The Egg

September 09th, 2011  |  The Thinking Mechanism

During meetings, on phone calls, while casually talking in the hallway, someone utters the phrase “it’s a chicken and egg thing.” It is usually uttered to describe a challenge where determining what should happen first is hard to ascertain. In reality the whole chicken and the egg metaphor is just an easy way to not make a decision. By hiding behind an aphorism a decision is postponed, the conversation put on hold.

Well, the answer is the egg. So there.

Now you can’t say “what came first?” because you know the answer. So, don’t postpone the decision, keep the conversation going.

Yes, the egg.

The chicken evolved from another animal. Maybe a dinosaur, maybe a bird, maybe some other creature we have yet to discover. Chickens are mutants. Some animal laid an egg, inside that egg was a mutation and when it hatched, a chicken was born.

Except, once I started writing this and went searching for the scientific evidence that I held as truth I learned British scientists had discovered a protein they claim unequivocally proves the chicken came first.

The scientists found that a protein found only in a chicken’s ovaries is necessary for the formation of the egg. The egg can therefore only exist if it has been created inside a chicken. The protein speeds up the development of the hard shell, which is essential in protecting the delicate yolk and fluids while the chick grows inside the egg, the report said.  ”It had long been suspected that the egg came first but now we have the scientific proof that shows that in fact the chicken came first,” said Dr. Colin Freeman, from Sheffield University’s Department of Engineering Materials, according to the Mail.” The protein had been identified before and it was linked to egg formation, but by examining it closely we have been able to see how it controls the process,” he said.

Well, the answer is the chicken. So there.

Every day you have the capacity to know more than the day before. Every day the potential exists for you to realize that something you held as absolute truth it’s not.

Next time someone says it’s a chicken and egg thing, just say the chicken came first, make a decision, move the conversation, question your assumptions, get the thing done, and go learn something new.

The Thinking Mechanism is a series of weekly posts, published on Fridays, covering the ideas The Mechanism is thinking and talking about with our peers and clients.