No Body’s Health?

This ‘Basic Conversation’ is a part of the critical response of INTER-ACTIONS to the contemporary development models that have radically altered the way we deal with the basic human need of food. Our speed-infested time has filled the realm of food with exploitative, gendered, and even fatal enterprises. So, we find sodas and maggis selling best in the market, even as everyone knows they are harmful, and that their advertisements misrepresent. We see food processing centres becoming major agents of environmental pollution and degradation of nature. But what is the way out? Does critiquing alone help? Do protests bring awareness to producers or consumers of new age foods?

Naturopathy practitioner Jacob Vadakkancherry investigates the reasons of ill-health in our times and argues that food is not just the problem of the hungry any longer – it is a global issue affecting all.

Many people claim that health is a subjective matter. That seems to be the offshoot of a conceit; they take it for granted that health would always be there on their side. And, many individual violations of the body are perpetuated without understanding how ill-health (not disease) appears.

We tend to overlook the fact that the healthy condition of our body is a cumulative effect of personal attitudes and behaviours, external circumstances and changes in the global environment. We often resort to readymade remedies available in the market for ‘instant’ relief from cough and cold, fever, diarrhoea, constipation, acidity, menstrual complications, which are all merely protests of the body to mark its resistance to our violations of its ethos. Instead of listening to the body, we go on to rely on unscientific solutions that, with their promises, lure us away from enquiring into the reasons of these troubles, and lead ourselves to further complications.

While the number of agents promising easy resolutions increase in the market, the affected individual does not acquire the patience or gain the wisdom to resolve her problems in a sustainable manner. This gradually weakens her body, and affects the rate of multiplication of cells, and subsequently, the functioning of the internal organs, leading to disorders such as asthma, allergies, piles, diabetes, high/low blood pressure, blocks in the heart. At such a point, the most prevalent ‘treatments’ given to the body are aimed at managing the crises, and not finding out the root causes of the body’s afflictions. The more the body is subjected to mere management of symptoms, the more toxic its organs tend to become. This puts a lot of pressure on the person’s excretory system. Once the filtering apparatuses such as kidneys and liver are affected, the body becomes a receptacle of all kinds of waste, and it soon crashes, accepting the inevitable end.

Some Basic Body Facts

All the above sounds bleak, and one might feel that this is a very pessimistic view of things. But isn’t it true that the habits of our body and mind have pushed us into a fast track where we have no leisure to reflect on what is happening to us and our surroundings? To start this reflection, we must go to the very beginning itself, and ask a couple of fundamental questions: How is the body born? How does it grow, function, get repaired and die?

Anyone who closely observes the human body will see that it has an inherent capacity to repair itself. Isn’t it marvellous that it is a single cell that divided itself, and gradually transformed itself into the multidimensional thinking creatures that homo sapiens are? An adult human body is made up of trillions of cells, which trace their lineage to a single cell that divided to begin the growing process. These cells, except those in the lenses of the eyes and the brain, have brief lifespans. As the older cells die, the body produces new cells. Skin cells live for just six weeks; the RBC, 120 days; the WBC, 20 days; and platelets, for a mere eight days. Every day 50 to 70 billion cells are pushed out of the body, and new cells are formed in their place. That is the critical point here – how can we be sure that the new cells that replace the older ones are healthy?

Human beings can live a healthy life only if the cells that are formed daily in their bodies are in good shape. And, ensuring this is not easy – it depends on the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, the thoughts and emotions on our minds, and the earth’s atmosphere. If these conditions are not conducive for the production of healthy cells, we will eventually fall sick.

Dr. Jacob Vadakkancherry, Naturopathy Doctor and Health Food Activist

Limitations of Modern Education

It is alarming that even learned people are not mindful of this simple logic of nature. Our education system merely asks the students to memorise the structure of the body, and does not equip them to have a critical appreciation of their own bodies. A grave error in the contemporary management of the body is that, when someone falls sick, it is attributed to the disorderly functioning of some organ or the other, while the real cause of the sickness is the ill-health of the cells. As the host body becomes sick and loses control of its own assets, the viruses and bacteria that constantly visit the body play their own games with it. Our medical practices call these ‘guests’, disease-carriers, and largely overlook the fact that the body’s weakness and lack of resistance have actually caused the ailment, and not the viruses per se. This line of thought which makes microbes the sole reason for humanity’s ailments, have forced us to resort to toxic substance that can ‘kill’ the dangerous bacteria invading the body. And, hence, in the name of rescuing the body, ironically, poisons are injected into the body over and over!

The textbooks hardly teach our children that the human body is the natural habitat of so many microorganisms, and that they could be more in number than the cells in our body. So, logically, if you use poison to kill the bacteria visiting the body, the cells which are perhaps lesser in strength could get completely destroyed before you can kill even half of the invaders.

