Evolution, Jung, and Theurgy:
IV. Some Implications for Neoplatonism

A. The Genome as an Eternal Form

Having understood connections between ethology, Jungian psychology, and Neoplatonism, we can proceed to look at their implications for Neoplatonism.  To this end it will be useful to review a few facts from genetics, as currently understood.

An individual human genotype is an abstract mathematical form, which can be expressed as a word, approximately 300 million characters in length, written with the letters A, C, G, T; this is an individual’s genetic code.  Each person’s code is very slightly different, except of course for identical twins’.  It’s equivalent to a binary number 600 million bits long, that is, a number of approximately 200 million digits.  As a mathematical form, a person’s genotype is eternal, that is, atemporal, although of course the person is not.

At any given time a small subset of the possible genotypes will be participated, that is, represented in matter, in the DNA constituting the chromosomes of living cells.  So, for example, the chromosomes in all of my cells participate in a certain mathematical form, which is my genotype.

In the nucleus of a zygote, or fertilized egg, this genetic material controls the development of an individual.  Of course this control is not absolute, for an individual develops in interaction with its environment, first the mother’s womb, later the external environment.  The term phenotype refers to the resulting individual, whose traits have been conditioned, but not determined, by the genotype.  Thus the genotype is expressed through the unique unfolding of the phenotype in time and space.  (As phenotypes, even “identical” twins are each unique.)

For the sake of simplicity, let me ignore evolution for the moment and treat Homo sapiens as a fixed species, defined by the ability to interbreed (subject to sex constraints) and produce fertile offspring.  From this perspective, H. sapiens corresponds to a mathematical set of genotypes, those potentially able to produce individuals capable of interbreeding.  In this sense, H. sapiens is also an eternal mathematical form.  The human genome, then, may be defined as the common form of all the human genotypes.

Of course there are many technical issues in the definition of species, but they are not critical at this time.  If we can accept that H. sapiens is a well-defined biological concept, then the human genome is a correspondingly well-defined mathematical form.  It too can be represented as a 300 million-character word, which happens to begin, “GAT CAA TGA GGT…”

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