I am heading towards depression again. I can feel it hounding at my ankles. Self doubt. That feeling of overwhelm. Panic in my chest. The future stretches ahead of me, blank and uncertain. I want to switch the world off.
This last year has been an attempt to be in the world. Actively, passionately. I am struggling now with the things that I have found.
Realisations that my kind, the white kind, have done horrid things to themselves, to each other, to those who do not look like them, and that standing here in my white skin, I am often thrown in the heap with them. I am white. I am them.
Realisations that in the name of progress, of a better life, people have done horrendous acts. That the worst atrocities – the Holocaust, the Soviet gulags, Pol Pot’s mass murders – were all done in the name of goodness, because the perpetrators believed that this was the way to make the world a better, safer, fairer place. And now Brexit. Trump. The burning of books at Wits. The self-righteous insistence that the end justifies the means.
Realisations that people pretend to kill others for amusement, for fun, to relax.
What is this world where people believe that one person’s wellbeing will be improved by the destruction of another’s?
I am wearied by this. Wearied by this world.
Last week I went to the Biodata World Congress at the Wellcome Campus in Cambridge. Genomics is the study of the variations and mutations in our human DNA in a bid to understand ‘the language of God’. I am writing an overview of the world’s largest genomic projects.
I was struck by these things:
- The reference human genome – the first dictionary that we made for this new field of research – is 96% made up of the genes of a Caucasian man.
- Nature abhors racism. It abhors sticking to your own kind. The more you breed with those who are close to you, the more it makes you into a mutant. Nature prefers diversity.
- Genomics is the next arms race. Fuelled by a belief that if we can figure out which genetic mutation causes which disease we can make drugs that will stop /fix/block that genetic mutation.
- We are so afraid of death, we are in danger of replacing it with a fear of life. Come here Human 4579kB, it seems that you are at risk of these diseases. We recommend this pill.
- We are mining ourselves as a way to make money. We are the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
Weary, so weary.