From under the Bodhi tree: Disease

*re-released posts due to significant addenda

Just thinking about what Buddha might have contemplated on the road to enlightenment [let’s not discuss whether he actually existed, or whether he achieved enlightenment, or rose to godhood ok?], just makes me very unusually emotional. Disease, old age and death; the human condition.

Disease: I think being ill is cool. Really. Especially if it’s internal, and serious, and terminal. Don’t you? It’s an excellent conversation starter.
Consider a perfectly healthy guy with no credits to his name, making an introduction.

Healthy guy: Hi! I’m so-&-so. I…er…well, I was…I’m going to. I really like ice cream?
Audience: [boos]

Now a sick guy, in an emo get-up.

Sick guy [in an emo get-up]: [walks in, doesn’t say a word. Skulks around.]
Audience: Yo man, why the long face?
Sick guy [in an emo get-up]: I… have a brain tumor…it hurts.
Audience: ooh-aaah.

Sorry. Bad joke.
Seriously though, having ailments and wounds just alerts you to how weak we really are. [Smith’s voice echo: Only human…man…nnn] Currently, I’m having back problems. Even a simple sneeze that makes me jerk renders me unable to stand up straight for a minute or two. Upper back. Before the hypochondriac in me goes berserk, a firm no to reporting sick. I hate doctors. I hate medicine, as in drugs to cure ailments. Given a choice, I’d rather not eat them. In fact I don’t. If you’ve been noticing the spike in super-bacteria, it’s probably me skipping antibiotic courses. Sue me.

I have nothing against doctors as people per se, and I’m fully aware that the human body is, [theoretically] weak, but…lemme put it this way. I can’t imagine anything serious happening if I were hit by a speeding train [hitting, NOT getting run over!]. I KNOW, from what I’ve seen and heard, that you’ll probably fracture every bone in your body except maybe your fingertips, and you’ll bleed so profusely you’ll need at least three bags of blood to replace the lost blood. But I can’t imagine it. What I “see” is me getting up, 50 metres away from the point of impact, with coupla deep scratches, torn clothes, lotsa pain and a very bad temper.

The human body is weak, but it’s also resilient and it’s always a source of wonder for me to see how such a simple organism like a virus can make my bodily chemistry go horribly bad, but in matter of days [as opposed to hours under the influence of OTC drugs] the body is back in business. The virus won the battle but lost the war. Perhaps it’s also a bit of fatalism mixed in, some sort of passive self-destructive behavior where I don’t actively seek to snuff myself out but I don’t actually try to prolong my lifespan either? In fact, I now can confidently claim, at least a handful of people must’ve heard me say “Die? Die la.” in response to their objection to something I might do that strikes them as potentially, or eventually, life-endangering.

The sea bled people. On disability…I don’t want to sound conceited, but if euthanasia is a argument worth arguing, for people with painful terminal illnesses, then so is eugenics for prevention of disability. I’m NOT talking about amputees or the wheelchair bound or about people who are normal, just not mobile, or “normal”-looking for want of a better word. That is tragic yes, but overcome-able with plenty of impressive and inspiring case studies to show as evidence. Transhumanism is a wonderful thing, not just science fiction fantasy to imagine inflatable androids. So for the purposes of the following paragraphs, these people do NOT count as disabled.

I’m talking about people with degenerative mental disabilities [and NOT disorders] or with sensory deprivation that genuinely makes merely existing a whole lot harder since they either don’t know what they could’ve been, or what they are missing. Don’t get me wrong, this is not any mass cleansing project. Life’s tough enough when you’re completely healthy, and you want disabled people to live through it WITH that disability? You think you are being humane, “accepting them for who they are”, but I think it’s sadistic. This has nothing to do with societal stereotypes or ensuring they don’t get sidelined. It’s like making them watch the rest of us live out a good life with a significant head start. Like a hare going for a daily jog on the very day the tortoise starts running its fateful race.
Local ad [aimed at encouraging donations to the community chest] tag line: The things we take for granted in our everyday lives, are a challenge for others.
My point exactly. Do they really need to go through all the trouble? I don’t know, I think a lot of people are going to get the wrong idea about this…suffice it to say, I am not proposing a solution. I’m highlighting a fact that’s less discussed.

Look at the trend. It just paints a very ironic picture. Disabled people are readily classified as people with special needs [a very politically correct term, but a discriminating one just as well], sent to special schools [which typically charge astronomical fees, despite heavy government funding and subsidy], and they get a non-standard education focusing mostly on vocational training, that instantly relegates them to jobs at the lower end of the spectrum. Meanwhile, we donate, to continue supporting these schools, which don’t seem to actually help these people really become one with mainstream society…at best, they integrate well into a subsidiary part of the economy that doesn’t contribute in a major way to the productivity of the economy. Most of the vocations they’re trained in seem to fill jobs that seemed to have been MADE especially for them. Effectively their lives have been cheapened to a quest to make ends meet. Again, this is the average best case scenario. Yet, in attempting to help, society and governments compliment themselves on having tried, and possibly solved a potential problem of having disabled people who are not able to support themselves. It makes them feel better that the money they put aside to subsidize is actually something extra, something on top of the efforts they’ve made to train these people in a certain job skill. Yet, conceptually, to even use the word “disabled” is a form of discrimination [that even I am guilty of right now].

