The Wonderful Ways Of The Working World

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This was an entry for a contest with the writing cue #BeautifulInEverySize. Mine did not win, but I like it. So here it is.

Beautiful In Every Size In Our Body

Just a few weeks ago I had an infection. I had to take antibiotics and my stomach was upset. It is true that many bacteria cause human beings infections some of which are quite deadly. But not all bacteria are bad for us. There are millions of bacteria, called gut bacteria that live in our digestive tract and aid us with the process of digestion. We share a symbiotic relationship with them, and we sorely miss them when they are gone or even if their numbers are diminished as a result of antibiotics. Luckily in a few days they bounce back or you can take some gut bacteria replenishing solution to help them along. The tiny bacteria and the large humans, both need each other.

But that reminded me how incredibly complex our bodies are and so many things have to be so finely balanced for everything to work well. We have bones and organs that vary widely in shape and size, but each is carefully crafted through millennia of evolution to optimally carry out its function. We value every bone in our body from the tiny stapes to the large femur. We value our little retinas as much as our large liver. Hey we even value those tiny gut bacteria. We value or hearts and lungs that differ in shape and yet work together in harmony so we may have a functional cardiovascular system.

Beautiful In Every Size In Nature

Just like we value all the various parts of our body, no matter what shape or size they are, so does nature value all of it's components.

Over the last few decades we have seen an over use of antibiotics. When antibiotics were first discovered they liberated us from a number of deadly diseases. But the use of antibiotics are no longer limited to medication. They are also used in cleaning supplies and hand soap. Lot of this use of antibiotics is quite unnecessary and as a result of paranoia or belief that there is no harm in using it. And what has been the outcome?

Nature has bounced back with drug resistant bacteria also called the superbug. In senselessly killing the relatively harmless bacteria that are a small but important part of this complex beautiful world, we have made ourselves some mortal enemies.

On the other extreme, some of our ways has pushed nature so far that it may never recover. I am talking about a large scale assault on the mighty trees that make a forest. These forests are being depleted much faster than they can regenerate. The forest and trees are home to many life forms. As a result, entire species are becoming extinct.

Just like in our body every organ or bone, large or small, has a function and if any of them stops working we experience discomfort and the absence of some can be fatal, in the same way every species in the world contributes to the bio-diversity and has some role to play in the functioning of the world. The world is more robust than our bodies and can survive a few blows, but it too is not infinitely resilient. Already we are probably seeing some climate change and may at some point witness the cascade of ill-effects that will follow. Because in a complex system, when something vital breaks down then everything connected is affected in ways that we may never have expected.

On a much grander scale, the sun that is our life source, gets it's magnificent power from the fusion of nature's tiniest particles: atoms. Millions of pairs of atoms, undergo fusion to generate unimaginable amounts of energy that sustains all life on earth. We on earth have learned how to harness this energy in the form of the deadly hydrogen bomb. Hopefully we will always have the good sense, to never use it to destroy the complex and beautiful world that was born of this energy. Instead, we hope to someday learn to harness this fusion energy in a safe, clean and controlled fashion, to bring prosperity to our kind without polluting the world.

Beautiful In Every Size In Machines

Complex beauty resulting from the co-operation of large and small parts is not true only of the natural world, but human made machines as well. In a computer , there are many tiny and large parts that work together to create a technological marvel. The fan that keeps the computer cool , is just as indispensable to the computer's functioning, as the tiniest integrated circuit. Similarly there are many small and large parts in an aeroplane that all have to function properly for it to fly safely.

The beauty of the whole is greater than the sum of the beauty of its parts:

A scientist by training, I find beauty in the way things work. In any complex system the large, the small and everyone in between, must come together to create beauty and in so doing, become a part of it.

The working of both the natural and artificial systems reminds me, that there is beauty in components of every shape and size, which is best manifested when they all work together to create something of enhanced beauty.

Tags: science, women, prejudice, social