A Feeling for the Organism / Barbara McClintock Bio

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In good company: Barabara McClintock

If only psychologists and psychiatrists could look upon
their subjects in the same way that Mclintock  sees plants.

 

A Feeling for the Organism

Biography of Barbara McClintock by Evelyn Keller

“Over and over again, she (McClintock) tells us one must have the time to look, the patience to “hear what the material has to say to you,” the openness to “let it come to you.” Above all, one must have “a feeling for the organism.” One must understand “how it grows, understand its parts, understand when something is going wrong with it. [An organism] isn’t just a piece of plastic, it’s something that is constantly being affected by the environment, constantly showing attributes or disabilities in its growth. You have to be aware of all of that…. You need to know those plants well enough so that if anything changes, … you [can] look at the plant and right away you know what this damage you see is from-something that scraped across it or something that bit it or something that the wind did.”

 

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