From the last Spring to the one that comes, the sky always promises to be blue but it still weighs "like a lid, on the groaning spirit prey to long troubles" . Like Baudelaire's Spleen, our daily lives remain heavy. To put it more simply: we're starting to get a little fed up!
However, sparks crackle here and there, as if good geniuses incapable of remaining idle, possessed the martingale that will transform reality.
This martingale is called SERENDIPITY. I have spoken to you so much about it, but I am going to come back to it again, as it imposes itself on the sly as the unexpected ally who can thwart fate.
Academicians have tried to put it into a formula: “the art of discovering or inventing by paying attention to what surprises and imagining a relevant interpretation”. This is a very heavy attempt to explain the indescribable and volatile chain reaction which arises from a chance or a constraint to ricochet onto an unexpected discovery.
At the risk of repeating myself, the Tarte Tatin has established itself in the imagery of my brand as a founding symbol. A predicted culinary failure, as the usual codes for baking an apple pie had been flouted, or simply ignored out of thoughtlessness, this inevitable fiasco was... avoided, thanks to the last minute dexterity of one of the Tatin sisters who had the presence mind to reopen the oven to cover the apples which were already caramelizing with dough - "in a pinch" we would say these days.
You know the rest, an unexpected dessert, upside down, but delicious, had just joined the Hall of Fame of unexpected metamorphoses.
Let's leave the academicians to their definition, let's instead look for the origins of the phenomenon, because it is indeed a phenomenon, like in X-Men Origins where we get a little lost in all the successive coincidences that generated the Wolverine hairy and clawed!
Once upon a time… this is how the most beautiful tales begin. This one is Persian, dated from the 16th century. Its title is “Travels and adventures of the three Princes of Serendip” .
Sent by their king father to discover the world, they had to deal with all kinds of accidental events that presented themselves to them. For example, one of the young princes thought he deduced one fine morning that a one-eyed camel had preceded them on the track. Excrement? camel, easy! but one-eyed, why? Our princely Rouletabille observes that the grass has only been grazed on the left of the path, leaving beautiful intact grass on the right. Further on, the three friends find the camel driver, telling him the results of their investigations. This one, mad with rage, immediately thinks that he has just come across the thieves of his lost camel because it is one-eyed. There is talk of hanging, at that time we did not joke in the Far East with camel theft! Until the precise moment when the brave beast reappeared, stumbling back down the hill. General relief, the camel driver reconstitutes his livestock, his tools of labor, and the princes of Serendip escape punishment while having experienced for their benefit the entire vast field that only curiosity, instantaneous intelligence, capacity for deduction, intuition and gumption allow to explore. explore. This is indeed serendipity, a coherent series of cascading effects born from an inconsistency, also called, depending on the case, stroke of luck, innovation, discovery, technological breakthrough.
You are perhaps thinking like me about this mysterious messenger-RNA which is revolutionizing vaccination and which should help us rediscover our lives as lizards on sunny terraces, reasons to believe in the future, to rebuild ourselves, to embrace ourselves, to undertake as to the best days before... Well! If there is one discovery that deserves the homage of the three princes of Serendip, it is this messenger RNA. It was discovered around 1960 by the immense professor François Jacob of the Pasteur Institute. Having left for the USA in order to refine and validate his discovery - the greatness and servitude of research in our beautiful country go back a long way - he became friends with his colleague Sydney Brenner. This is how he relates in his memoirs his moment of serendipity on the beach in Pasadena:
“Nothing to do, we couldn’t do it. No matter how much we repeated the experiment, modified it, changed a detail here or there, we could not succeed in isolating this famous messenger RNA. We were there sprawled on the sand. Stranded in the sun like whales that missed the pass. I felt empty-headed. With a wrinkled forehead, his big eyebrows furrowed, and a bad look on his face, Sydney looked at the horizon without a word”… spends a long moment in a daze until suddenly: “Sydney jumps up like hell and screams: Magnesium! It's magnesium! » ... Eureka was indeed the dosage of magnesium, underestimated, neglected perhaps, which transformed in a flash an unfinished discovery into a major conceptual breakthrough.
Thank you to the young princes of Serendip for allowing RNA to be the messenger of so much hope, for tarts to be Tatin and for Estevao to find our blue ( to find Jules' story, click here ).
“People who strongly want something are almost always well served by chance”
- Honoré de Balzac