Monday, March 25, 2013

Where Does Illness Come From?

     To answer the question, Where does illness come from? we must take a few steps back and ask, first:   If illness is something that affects the human body, what is a "body"?  And:  If a body is made of matter, what is "matter"?  And, finally:   How does the matter which constitutes the human body different from other kinds of matter?
     We are fortunate, in this century, to have been lifted out of the two-thousand-year-old Aristotelian model of matter and the universe, and dispatched into the realm of quantum physics, because it provides a new milieu in which to penetrate the nature of illness. 
     Aristotle, Copernicus and Newton advanced a mechanistic theory of matter along the lines of causation.  For example, one thing makes another thing happen;  energy is transferred from object to object;  and effects can be traced back to causes, which have their roots in preconditions.  This theory proved to be useful for a long time, as it helped us predict future events and explain the patterns of nature.  But it cannot be said to have been the "truth" in any sense of the word, because it left so many questions unanswered.
     One of those questions is that tricky one about illness. 
     We might posit that strep causes sore throats and radiation exposure causes thyroid cancer, but why in some people, and not others?  Why should high cholesterol lead to heart attacks in one group of individuals but not another?  Why do some of us get heart failure but others, who also smoke and consume too much salt, slide right around the condition, escaping its devastation?
     I learned about atoms and their components, electrons, protons and neutrons, in eighth grade.  What impressed me most was the knowledge that atoms were mostly made of empty space.  The protons and neutrons are concentrated in the center, and the electrons orbit around them at such far distances that they might be considered little solar systems, there is so much vacant space between the "solid" particles that are said to "make up" atoms.
     But electrons aren't "solid," and neither, for that matter, are protons and neutrons.  Their sub-components are full of empty spaces, too.  They are more like energy fields, with fairly negligible "mass."  Therefore, the concept of "matter" has always seemed questionable to me, and even bogus. 
     What we perceive as the solid elements of our world are, in fact, illusions.  Descartes may have had a premonition about this when he suggested, in the early 1600's, that the entire world might be an illusion (his famous "methodic doubt" centered around the idea that there is nothing about which we can be absolutely certain).  
     If atoms are mostly space, how is it that matter feels "solid" to us?  It must be that our perceptions make it seem so, by imposing elements of our will upon it, just as our brains change reality by turning the upside-down images presented by our visual apparatus right-side-up, or erasing the errata of floaters--which are bits of vitreal debris that create visual defects, when they first appear.--from what, ultimately, we see.  Matter, being made of empty space and energy fields, is transformed by our senses into something solid because only in that way are we able, as sentient beings, to manage our way around it.  Insects, birds, and other living creatures are likely to experience the world less as solid matter than as multi-directional force fields, which may explain their ability to travel long distances without veering off-course, or to sense changes in weather or seasonal gravitational effects that we humans cannot perceive, and find extraordinary.
    Consider the possibility that our bodies are not, therefore, solid hunks of matter, but are gazillions of atoms--which are mostly empty space.  We are composed, then, mostly of empty space.  Our multitudinous atoms emanate forces that are electromagnetic in nature--and probably have other qualities we can't measure.  We are giant, porous beings, made of holes and spaces, like sponges, only with even less "substance," along which are aligned all our quarks (the sub-elements of atoms), according to energy fields which act the way the spaces between positive and negative poles of magnets act, only more complicated.  These energy fields interact with one another, and can be thrown out of whack, sometimes.  The chi of Chinese medicine is an attempt to conceptualize the way energy fields are organized to create an effect called "a human being."
     This chi, or alignment of energy fields created by the electromagnetic emanations of our atoms, can be thrown out of whack by nearby energy fields--sometimes known as other humans, or other kinds of beings, or planetary forces, gravity, weather fronts, ultraviolet and infrared rays, sonar, sunlight, dreams, goals, will power, and personal imaginings. 
     Magnets lose force with age, and so do we.  Magnets lose force when there is interference by other force fields, and so do we, perhaps making us more susceptible to forces that end up being perceived by us as "illness."  Illness may be an interference in our electromagnetic force fields that leads to our disintegration, and demise, or it may be a force that introduces elements that can set our chi right again.  We may not like it, but the ultimate effect may be to reconfigure the energic components of our being so that we survive in a manner unlike the identity we assumed in the past.  We might continue to survive as someone who is blind, or has cancer or has dementia, or died and was resuscitated into a new perspective on life.
     The point is, that with a new understanding of quantum mechanics, we are able stop thinking of illness in the Newtonian way, as one "object" (like a bacterium) bumping into and "infecting" another, and start thinking of ourselves as energy fields with a lot of force and a lot of sensitivity.  We are vulnerable to phenomena that aren't solid, but nevertheless interfere with some or all of the magnetic fields that operate across the vast spaces of our atoms, and within them, and make us "who we are."
     How else can phenomena like miraculous recoveries at the brink of death be explained?  Or the placebo effect, or the effect on one's health of new love, or friendship?  Or how loneliness and depression reduce a person's "resistance" to disease, and "immunity," or cold fronts and humidity affect joint pain and asthma?  How, too, can one explain the dramatic effect of certain dreams on the course of our lives, or psychotherapy on our well-being?  Why does taking a trip, or getting a few nights of good sleep, make a difference in our health and our outlook?   The efficacy of homeopathy, which is laughed at by doctors who remain wedded to cause-effect explanations for medical treatment, makes a lot of sense in the context of quantum physics and energy fields.  Medicines "carry" energy in their atoms, and the atoms can be made of water, or glycerine, or alcohol, so long as they "transfer" that energy to the atoms of our bodies.  In fact, water molecules have loose bonds with one another, and may be the best medium for transferring curative energies, explaining both homeopathy and the benefits of hydrotherapy.
     We are in the infancy of a new understanding of medicine and the human body, and the reasons for illness.  "Reasons" is, perhaps, is a poor choice of words, because it comes out of that old, linear, Aristotelian way of thinking, which doesn't really explain why we get sick. 
     If we reconsider ourselves not as solid bodies, but as centering agents for multiple force fields, then treatments like meditation, hypnotism, group therapy, and psychodrama make sense.   Then, spending time in nature, and avoiding people who make us feel bad, and utilizing the positive effects of certain experiences and avoiding the weakening effects of others, and making choices that don't "make sense" but "feel right" all end up being good things, and can help us sidestep illness. 
     Illness is an aberration in our personal energetics, not a collision of one causative agent against the solid body of another.   It is amenable to a wide range of "cures," or healing forces, if we are open to them, if we let them in.       

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