Hope in a cell…

The medical field is in itself hope.

Each new advance in the sciences of medicine bring hope to the generations of mankind.

The most recent advances on a small set of molecules gives infinite possiblities for hope. These small sets of molecules have numerous possiblities to help mankind, infinite ways they can develop and prosper. These groups of molecules have a name, they are called stem cells.

Stem cells appear to be the elixer of life. They are simple cells that have the potential to develop into many different types of cells during their early life and growth, causing them to be called pluripotent cells. When these stem cells divide they can either remain stem cells or become specialized cells. There are two different kinds of human stem cell; adult stem cells found in the spinal colemn and human embryonic stem cells. The latter are one of the most controversial discoveries in the area of science. Adult stem cells do not have the potential to develop in to the multitude of cells that embryonic stem cells can. However, issues surround the ethics of harvesting human embryonic stem cells. The embryonic stem cells that are utilized in laboratories are derived from a five day preimplantation embryo, the blastocyst. A preimplantation embryo is an embryo that has not yet been implanted onto the wall of the uterus. These unique cells are capable of dividing without differentiating for a prolonged period in cultures and are known to develop into the cells and tissues of the three primary germ layers in an embryo.

Human embryonic stem cells are harvested from eggs fertilized in vitro at in vitro fertilization clinics, which are then donated to research. In Vitro fertilization is a technique that unites the gamete cells, the egg and sperm, in a laboratory rather than in a human host. These cells are then grown in cell cultures. The top layer of the culture dish is often coated with mouse embryonic stem cells that act as feeder cells and provide nourishment to the human embryonic stem cells. At this point these cells have the potential to develop into any tissue of the human body. Specific cells or tissues can be generated by turning on or off specific genes in the cells by the aid of enzymes and proteins that bind to promoter sites on transcribed DNA, mRNA, that allows for gene experession, usually by access to enzymes such as RNA polymerase.

Stem cells offer great potential for many afflictions but are still relatively unresearched. In order for stem cells to be used in potential cell based therapies, the cells must undergo rigorous testing. It must be determined if the cells can differentiate into the desired way, function appropriately, survive and integrate in recipients after transplant, as well as not harm the patient.

Stem cells are controversial because there is not a clear line drawn between whether or not a preimplanted embryo is “human”.

Many involved in the concerns regarding stem cells have agreed that preimplanted embryos are not humans but are potential humans. Though the main question surrounding the cells remains. In essence should a potential life be taken in order to save that of an already existing life?

Despite the issues surrounding the human embryonic stem cells. These cells have an immense future in the medical field. Personally I see these cells as having unique healing qualities. These cells bring only hope for the future.

I have no hope…


I have all lost hope that this blog business will end soon…
It is truly difficult choosing a word and thinking of all the different things that could be associated with it.

Quite frankly, I’m sick of hope. I’m done with it. I’m even done hoping this blog will be over soon!
When something feels as though it drags on and on, the truth is that in reality it is not so bad. In reality there is no reason to lose hope. –Losing hope is a thing for fiction.
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Sure, this blog may take away some hours of my day that could be spent doing homework, running, applying to colleges, watching movies, or just lounging around, but is this blog really that bad?
All the posts I have posted so far have been fun to plan, fun to write, and have been interesting to research. I have learned some new things and I have been able to express my opinions about some of the subject matters. This blog experience is also a unique way to do homework. I’m not sitting up at odd hours of the night attempting to write a ten page essay for class the next day.
No.
I’m sitting here typing away on a keyboard, looking up pictures, watching interesting movies that correspond to the subject I’m blogging about, and I’m complaining.
Now this must stop.

I know most people wait for a new year to make resolutions, but I’ll make one right here, right now:

I’d like to change. I’d like to complain less and do more.
With the luxuries I have, I have no right to complain at all. Not one word in complaint that I utter is equal at all to the suffering of others around the face of the planet.
You are my witness to this promise, let’s see if it works.