Some disability rights activists use an acronym TAB, Temporarily Able-Bodied, as a reminder that many people will develop disabilities at some point in their lives, due to accidents, illness (physical, mental or emotional), or late-emerging effects of genetics.
From wiki.

Terminal illnesses fall under this category and euthanasia is debated…double standards for disabled people? Again, I don’t hope to achieve anything by wiping out all disabled people…perhaps I’m encouraging voluntary eugenics. Or better still, I’m pro-rights. Look at it this way. Say a couple finds out they’re going to have a female child. And they have it, although they can only afford one child and they’d really like a boy, only because it’s illegal to abort. Yes, you’ve saved a human life from death before birth, BUT you’ve also shoved into a life where it’s not wanted! Can you imagine parents who don’t like you and think you’re a mistake? Wouldn’t you rather be dead? Foster care is available if it doesn’t work out…but that’s not normal. It wouldn’t be a normal childhood and torturing a live being is way worse than “killing” something that’s not technically alive yet.

The case for is simple. Evolution got us this far. And yes we have reached a particularly advantageous niche in the process, a synergistic set of mutations that has empowered us more than other animals. But with the advent of all the revolutions [political, Industrial, Agricultural, Scientific etc] and the establishment of somewhat stable civilisation, we have stopped evolving. Most of our most recent mutations [circa past few millenia] are geographically limited, giving rise to this phony “sub-species” we call races.
Isn’t it true? Isolated populations of inbred endogamous populations will lock in enduring characteristics forever unique to that group. And what’s more, there’s the danger of being forever locked in [at least in terms of breeding]. So it really doesn’t help that societal racism is stalling the only way we can muster up a hybrid population that can still be called homo sapien without any sub-groups. Homo sapien indus anyone? We need more brown people and soon!

We are of course quick to justify all this.We’re still evolving.This time it’s cultural evolution. Well that’s nice to hear and all, but it just sounds like hogwash. Cultural evolution that knowingly promotes and propogates physical weakness? The ancient Greeks were considered cultured. They birthed origins of mathematics and the sciences. Philosophy and the arts. And they killed their runt babies. Not that I’m saying we should ki…

What I’m trying to say is, what if a master race IS possible? We don’t need a holocaust to have eugenics. The two ideas are separate. Just because both were associated with an historically evil guy doesn’t make them both evil. Hitler loved roast steak. Roast steak is evil oooh aaah.
Also, eugenics doesn’t have to be coercive. The policies should not compel the people; the idea should appeal to them. That their contribution [or lack thereof] is ultimately good for the human race.

So what’s good or bad? Genetic traits that harm the physiological health of individuals, and/or guarantee psychological shortcomings, congenitally or in the long term, and for which there is no possibility of a cure/stable treatment cept prevention – that’s bad, don’t you think? On a purely genetic level, against an evolutionary backdrop. Does this sound insensitive? To people who know people with above-mentioned problems? Are your emotions clouding your rational judgement? What if you didn’t know these people, would you still be as vocal? I imagine you’d say yes. Hypocrite. We know all about the monkeysphere. Ultimately, feelings have never shaped evolution, and with good reason.

If a person infected with…let’s say, Ebola, is a good friend. Should he be allowed to go out and live out his last few…hours in peace? I’m sure your friend is a great guy, he definitely doesn’t deserve to be locked up, spending what little time he has left in misery.
If the knowing transmission of a potentially killer disease is wrong, why the double standards for diseases that WILL affect life chances in some way or the other? Knowingly passing on even diabetes is wrong, but at least there’s a cure, or the opportunity for stable treatment. A bit on the expensive side, but you can still live a normal life.
Can you say the same for psychological disabilities?
If natal tests can in future confirm possible disorders, especially sensory deprivation beforehand, isn’t it more selfish of the parents to keept the child rather than not keeping it? It’s not about giving up hope on the potential of said child. It’s about ensuring said child will never have to feel hopeless, ever. If for one second, it wishes it had never existed [and I can show you a lot of completely normal, extremely lucky people who say the same thing], you have the equivalent of blood on your hands.
And don’t pretend it’s [eugenics] not been done before. I mean other than the Third reich debacle.

Why does disease exist anyway? Biblically, because Eve [it had to be a female!] ate of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good & Evil and Boss got pissed and said things he shouldn’t have, but Macho Law prevented him from saying sorry and taking it back. In Greek mythology, Pandora [again, female] opened the box, and released everything but hope. Disease is a cruel lesson to teach man not to take health for granted? Or maybe disease is purely psychosomatic?


Case histories of multiples are full of instances where only one personality has an allergy. Disease vanishes when another takes over the body. One alter may get poison ivy, the others can tramp unconcerned through the woods. Definite changes in eye pressure and corneal curvature have been recorded as personalities change. One nearsighted multiple required plural prescriptions. Her adults needed various strong lenses, but when she switched into a six-year-old alter, very weak ones gave here 20/20 vision.



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