What we are, in large part, depends on our genes. It is the hand we are dealt when we are born, and the cards we play our entire lives. You can study as hard you can, but some people will be smarter. Work out as much as you want. Some people are born to be bigger, or prettier, or more artistic. The hand you get depends upon the luck of the draw. Which genes you get from your mother, which you get from your father, and how they combine to make you a unique individual, is largely a matter of chance. In the game of life, the shuffling of genes to create a new individual is called sex. But life does not have to be this way. We humans believe we are more than that: as much what we think, what we believe, what we imagine and what we hope as what we are physically. And that can transcend the selfishness of our genes, the fight for fertility, and the siren song of sex. Don't call it "love" if you wish, but species other than humans don't seem to experience the idea as we do. The power of love in humans is so striking that it seems love could be the answer to some questions science has not yet asked. Sex, however, is easier to understand. For three billion years sex has been the way of life, shuffling physical characteristics and creating enough diversity to survive whatever hand Nature deals us. Life, sex, may be "in the cards" - in the hand we are dealt - but we humans are notorious for cheating, and perhaps outwitting and transcending, that hand nature has dealt us.
Written by Maureen Lemire and Jonathan Ward
Narrated by Candice Bergen