Winner of an Independent Publisher's 2020 IPPY Award in Science!
An Epigenetic Re-Framing of Consciousness, Life, and Evolution
Where does consciousness fit into biology? How did life evolve? What makes us human?
These are just a few of the deep and universal questions that the new science and philosophy of epigenetics may be able to answer.
Epigenetics (“above and beyond genetics”) is an exciting new field, but it remains relatively unknown, even as genetics has been saturating scientific news since the early 1990s. Whether it was through the Human Genome Project, the heritability of a disease, or DNA ancestry testing, most people have likely heard of genetics. But, despite its popularity, very few truly understand the scope of genetics or what in fact constitutes a gene.
Genetics is often thought of as the study of inheritance, or how biological traits are passed from parent to child. Some scientists consider genes to be the only vehicles by which information travels from generation to generation. In this view, we are defined by our genetic blueprints, our paths determined by our lineage. But the growing field of epigenetics is poised to revolutionize this paradigm.
Epigenetics suggests that our genetics is not the foundation of inheritance and life. In this book, Ben Callif walks us through the history of evolution and modern biology, the basics of genetics and genes, and the complexities of cells and inheritance, and proposes that epigenetics can provide a new perspective on identity, consciousness, and the origins of life itself. In Organumics, living things are not discrete, isolated units (organisms). Instead, life is an inseparable and interconnected fractal that emerges through the cooperation of self-directed and self-contained individuals—organa.
As an organum, we each play a vital role in the direction of evolutionary progress through our thoughts, feelings, and intentions. What we do changes who we are, and who we are influences what our descendants might one day become.
Ben L. Callif is a Milwaukee-based philosopher, scientist, and author interested in the paradoxes of consciousness and how science intersects with a holistic sense of purpose. His published writings have focused on circadian rhythms, spinal cord injury, and genetic engineering. Organumics is his first book.