I look forward to blogging more. And I hope that at the conclusion of this experience I’ll touch upon the promise I made to you in this post. Hopefully, it will stay true.

Is there Hope for the ‘Holy Land’?

Most people do not realize the issues going on around them in the world.
They know that bad things are happening, but they don’t stop them.

History is great for providing lessons. History has shown us that appeasement does not help. It did not help in World War Two’s Holocaust and it certainly did not help in Serbia and Bosnia’s genocide. What makes people think that appeasement will work now? Why is injustice ignored? And why is an oppressor supported?
It would have been blasphemous had the United States aided Nazi Germany. Likewise it is it not blasphemous for the US to aid another occupier?
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In order to fully understand the issue at hand (an issue very dear to my heart) I must first induce a state of verstehen, we must step into the shoes of those in need:

It is present day, United States.
The US is a neutral party facing the wrath of a war between two of its allies, for the purposes of this story, let’s say China and South Korea.
China has been defeated. But the South Koreans feel as though they can no longer reside alongside the Chinese, they must obtain new land in order to prosper.
Boatloads and airplanes full of South Koreans arrive in the United States. It appears to be a relatively unpopulated area of land (in comparison to the world) that would easily house South Korean populations…
(Note that the Americans and the South Koreans were previously allies and shared no historical enmity between each other)
Americans have no say in the issue, the government overruled by South Korea’s and the support of another ally, Japan.
As more and more Koreans arrive, room must be made.
Korean armies arrive supported by Japan, forcing Americans out of their houses and left homeless.
In the wake of these oustings, devastating massacres occur killing thousands of Americans.
As more Koreans arrive the Americans are pushed by the Korean army into unfertile regions of land. Houses have no running water or electricity.
More and more Koreans arrive, 40% of the population is now Korean. They live in 70% of the land space.
Americans are not allowed to enter cities without passing through time-wasting checkpoints where they are humiliated and taunted by the Korean army. Americans cannot go to work, cannot go to worship, cannot go to shop, and cannot go to the hospital.
Soon a wall is erected, taller and longer than the Berlin Wall, separating the Americans from the Koreans, also further impeding movement.
Americans protesting the Korean occupation or attempting to go to school are shot at and in many cases, killed.
More Koreans arrive and the Korean army is supplied with the latest military technology from Japan.
The American people are hopeless. They have lost their homes, their families, their lives, everything.
Revenge and hatred is all that is left because hope has abandoned them. Their old ally Japan, is a now a supporter of the perpetrator.
Your neighbor from down the street lost his daughter to a soldier on her way to school. His house was just blasted by an airstrike last night, killing the rest of his family. He has nothing to lose. He has only hatred. Revenge is the only word on his mind.
In the morning, he puts on a vest filled with explosives, slips through the checkpoints to a new Korean settlement filled to the brim with happy, smiling, functioning families, and blows the bomb after shouting “God Bless America!”

This is a rather farfetched story that does not directly blame any of the countries mentioned nor does it showcase my political views on the countries involved. However, if this story shocked you, then it might also shock you to realize that this story actually did happen, in real life.

It happened to Palestine.


It appears as though there is no HOPE for Palestine. However  you, me, anyone, and everyone can change that. Support a people in need and do not stand for ignorance, intolerance, or oppression. End the Israeli-Palestinian Aparthied.

Hope, living to see tomorrow.

Each day we live as though we have a right to be here. A right to walk on this very land, breathe this very air.
But where has this “right” come from? Do we really have a right to be here? Is each day taken for granted?

We all say we’ll do things “tomorrow”.
-I’ll clean my house, tomorrow.
-I’ll call my old friend that I’ve been meaning to, tomorrow.
-I’ll visit family, tomorrow.
-I’ll apologize for my mistakes, tomorrow.
-I’ll tell someone how much they mean to me, tomorrow.

