Cancer 17: The germ grows into knowledge and life

T h e k e y w o r d g e rm d e s c e n d s f r o m t he I n d o - E u r o p e a n ( I E ) r o o t g en e - w hi c h means “to give birth, beget.”
1

Among its

p a r o n y m s a r e c o n ge n i ta l , ge n de r, ge ne ,

ge n t l e, ge ne a l o gy, ge n t ee l , ge n e rat i on , ge n e s is , ge n e ro u s, ge n u i ne , ge rmi n at e, i n di ge n o u s, gen i u s, ki n d, kin dre d, m a l i gn , m i s ce ge n ati o n , n aï ve , n at i ve, n a t i on , n at a l, p ro ge n i to r, p re gn an t, a n d p ro ge n y .
T h e k e y w o r d g rows de s c e n d s f r o m t h e I E r o ot g hr e- wh i c h m e a n s “ t o g r ow , b e c o m e g r e e n . ” 2 Am o n g i t s p a r o n y m s a r e t h e w o r d s gre e n , gra s s , a n d

gra ze .
T h e k e y w o r d k nowl ed ge i s a d e r i v a t i ve o f t h e IE r o o t g no- w h i c h m e a n s “ t o k n o w . ” 3 A m o n g i t s p a r o n ym s a r e a c kno wl e dge , ca n, c o n,

c u n n i n g, c o u t h, n o ti c e , n o ti f y, n o t i on , a c q u ai n t, c o gni t i on, re c o gni ze , gn o m e , gno s i s, gn os t i c, n ot e, a nn o t at e, c o nn o t e, n o rm , n orm a l , a n d a b n o rm a l.
F i n a l l y , t he k e y w o r d l i f e d e s ce n d s f r om t h e I E r o ot l ei p- , “ t o s t i c k, a d h e r e ; f a t . ” It s o t h e r d e r i v a t i ve s i n cl u d e t h e w o r d s l i ve, l i ve l y, l ea ve ,

l i ve r, de la y, re la y, a n d s yn a le p h a.
TH EMES : F i r s t l y t he r e i s t h e r e la t i o n sh i p b e t w e e n kn o wle dge , o n t h e o n e h a n d , a n d ge n iu s a n d in ge n u it y on t h e ot h e r. A c c o r d i n g t o a t l e a s t o n e t he s a u r u s, kn ow - h o w a n d ge n i u s a r e s y n o n y m s o f t he n o u n ABI LIT Y w h i l e ge n i us , kno wi n g, a n d kn o wl e dgea b l e a r e s y n on y m s o f t h e a dj e c t i v e
1 Watkins, c. (2000), The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo -European Roots, pp.26 2 Watkins, c. (2000), The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo -European Roots, pp.31 3 Watkins, c. (2000), The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo -European Roots, pp.32 Starling Hunter © 2011 1

B RI LL IA NT . 4 C e n t r a l t o m a n y d e fi n i t i on s a n d d i sc u s s i on s o f ge n i u s es i s t h e n ot i o n t h a t s u ch i n d i v i d u a l s p o s se s s c e r t a i n kn o wle dge o r kn o w - h o w t h a t m o st o t he r p e o p l e la c k . A s i m i l a r r e la t i o n sh i p e xi s t s a m o n g t h e ke y w o r d s l i f e a n d g er m a n d t h e i r p a r o n y m s . R e c a l l t ha t a m on g t h e f o r m e r g r o u p a r e w o r d s s uc h l i f e , l i ve r , a n d a l i ve w h i l e t he l a t t e r i n c l u d e s t he t e r m s p re gn an c y,

p ro ge n y, mi s c e ge na t i o n , ge n de r, p re - na t a l , e u ge n i c s, a n d ge n e ti c s . S o me o f t h e m o s t
long-standing and intransigent p o l i t i c a l / m o r a l d e b a t e s o f t he l a st h a l f - c e n t u r y i n v o l v e t h e r e l a t i on s h i p b e t w e e n t he s e t w o g r o u p s o f c o n ce p t s. T h e se i n c l u d e  t h e p ro - li f e /p r o - c h o i c e d e b a t e s o v e r w h e t h e r l i f e b e g i n s a t c o n c e p t i on a n d w he n , i f a t a l l, i t i s ( i m ) m o r a l t o t e r m i n a t e a

p re gn an c y

  

t h e u s e o f ge n et i c s c r e e n i n g i n p r e - na t a l ca r e a n d t h e mo r a l i t y o f t e r m i n a t i n g t h e p re gn a n c y o f c hi l d r e n w i t h se v e r e c on ge n i ta l defects t h e u s e o f ge n et i c t e c h n o l o g y t o c l on e h u m a n a n d a n i ma l l i f e , a s w e l l a s i n t e rn a l o rg a n s t h e p ra c t i ce o f ge nde r - s e l e c t i v e a b o r t i o n m i s c e ge na ti o n l a ws a n d e u gen i c s a d v o c a c y

4 http://thesaurus.com/browse/genius Starling Hunter © 2011 2

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