Saturday, January 2, 2021

The Chimera and the Holobiont


This is a rather ambitious project of mine where I examine a subject I have been working on for a long time, the Chimera myth, from several viewpoints: myths, lore, history, symbolism, and more. But I also try to take a look at the Chimera from the view point of a beloved concept of mine, that of the "Holobiont."

You probably already know that the term "chimera" has a specific meaning in biology: an organism having more than a single set of genes. But these creatures are normally considered some kind of freaks, the result of the work of some mad scientists or the like. But chimeras (in the biological sense) are just a special case of "holobionts" -- with holobionts defined as creatures composed of organisms of different species. And that's clearly the case of the Chimera. 

In this clip I try to outline how the concept of a multiple organism, a holobiont, is a general concept in ecology, but also in fields such as memetics, where "memes" act indeed as holobionts, having "sex" with each other and exchanging information to create new memes. Or new myths, it is the same thing. Or the whole ecosystem. In the end, we are all chimeras!

I hope you may find the clip interesting. It was not easy to make it: I am not a professional and I have to apologize if it is a little rough at some moments. But I did my best. I have also to thank the Frilli Gallery in Florence and Ms. Clara Marinelli for having allowed me to film their full-size replica of the Chimera of Arezzo.



Ugo Bardi is a member of the Club of Rome, faculty member of the University of Florence, and the author of "Extracted" (Chelsea Green 2014), "The Seneca Effect" (Springer 2017), and Before the Collapse (Springer 2019)