Having the flue really badly, maybe this is the time to write a bit about infectious disease. Many decades ago, I learned a few things by original thinkers that made a lot of sense to me. However, the old notions happily seem to live on. Time to spread the word again.
I was honored to have been a student of Professor Van Gool of the Wilhelmina Gasthuis. He taught pathophysiology. This was decades before the Internet and, as so often with important old stuff, I don’t find his name or his philosophy online, while the most meaningless nonsense of today is covered in great detail.
Wikipedia has an entry Pathophysiology, but it only contains North-American ideas. It has no Dutch page, and since Van Gool had a colleague in Switzerland, I think, who did the same kind of thing, I looked in the German page, but that also doesn’t capture it. What was his novel vision?
The old idea was: at sickness the body dysfunctions.
His idea: at sickness the body functions differently.
In illness the machine is not broken but rather has different goals.
So when the body generates a fever and makes you feel exhausted, that’s what the body needs to do. To hamper the microbe’s proliferation and by making you too tired to move to reserve all your energy for the creation of anti-bodies.
I also learned that the flue with medical consultation takes a week and with not seeing the doctor seven days.
Half a century ago, I read a few pages from a smart booklet that gave an alternative for an old idea.
The old idea was: an infectious disease is an attack on the body by an alien invading enemy. The enemy thinking of: we are good and evil enemies are out to get us.
His idea: an infectious disease is a welcome by the body of foreign DNA/RNA to see if this could be useful to incorporate.
We don’t get sick from plant-microbes. The pathogens that make us ill are very much in tune with us, and our body has a great affinity with them.
We see that many cells incorporated all kinds of foreign pieces of nuclear material and even cell inclusions with complete sets of DNA, like mitochondria that give animal cells energy and Chloroplasts that give all green plants their energy. Without these inclusions, none of these cells could survive. Little wonder then if the Evolution was scared to close the door on new potential additions.
However, we can safely say that this procedure of trial and error to find useful enrichment for the human cell is obsolete. If there is anything useful to add, we can very well insert it by medical science. So, I think that it’s high time that medical engineers start to block all microbes from a foothold in our cells.
The future is not that we’ll be able to conquer all infections with unbeatable antibiotics but rather that we change the cell mechanisms that have welcomed microbes for thousands of generations.
And then maybe, when our immune system doesn’t need to busy itself with building immunity against microbes, it can use all its energy to stop cancer cells early.
We’re going to a future without disease, than without aging and then without death. Just as the Sages predicted.
That is, if we also muster the psychological advancement of not killing each other anymore.
Just hang in there, and you may be part of the first generation that will never gets sick, never ages and never dies.