Wednesday, 29 June 2016

How on Earth do we cool things down?


THIS HUFFINGTON POST ARTICLE ON INFLAMMATORY DISEASES seems like a metaphor for the increasing strife we are witnessing on our planet. Wherever you look, at every level, things appear to be becoming more toxic, more inflamed and deranged. Lost in a hot fog of emotion, members of the collective human family are failing to recognise one another and finding any old excuse to fall out - like the immune system attacking the very body of which it is an integral part.
"We are facing an epidemic of allergic (60 million people), asthmatic (30 million people) and autoimmune disorders (24 million people). Autoimmune diseases include rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, celiac disease, thyroid disease, and the many other hard-to-classify syndromes in the 21st century. These are all autoimmune conditions, and at their root they are connected by one central biochemical process: A runaway immune response also known as systemic inflammation that results in your body attacking its own tissues.
Not forgetting depression, also an inflammatory condition, which, at ~350 million people, may eclipse these other problems even when they are added together. And reductionist thinking is not the answer: 
"Medicine as it is practiced today is like taking the battery out of a smoke detector while a fire burns down your house!" 
Something more expansive is needed if we are to see what we are really dealing with.

Illustration of The Blind Men and The Elephant from A Thousand and One Nights
The stress caused by emotionally toxic environments - those in which it is difficult or impossible to meet innate human emotional needs - is, unsurprisingly, hardly touched on because the organising ideas necessary to perceive things in this way, at this level, are not yet present in the writer's mind. 

But stress for this reason is, maybe, the major factor, and its effects seem to go well beyond individual physical ailments to affect the entire human organism. 

New ways of seeing that help us make sense of what is happening, and cool the emotional temperature on planet Earth, have never been more necessary.

1 comment:

  1. One physical common element that's probably key is: Those myriad organisms that nearly universally inhabited our ancestors were linked into a stable internal ecosystem that was typically beneficial --

    and such organisms, in the process of petri-forming human bods into more comfortable habitats for themselves, of course evolved towards turning down our overall immune responsiveness. (While we evolved to compensate for their influence -- that happened far more slowly, given our greater lifespans.) Mainly they stopped short of entirely shutting down human immune systems, because doing so proved short-sighted for any bugs with such lifestyles, way, stranding them very very far from their next meal.

    But now, with multiple antibiotics and other chemicals radically changing people's microbial populations, the bugs' dampening effects have weakened. Increasingly people suffer not only autoimmune diseases, but epidemic tendencies to allergic reactions as well. (Etc. Hay fever, for example, was literally unknown until only a couple hundred years ago.)

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