February 12, 2013

The Nature of Nature

Among other drugs we've discussed, modern medicine has conjured a full spectrum of vaccines to eradicate a phalanx of communicable diseases, many of which are acute, self-limiting, albeit uncomfortable, illnesses.

Today's children are immunized by age 13 against some 16 diseases (or 53 vaccine doses), including measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus (lockjaw), pertussis (whooping cough), hepatitis A and B, meningitis, pneumonia, polio, chicken pox, flu, rotavirus and the human papillomavirus (HPV).

But the long history of humankind suggests that these diseases would eventually disappear without medical intervention.

Edward Goldsmith, philosopher, author and ecologist ponders the subject in his treatise on The Ecology of Health:

Consider the case of myxomatosis. It was a well-established disease among rabbits in Brazil among whom it is endemic and causes but mild symptoms. It was unknown among European rabbits which are of a different genus. When myxomatosis was introduced into Australia in 1950, the European rabbits introduced there were exposed to a virus of which they had no previous experience.

In the first year it killed 99.8 percent of the rabbit population, in the next year the death rate went down to 90 percent, seven years later it had fallen to 25 percent. The rabbit population is clearly learning to live with the virus, and vice versa. The relationship between the rabbit and the virus has thus become progressively more stable.

The same thing has happened to human populations throughout the world, as they have been exposed to parasites of which they have had no previous experience and with which they have gradually learned to live.

The population of the various islands of Polynesia, for instance, was decimated by the diseases brought there by the European colonists. That of the Maoris of New Zealand fell from approximately 160,000 to 30,000, and at one time it was thought that the Maoris would become extinct. That of Tahiti fell from a similar figure to about 7,000; that of the Marquesas, it is estimated, from 100,000 to no more than about 3,000.

However, the Polynesians have adapted to the introduced micro-organisms that have become a new component of their environment. They have, in fact, learned to live with them and their population has correspondingly grown. In New Zealand it is now two to three times its former size.

All this makes it clear that as living systems evolve they become increasingly adapted to their environment, and increasingly stable which means that the incidence of disruptive discontinuities is correspondingly reduced. From this must follow the essential principle that the environment which most favours the health of a living system must be that to which it has been adapted by its evolution and with which it has co-evolved.
Stability is the nature of nature.

Whether molecule, skin cell or galaxy, the innerworkings at the sub-atomic level are governed by the same general operating principles. These were first identified by Sir Isaac Newton and much later amplified by Albert Einstein.

As our understanding has broadened and deepened, we know now that the universe is less Newtonian, that is mechanistic. Instead, it is more Einsteinian, that is integrated, holistic.

Everything is energy. Everything is connected. And every organism within this whole is a "living matrix" as Rupert Sheldrake has described it, communicating within itself as well as with the context or environment in which it grows.

To thrive, it is more open than closed. It is more fluid than static.It is adaptive. Always for the purpose of establishing - or re-establishing - stability.

Drugs that work against nature suppress the body's ability to express symptoms of disorder in order to heal. This damages the body's ability to respond altogether.

The immune system becomes maladaptive, incapable of responding to infectious or noxious threats, thus more susceptible to illness and enfeebled, weaker in its ability to ward off the dis-ease they cause.

Of these drugs, vaccines are very likely the most damaging to growing organisms.

If you want to see the future of children born today and subjected to so many vaccines, look at the effects on our dogs and cats whose immune systems share the same open, fluid, adaptive qualities. Because their lives are so compressed relative to our 70 or 80 years, results of over-vaccination are far easier to see and equally difficult, when not impossible, to reverse. 

~Edward Goldsmith, The Ecology of Health, July, 1980.

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