The Contemporary Human Predicament

Contemporary human life and its processes have been rendered topsy-turvy by the distorted methods used in education, greedy attempts to convert diseases into profit, and reckless advertisements in the media. It is bizarre that governments impose taxes on the citizens for engaging in the basic functions of any creature alive, such as breathing, eating, drinking, and having sex – greater common inheritances like air, water, food and even desire are productised and sold in the market. The society is easily misled by those in power as well as the market players. We live through this theatre of the absurd without a thought; we even feel that someone who points out the irrationality of it all should be insane!

Understandably, if people refrain from using non-nutritious and unhealthy food items ranging from tea/coffee to refined flour and greases, the market will crumble. But, can either the economic vision or the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of a country be made sustainable, if its realisation and growth depend not on human creativity but on increased incidences of diseases and tragedies afflicting humanity? The interests of the market and political power players are bred on the fertile ground of the miseries of modernity. Families no longer grow their own foods in the kitchen garden, our ludicrously expensive apartments have no space for us to even walk and move around freely, we have no courtyards to play in. How did we reach such a pass? Did time automatically take us here?

In the last fifty years or so, social structures have undergone drastic changes. Some of them are for the betterment of our cultures, but most of them have been by-products of a calculated attempt to change the speed of human life in the world. Speed has been our lure, and while getting drawn to doing things faster than ever, we accepted our miserable fate of having to live away from our loved ones and native spaces, and we moved on without even thinking of returning the resources of nature on which we grew and developed. Speed has changed our attitude towards life. We have no time to cook our own food or rest as per the demands of our body, and we seem to be just fine with all that. Like cancer cells, speed has multiplied itself beyond every limit and has consumed all our possibilities of true fellowship.

Does the Future belong to Sophia Citizens and not Vulnerable Humans?

There is no denying that the world is changing beyond the control of human hands. Many of the earlier livelihood means and occupations are redundant now, and that is giving the world a ‘development shock.’ Adding to this are ‘environmental shocks’ such as global warming, unpredictable tectonic activities, higher frequencies of volcano eruptions, cyclones, tsunamis, floods etc. Devoid of natural nutrition and made vulnerable and weak by the development tremors, humanity is descending on the fertility graph. The incidence of cancer has increased manifold, and people succumb to tumours even after spending the whole of their life’s earnings on their treatments and medical help.

In her well-known study, ‘Is US Health Really the Best in the World?’, Barbara Starfield reveals her finding that modern medical treatment is the third biggest reason for deaths in America. The money spent on food without nutrition, the diseases it causes, and the treatments that are sought for their cure are fast dwindling the resources and earnings of ordinary people by the day. The erosion of wealth caused by all these make us run faster to amass more, and that pulls us further into the dangerous eye of the development cyclone.

While humanity is being entrapped in the above vicious circle of development, Artificial Intelligence keeps developing more and more sophisticated robots. Now, it seems, the nations of the world would look better with Sophia Citizens[1] than mortal humans.

Nine scary statements by ‘robots’ indicating that they would not mind taking over the human world!

How Do We Develop Human Beings with Discriminatory Wisdom?

We must necessarily train ourselves and our children to ask five questions to the substances offered to us by the market to satisfy our basic needs: Who? When? Where? Why? How? As free individuals, we should be enlightened enough to say NO to any offer, if these questions are not satisfactorily answered. In order to move towards healthy alternatives, we must have the desire and initiative to work organically in natural environments. This means that we need to overcome our lethargy and find time to grow natural food products in our own living spaces. In a time when raw fruits and vegetables bought over the shelf can be more toxic than cooked food, we must commit to finding a way to nourish our body with fresh fruits and vegetables. Forming community farming and organic cooking groups where members grow enough non-toxic food for themselves, in whatever space available, through labour and resource-sharing, use creative recipes to make raw food more interesting, and directly buy from the rural farmers (who are on the verge of suicide) to support pesticide-less agricultural enterprises etc., can help begin local movements, even in urban spaces, to promote organic living in our largely artificial time that has been made to look intelligent.

Testimonial of Jerry Amaldev about getting healed through Naturopathy at Nature Life International Centre in Kerala run by Dr. Jacob Vadakkancherry

Educated citizens of every country must come forward to spread awareness about the fatal effects of pesticides, additives, preservatives and the like, and must form world-wide advocacies towards resisting these. Policies can be changed if influential members of our societies put pressure in the right places. Education has to be realigned to fulfil these purposes; the learned and the youth of this world must unite to bring change to our everyday life. If we shun that responsibility, development will never deliver us healthy bodies.

Translated from Malayalam by Rizio

Photo and Video Courtesy: Nature Life International and YouTube

[1] Sophia, a social humanoid robot developed by Hanson Robotics in 2015, was given citizenship by Saudi Arabia in Oct 2017, as she appeared as good or wiser than humans. In Nov 2017, Sophia was named the United Nations Development Programme‘s first ever Innovation Champion, and the first non-human to receive a UN title.

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