However, is tomorrow guaranteed?
Did anyone ever say, “Yes, tomorrow will be there.”

Tomorrow may never come.
It may be permanently delayed.

Some people live through each night, hoping to see the light of tomorrow.
While others live oblivious, care-free, and never get to see the dawn of the new tomorrow.

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Some people live in fear that they won’t see the light of tomorrow simply because they don’t have enough of a simple commodity many of us take for granted, water.
Their lips parched, they walk miles a day to a well polluted and stricken with disease. Their only hope, the force that keeps driving them forward, is the hope that tomorrow things will be better for them, for their children.

Others are afflicted with irreversible diseases, almost completely destroying their hope for tomorrow. HIV and AIDS affect a multitude of people. People who live each day knowing they are dying, living with a devastating disease without a cure. Leprosy not only has physical handicaps, but social ones as well. Those devastated with the disease are shunned from their families and forced into exile. Each day they live lives without happiness, not even having any reason to wake up to see the world tomorrow. People living with epilepsy hope that they will survive the night, they sleep with the fear of an attack during their slumber.

Wars create the fear of not being able to see tomorrow; for the soldiers involved as well as the civilians. Civilians in war zones fear for their lives constantly as shots and blasts ring out all around them 24/7.

Human slaves, torn from their families generally in hopes of finding a job in a foreign country no longer see the reason to live tomorrow. And if they do, the willingness is driven by drugs and highs provided for by their captors.

Yet others still do not have a guarantee about tomorrow. One could be completely healthy and lead a happy life, but they may not see tomorrow. Walking down the street, they could be hit by a bus. Driving their car, they could be in a fatal crash. An old tree could fall on any unsuspecting victim. Accidents happen and when the time comes the time comes.

So…
Make the most of your each and every day. Don’t do anything brazen or insane, just live up to your expectations. You don’t want to have lived your life only to be disappointed with its overall outcome. Just do something your heart yearns for each day. Clean that room you’ve been meaning to. Spend time with your family. Tell someone how much they mean to you.

For some people, the hope to see tomorrow is crafted upon the belief that:

With every hardship comes ease. Verily with hardship comes ease.

To Wish is to Hope

The word hope makes me think of wishing.

Wishing is the task of thinking about something that you yearn for.

Wishes are thoughts that arise from numerous occasions. Among these occasions, the most prevalent are:

  • Birthdays
  • New Years/Other holidays
  • Wells
  • Dandelions
  • Eyelashes
  • Shooting stars
  • Wishbones
  • 11:11
  • Lamps + genies?

Birthdays

Cakes are a cultural custom of birthdays and celebrations. Large cakes are made and served to all guests in order to bring about feelings of  togetherness and joy. The habit of wishing after blowing out candles is ancient and its origins are not strictly pinpointed. The usage of candles on cakes is thought to have many possible origins. Some attribute the candles to early Greeks. Ancient Greeks would place candles on cakes to make them glow like the moon and take them to temples. It was also believed that the smoke from the flames carried prayers to the gods. Yet others attribute candles to a custom originated in Germany where candles were placed in the center of a cake to represent the light of life.

In contemporary times wishing on your birthday comes with ritual. Your wish will only come true if you blow out the candles in one breath and as long as you don’t tell your wish to anyone.

Did you ever wonder how to make a wish on your birthday? Here’s a video describing how to do so…

New Years/Other Holidays

  • New Years

—-New Year’s Resolutions

New Years resolutions originated in ancient Babylon and spread to ancient Rome. With the start of the new year on the Roman calendars, resolutions were made with mostly moral concerns, such as to be kind to others. These resolutions embody the wishes of the individual.

Here’s how to stick with your resolutions

  • Other Holidays

   Other holidays, such as religious ones, attribute hoping for change and prayer into their ceremonies. Wishes for the happiness of humanity as well as peace are commonly made during these such holidays.

