Friday, October 09, 2015

Whose place is this anyway ?

I have this firm belief that there is a lot for us to learn from the way the human body is set up and works. 

It has all the elements of our existing societies  built in,  and we need to study that to look for solutions  in our troubled human societies .

I just read this article, "Who's Living with whom?  Bacterial Cells Vs Human cells in the body ".

Please do read the article.

It is not about who owns the body . It is not about who came first . And it is not about who is good and who is bad.  

From the time we are born, our bodies, in the highest tradition of Atithee Devo Bhava  and Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam,  play host to a huge amount of bacteria . It could be from human contact with other humans, or due to our newborn proclivity to pick up everything and first stick it inside the mouth.   At any given time, the ration of bacterial cells to human cells , is like 10 to 1.

The thing to understand, is that NOT all the bacteria are classified as the enemy. Over the years a whole bunch gets inside our bodies and settles down in the gut; that is stomach and intestines.  It is known that there are at least 500 species of bacteria that have settled down in the human body.

They are known to do several things. 

They help in the digestion of foods by appropriate breaking down of the food like complex carbs, the various B vitamins and the amino acids, into stuff our body can readily use.

And they also help handle "outsider" stuff like  foreigner pharmaceutical chemical stuff , which is new to the body systems.  

Another thing they do , is "Occupy" . They crowd out spaces , and colonize, and effectively deny  places to outsider disease pathogens that might want to settle in an cause a disturbance to the balance of the human body. And so we come to the conclusion, that  our ability to fight infections, keep our bodies running well in dynamic balance with all the other body systems , really owes a lot to the bacterial occupations, and their synergy and respect they might have developed for human cells. 

Our gut, is often called the 2nd brain.  Which is not a myth, but a fact. More brain cells or neurons are found in the gut, than, say, in the spinal cord.  This is called the enteric nervous system and it produces 2 neuro transmitters (brain cell messengers) that have a lot do with mental afflictions when their imbalance happens.  What we eat, how it is is processed, and how the gut brain responds , has a lot to do with the performance of these bacteria in the gut.

And now you will understand, why so many cultures in Asia/India, have traditionally had fermented foods as part of their diet.  A natural encouragement for the good bacteria to colonize.

So why do I get so delighted with all this knowledge ?

Because, like the article that triggered this range of thoughts, we have reached a state in our country's social set up, where we are now demanding "Who's living with whom? " and  "who  has the right to do what ....."

Some folks think they are the host, some others think they are the bacteria. And vice versa.  Some folks think the bacteria are bad, and after a  time, end up appreciating them and changing their opinion.

Some of the bacteria are sometimes more loyal to the body than the human cells.  And instead of applauding like in the body,  we start suspecting them of having a ulterior motive.

In times of danger and external attacks, the bacteria and human cells, neighbors over generations, fight the intruder as one.  Sometimes though , victory is a long winded process, as the intruder bacteria, manage to interfere in processes, possibly momentarily fool the human and good bacteria.  

There are a lot of knowledgeable, well meaning folks in society. But sometimes, personal material imbalances  tilt the societal balance, and they fall prey to planned bad advice from those that are hell bent on disrupting the  stability of the situation.

Like in the human body, external medications, pharmacological solutions exist, but always with side effects, and  we as a society are so oblivious to them as we go overboard , in what could be solutions, with immediate impact but with disastrous long term consequences.

And we simply do not understand that the solution lies in everyone playing their enlightened role to improve the balances in society.  There is no individual win or loss. 

And so the question to be asked is not "Who is living with whom?" but  "Now that we are living together , how can we make the best possible use of the situation, and create new learnings and processes, so as to make it a healthier society ?".

It doesn't matter who is the human cell and who is the bacteria.

What is important is to note that both need to coexist.

Having said all this,  one must say that elements of our anatomy, have a great amount of respect for those that oversee their living and prospering.  Occasionally, the brain may issue fatwas , leading to inflammations and pains.  But these are always with a view to giving the rest of the anatomy practice in what they do best, and teaching some entity of our anatomy a lesson.  

Which is learnt.

And that seems to be the basic difference .

The body learns.

We , of the supremely brilliant evolved cerebral cortex,  simply don't.   

1 comment:

  1. I didn't know that about the gut, and now understand why it is referred to as the second brain! My own has spoken to me all my life, and when it does so, I listen. :-)

    My body never lies to me.