Dear Professor Benjamin Zander
Please excuse me if I’m making you losing time with my letter but I just
couldn’t stay quiet after listen and seeing one of your presentations. You
really talk with your eyes, your body, all of you.
I am a molecular geneticist (what a strange job!) I work with people with
genetic disorders, in particular the rare ones (it’s hard, really hard).
And I do research on human genetic conditions. But what I really enjoy to
do is to explain to people the mystery of the genes, the fantastic micro
world that is inside of each cell, to try to convince them about the
dynamics of life, the genes movement, and how all of it works as an
orchestra, where everybody knows its own place, its role and when to go
in, when to be quiet and even when to wake up the colleague because it’s
its turn. The music teacher of my daughters showed me your presentation
because he thinks that I talk about science with the same passion as you
talk about classic music. The music teacher doesn’t speak like you. But
he conduct the young kids band with the same passion, putting all
together, showing each one its place and making those fantastic hand’s
movements’ while conducting. And the most amazing thing that he does is to
see people with the inside regard, that kind of regard that give part of
us to the other, showing us instead of seeing the others. A
musician/magician regard. It is not a question of music, it is not a
question of science, it is, in fact, a question of light, from inside,
that goes outside, just to the people who is watching you. As a scientist
I’ve realized that even for life, there must be a conductor. Genes can’t
do everything, since the beginning. And because you are a conductor, I
would like to tell you one secret. It was written in Portuguese and
probably this translation will be compromised. Anyway, I would like to
tell you this secret, even so.
“Once upon a time there was a cell, a small and complex cell.
When we look close, it looks like the others. But this one had a secret:
one day it will be more than one! And she was!
Someone knock to the door and try to go in. And, without knowing how,
suddenly she was already two, and four, and eight, and sixteen, and thirty
two, and … and so on! STOP IT!
Said the first cell – “From now on I’ll have the command!”
And so she does!
As if she was conducting an orchestra she gave orders, one after other,
first like a rehearsal, when the instruments try to organize their
positions, some stay close, others just move to different places, but they
just start to be listen and to listen each other. And then they changed
the seats, heights, locations, music, …, and it was not anymore an
orchestra; now it seemed like a strange ballet, a little awkward, where
everyone was dancing, everyone was jumping and want to go higher … a
disconnected dance! Some stayed grumpy
Others turned their back
Ops, this would not be easy! It is a hard job for the little, quiet cell,
that had a secret. The cell almost discouraged, almost gave up
But suddenly got angry! (Fortunately! And it was show time!)
“hei, you guys! What do you think you are doing? Just because we look
similar you can’t forget that I’m the conductor! It was just what was
missing! I am the first and “THE FIRST” will be my name, from now on!” So,
that was the secret. The secret of the BEGINNING!
Only she knew when to start, and bring all to play, to align, to enchant.
And from that set of cells emerged an order, a rhythm, and a time. The
clock began to tic tac!
The cells have changed and transformed. They were no longer equal, some of
them moved, others grew up, these ones joined in and those ones coiled.
The rhythm increased, and it began to take shape.
THE FIRST choose her place, from where to lead.
And do you know from where? From the heart, of course!
Certain cells joined and formed the neural tube. They called them “the
wised ones”. But the rhythm was the heart that was dictating: PamPamPam
PamPam PamPam Pam, and all the cells pulsated, at the same time. Marking
the beat, everything became organized, the heart, the lungs, and whatever
would come further and more. And the brain, the wised cells, very
smoothly, with thousands of care for everything include, formed areas and
roads and bridges. Created comings and goings, corners, and many secrets,
and several messengers, to all fill with light and movement and sounds and
feelings. It almost seemed that they command, but no, it was always the
heart! Pulsing, to let life happen, everywhere; beating, and from each
impulse, there was a gush following, a cell that recovered and another
that changed. The program could not be stopped, not anymore.
With the help of performers’ genes, THE FIRST sculpted shapes, holes,
channels, bones and all. Turned balls into webs and complicated
structures. Displayed arms, legs, hands, fingers ...; designed, balanced
and teach the brain how to work, how to let the orchestra play. And many
pages later, THE FIRST almost take a rest. Just a little one, just to see
the work working, and where there are still missing pieces, or unprotected
places. And then, with one command, THE FIRST ordered the air to come in.
And so the day arrived that all came together to BE!
A few more adjustments, ensuring that the flow will continue to pass
through the heart, And, without forgetting to teach for the discovery, he
was born and breathed and screamed and filed the first memory of light
(since for sensations there was already some records for comparison, to
improve or even remind later)! Conscious of the work carried out, THE
FIRST felt satisfied.
Certain that the brain will command and heart counterbalance, the LIFE
appeared and THE FIRST fell asleep!”
Life is like an orchestra. Of classic music? Maybe. Of light, of sound, of
movement, of feelings and of magic! That’s for sure! Genes know it.
Biodiversity knows it. One day, scientists will confirm that development
has a conductor, and the heart has a much more important role than just
send blood to every places of the body. Anyway we think with our brain but
we feel with our heart. If it is not like it, well, it must be wrong –
wrong genes, wrong connexions, awful music. Life is much better with your
talks, your passion, your music.
Thank you for being as you are, for talking with shining eyes.
If, for any reason, your appointments pass through Portugal, I will be
delighted to meet you.
Thank you for your time