Wells

The belief in wishing over wells originated from the beliefs of the Germanic and Celtic peoples. Both cultures viewed wells and springs as sacred places, believing that water housed deities and that water was placed on Earth as a gift from the gods. Germanic cultures threw the weapons and armor of defeated enemies into the waters as well as coins as tribute to their deities.

The tradition of dropping pennies into wells comes from the belief that tossing coins covered in silver or copper would cause the water to maintain its freshness, thus it was lucky to drop coins in a well. It is estimated that in Europe, where wishing wells are more common, more than four million dollars is thrown into the depths of the wells each year.

Dandelions

 

How to wish on a dandelion…

The belief behind wishing on a dandelion arises form the belief that the seeds were fairies that would grant you a wish if you set them free.

 

Eyelashes

How to wish on an  eyelash

Wishing on eyelashes began as a result of superstition. People were afraid that if a witch obtained anything personal from an individual it would enable the witch to create a powerful dark magic curse upon that individual. It was believed that if a person noticed a fallen eyelash and wished whilst blowing it away, they would be better protected against possible curses.

Shooting Stars

Shooting stars are an extremely rare find. The origin of wishing on a star is believed to date to the years of  127-151 A.D. There are many theories as tho why wishing upon these stars originated.

Some believe the idea was first proposed by Greek astronomer Ptolemy when he stated that the “gods sometimes out of curiosity and boredom” peer down on the Earth from between spheres and sometimes stars could slip out of the gaps between these spheres. These stars, shooting stars, signified for the ancient Greeks the presence of the gods. It was believed that the gods would be more receptive to wishes made during these times. Some Greeks believed that the stars represented the rising or falling of human souls. Jewish and Christian cultures believed that shooting stars were fallen demons or angels.  Hence wishing on a shooting star was established, and still lives on today, though not entirely for the same reasons.

Some people also believe in wishing upon the first star of the night seen.

How to wish on a star

Wishbones

  Wishing on wishbones, originates from ancient Italy. Ancient Italians believed that if you removed the entrails from a bird, you could read the future in them. The collarbone of the birds would be laid in the sun to dry and it was believed that people seeking knowledge from their gods could make a wish on the bone. Some Etruscans believed that the birds were fortune tellers and would draw circles in the dirt with wedges for letters. They would throw grain on the circle and record the “letters pecked” to find answers to questions asked.

11:11

Wishing at 11:11 is purely numerical. Some numerologists believe that it is not pure coincidence that many people glance at clocks at 11:11, they attribute the symmetrical time to synchronicity. This belief in the uniqueness of 11:11 allows for one to conclude special things must happen too then.

How to wish at 11:11

Lamps and Genies

Most everyone knows the story of Aladdin, popularized by Disney, but originally introduced in 1001 Arabian Nights. In the tale Aladdin rubs the lamp and a genie appears granting him three wishes. The word “genie” comes from the Arabic “jinn” or “djinn”, meaning spirit. It was believed that the jinn controlled wish magic. The tale of Aladdin was originally set in China but is Middle Eastern folklore. The tale was admitted into 1001 Arabian Nights in 1710 by French translator Antoine Galland who heard the tale from a Syrian Arab storyteller and scholar named Youhenna Diab “Hanna”.

Sometimes there doesn’t have to be an underlying reason as to why people hope. Their wishes are brought about by imagination, beliefs, brought about by  hope.

Contemporary Hope

Is there hope for mankind?

What does hope mean in this generation?

When I searched “hope” on google news, the top articles were as followed:

Why did sports show up first? Hope in helping others shows up with kindness, but hope for the medical field shows up last? Is this really what our society values? I hope that society will realize how we place emphasis on the wrong things. Is not someone’s life more important than a football player being traded to another team? Or is this just my opinion?

Where do we see hopelessness in the world?

