiguity, any tendency to wander from the matter at hand, will introduce grave hazards for the cells, and even more for the host in which they live.

There is a theory that the process of aging may be due to the cumulative effect of imprecision, a gradual degrading of information. Good applied science in medicine, as in physics, requires a high degree of certainty about the basic facts at hand, and especially about their meaning, and we have not yet reached this point for most of medicine.

The circuits are so intimately interwoven that the anthill meets all the essential criteria of an organism.

Ants are so much like human beings as to be an embarrassment. As evolutionary time is measured, we have only just turned up and have hardly had time to catch breath, still marveling at our thumbs, still learning to use the brand-new gift of language.

A poet is, after all, a sort of scientist, but engaged in a qualitative science in which nothing is measurable.

He lives with data that cannot be numbered, and his experiments can be done only once.

I believe that this is the same state in which people find themselves whom we see fainting in the agony of death, and I maintain that we pity them without cause. Inside were two young MPs, trapped in bent steel, both mortally hurt, with only their heads and shoulders visible.

We had a conversation while people with the right tools were prying them free.

An elm in our backyard caught the blight this summer and dropped stone dead, leafless, almost overnight.

One weekend it was a normal-looking elm, maybe a little bare in spots but nothing alarming, and the next weekend it was gone, passed over, departed, taken.

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