Posts Tagged ‘immunology’

A question of immunity

I’ve been thinking about immune systems lately.  In truth, we are always on the front lines of an engagement between organisms within and without us.  Our immune systems are like the body’s scrapbook- they keep a little something from each encounter so they can remember each one.    We are full of the very things that can kills us, actually.  Thus, sometimes, when the balance of the immune system is off, something from the past can rise up and have a devastating effect; something from outside may also come in, meet up with what’s inside, and wreak havoc.  It seems to me that the successful balance of it creates a situation in which one is able to rise above the insult to the system, so to speak, where it is not able to exert further influence.  This doesn’t necessarily mean it is totally vanquished, just that it is no longer active in us.  I’ve been thinking about chronic illness in this context, about people who rise above DREAD DIAGNOSES and keep on living.  They’ve managed to raise their level, keep that scrapbook current, and get past potential derailment.  It has got to have something to do with the individual exploring their inner sorting mechanism and getting it straight again.  Always acknowledging,  of course, that we are temporary creatures in a field of time alot bigger than we are.  All we can do is try our best, since we can’t really know the outcome, and certainly not dictate it.

There’s also, of course, a psychic, psychological immune system too.  This one? Seems to be quite dictated by one’s initial entry on this particular stage.  Brain chemistry  (which in large part comes as part of the original genetic package), as well as how the early life goes (is it smooth? or is it hell?) have an enormous impact on how an individual can survive the mental slings and arrows of daily life.  So many physical issues can stem from an imbalance here, and they are often misinterpreted.  Nonetheless, that psychological immunity is where we can rise above our circumstances, our memories, our history, and leave the obstacles and blows behind as learning experiences, keep the joys as reminders and maintain a balance as we live our lives, sinking neither into despair nor rising into overblown emotional states.

Anyway.  There are, of course, lots of things we can do to help ourselves both physically and mentally.  It helps to be aware of our overall immune status, I think, to know how we really feel and what our physical and emotional and mental ranges are.  It helps to understand that this whole matter of immunity and interaction that goes on in us unseen and constant is largely the same stuff that goes on between us all as human beings.  We take some people and ideas in and they do us good.  Others poison us.  Just like germs, Gentle Reader.   Given that the body actually emits electromagnetic energy for a large area around it, it isn’t hard to understand how this interpersonal immune stuff might work.

The issue, of course at least to me, is that for the most part we are so unconscious.  We don’t realize the sources of our likes and dislikes, don’t really understand what our metabolic heritages mean, don’t even really get how critical the food we eat, the water we drink, and the air we breathe all are in how we respond and live.  We’ve lost in a way a sense of pattern, our part in it, and what various pieces of it mean.   It really is all energy, and it really is all moving.  Therefore, it seems to me that if we feel stuck (which we do, oh boy do we) that is in US and not outside us.  The movement, the dance, has slowed, and when that happens we experience discord and disharmony in whatever arena you like.  We become ill, we quarrel with people, we’re unhappy.   These situations are all opportunities to learn, and grow- and to experience some discomfort in the process.  So I’m just wondering how it is we accept the dictates of the outer world, when it tells us we have X and are going to die, or that such and such person is (fill in derogatory term of choice).  Really, it seems as though it would so much more productive to just stop and look for a minute.  See what’s really going on (which is why lab tests are so important medically- concrete information, and why education is crucial, allowing you to make up your mind after learning about things) and see what changes in habits might effect a change that would move us to the good, instead of keeping us in fear.    Such an approach has the additional plus of helping us grasp the inevitable truth of our own deaths in their many appearances and guises and levels of finality.

As hard as it is, at times, to get along with each other and stay in good physical condition, I still believe, more strongly than ever, that knowledge is power.  And you don’t get knowledge from going to the same places that keep you stuck.  You get knowledge through exploration, experience, willingness.  Those, it seems to me, are crucial ingredients for a good immune function, wherever it may be found.

If I Were Ann Romney’s Horse

SHEESH, Gentle Reader.  SHEESH.  Seventy plus grand for a horse to live for a year.  I love horses, don’t get me wrong, but when I gaze back and forth between her horse and the perks thereof, and myself, and the- uhm- NON-PERKS hereof, I just have to wonder.  How can you spend more money on a horse than countless people all over the world (including in your own country) make in an entire year.  Or two?  Or more, fine, if we’re honest.

Of course, Ann Romney’s horse is a beautiful and talented creature.  But still and nonetheless.  There’s just something terribly wrong here and the foundation for it is so deep it can be hard to get any tidbit of clarity.  Certainly, yes, one is entitled to the fruits of one’s labors, right?  But when you have so much and contribute so little to the common good- instead taking more than your fair share (think carbon footprint, just for instance) it seems skewed.  We’re venturing deep into The Commentary E.O. Wilson wrote about in terms of selfishness and altruism.  Viz:  selfishness works for individuals, but it sinks groups and everything past that is commentary.

What we have here, then, is a mammoth expression of selfishness which does not include any evidence of compensating altruism.  And even though the Partner (who is deep into Manly P. Hall’s Encyclopedia of Metaphysical Stuff and thus convinced once and for all that I am absolutely, for sure,  Not of This Earth and THEREFORE operating on some set of instructions from deep space) tries to remind me, in varying degrees of patient gentleness, that this whole thing, the whole selfishness thing, the whole thing of not caring what happens to the other guy, is part and parcel of how another set of individuals function who happen to be running the world right now and who, apparently, are not from my Home Planet.  You are incapable, he said, of understanding this.  You can’t even swat a fly! This here is how it works, kid.  Wakey wakey!  I then proceed to wonder about all sorts of things.

Still.  As I put one foot in front of the other in the never ending quest to keep bodies and souls together, and as I watch Ann Romney’s horse, I can’t help but wonder how it is that I feel so alienated from a culture that values money over service.  It doesn’t seem familiar at all these days and that is extremely disorienting.  I can’t help but wonder how it is that I, as a small business person, can get absolutely no help whatsoever to expand my business.  So I could, let’s say, hire somebody.  You know, be a job creator? Instead I cannot even get local business to sell my product, because their shelves are full of items that are distributed by big, corporate interests and a small (OK! MICROSCOPIC!) entrepreneur such as myself is, to quote A. Proulx, tits up in a ditch.  At the same time, Not Being Of This Earth, I feel hopeful about things after I finally manage to climb the Everest of Anxiety that looms every morning as I contemplate my worldly situation.  Since I’m discovering that we see what we expect to see, don’t see what we don’t know about, and that given the constant state of flux and conflict between our immune systems and the outside world it’s not so surprising that the world exists in a state of Antagonism, every day I renew my practice in learning to see, which may eventually and I firmly expect will, produce miracles.  Little ones occur every day after all- the privilege of being able to help others cannot be overestimated in terms of the miracles you get to see.  I won’t ever be Ann Romney’s horse, of course; but it seems like a long way to go to have to turn into a horse to have an income,  doesn’t it?  So we shall continue to forge ahead on our two little legs.