Hopelessness is a feeling aquired in the most dire and chaotic of situations. Everything feels as though it can never recover and that it never will. Void of confidence and filled with ideas of defeat, one is plunged into an immense darkness. This feeling can be brought about by simple disappointments or by larger tragedies such as wars or massacres. Some of the most renowned and most heart wrenching massacres of those of the Trail of Tears, the Bataan Death March, the HolocaustSrebrenica, Rwanda, Darfur, etc, etc

Where do we see hope?

Hope is extremely powerful where it seems most unlikely to exist. Hope is prevalent in groups of people overcoming persecutions, countries overcoming wars, and when the heart seems so broken that it will never be able to mend. Hope appears even in the midst of darkness… when all seems lost, when all that is left is perserverance and hope.

What gives me hope is love. Unconditional love for the world, for each other, and mankind as a whole.

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ASK YOURSELF:

When all is lost what do you cling to?

Your family? Your beliefs? Your desires?

What is it that you think about when all is well…?

Hope is but a mere word encompassing billions of billions of

desires, wants, and dreams.

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Here is a poem I wrote about hope (and no, not all poems have to rhyme…):

Through the mist and fog a voice can be heard,

it is subtle at first,

yet gains strength.

Amongst the yelps of pain,

the cries of despair,

the suffering of the world,

it shines through.

It shines bright as the sun

through the battlefields covered with blood,

through the slums plastered with garbage,

through the cities ruled by crime,

through the school grounds plagued with hatred,

through the deep, dark dungeons,

dungeons of the human soul.

It screams,

screams hope.

‘Never give up’ it cries

For some,

it goes unnoticed

but for others it is a beacon;

a beacon for life

a reason to continue onward,

a reason to live.

Hope in Literature

(Feel free to click on any of the links –red words– to get information/watch video)

Hope is an immense topic encompassing volumes and volumes of worlds.

It is no wonder that such a sought after, contemplated ideal, has such a hold and popularity in poetry. Famous poets such as Emily Dickinson and Emily Brontë wrote poems titled ‘Hope’, each expressing their own attitudes and opinions about the vast and sometimes controversial topic.

Poem by Emily Dickinson (click here for link):

Poem by Emily Brontë (click here for link)

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Most stories involve a plotline sans hope. This hopelessness is what gives the novel the gravity to affect its audience. As the audience is immersed in a story that seems hopeless, they themselves hope that the tide will turn for the characters. Edgar Allan Poe is an author renowned for his ‘mystery/horror’ novels and short stories. Poe’s short story The Masque of the Red Death is one such story revealing the hopelessness of mankind. The story allows the reader to contemplate his or her current situation (ie: his or her life) and analyze their wants and desires as well as the grave inevitabilities of the world, namely Death.

However, hope does find its way into literature without help from the audience. Nathaniel Hawthorne introduces hope into his story The House of the Seven Gables. The main character Phoebe Pyncheon represents Hope. Phoebe is the only hope, the last straw, for the two crumbling families, the Pyncheons and the Maules. Phoebe is the youth, brightness, and innocence that reunites the Maules and Pyncheons with the aid of Holgrave. She recognizes the sadness and despair of the past and strives to change the future for the better.

Other texts encompass the strictly hope assuring lens such as The Secret by Rhonda Byrne and Your Invisible Power by Genevieve Behrend. These works reassure the reader that the world is good; that there is happiness, and that they, the audience, can achieve anything singlehandedly.

Etymology of Hope

  • Verb or noun,
  • Verb form = “to wish, expect, look forward to something”
  • Noun form = a wish, an expectation

The word hope is of unknown origin. It is possibly a general North Sea Germanic word coming from either the words hopen or hoffen (“to hope”) borrowed from Low German. The word hope also has a possible connection to the word “hop” with the correlation being that of “leaping in expectation”.

Related words: hoped, hoping, hopeful, hopeless, will, sperare (“top hope speedy recovery”), prosper (pro = for, spes = hope), despairing, bereave, desperado,  forlorn