Jaw Drop #2 – Plastic or Elastic? It’s fantastic!

We, as pretty much evey other living organisms on the Earth, can considered both Plastic and Elastic. What do I mean?

Let’s keep the definition of this two physical terms in mind: an object is considered elastic if, when a force is applied to it and deforms it, when the force is eliminated the object turns back to its original shape or form. In contrast a plastic object if deformed it keeps the new shape and doesn’t turn back to its original form.

We can argue that applying these definitions on living creatures could be not completely correct, but I think it can be interesting anyway.

Consider us as humans, we are plastic in the sense that if we are modified – we are badly injured, we go through a surgical operation or we get some serious disease – we cannot turn back to our original form. We could lose a limb, we have scars, we can obtain new organs and we can be paralized. Even if we cut our thumb we are not elastic, because new cells are made, and in some sense we don’t turn back to our original form. I think probably growing itself can be considered a plastic process: once grown we cannot go back.

In many sense, actually, that’s not a bad thing. Infact, being plastic helped us to evolve: genetic mutation can be reversible but being plasticity helped us to inherit new traits through the years and take us to where we are. But this is not the only motivation of why being plastic is fantasic.

Today I went running. And I realized that we, as always, are awesome. I mean I went running like 6 times in the last 10 days, and I saw quite big improvements on my ability to keep running. What is responsible for this adaptability? It’s our capacity of being plastic! Think about it! Our lungs can improve! The more you use your organs the more they improve! Isn’t that fantastic?? The same is valid for our muscles: the more you work out the more they become efficient. This can sound normal, unsurprising and even obvious. But think about it, we as humanity, haven’t got any machinery, indutries or products that can do the same thing! Think having any product that improve as much you use it. We have some programs and softwares that improve when you use them, but it’s not on the mechanical, physical side. Muscles break and reshape themselves. Improve and reinforce themselves rebuilding their structure every time! Lungs can learn how to be more efficient on absorbing oxigen from the air! Your brain can learn how to coordinate you body better and better, only doing the same thing over and over! Learning from nature should be always our goal even for this reason. Our bodies are simply on all another level.

Lungs and their blood vessels.
Lungs and their blood vessels. So beatiful they are.

Thinking about it, being plastic it’s actually our own nature and salvation. We can modify ourself working out. Nice and useful. If we couldn’t, it would be very different.

But, of course, we are elastic on the other hand. This improvement in muscles, lungs and brain can turn back to their original form. Muscles get smaller, lungs get inefficient the less you use them. Maybe our brain remain the same but it’s probably continuosly rebuilding itself (recently scientists suggest that memories form our childhood can be lost cause of rebuilding of the neurons network in our brain). That’s why we have to keep working out, keep running or keep studying if we want to be always ready and awesome.

Being elastic and plastic is fantastic, keep training while I tell you a story.

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