Bare Bones Biology 172 – Causes and Symptoms

Bitsy is sleeping in the morning sun while I try to type with fingerless gloves. Our morning hit of glorious canyon air has been complicated by some coughing spells. Symptom of something my body doesn’t like — but what? Is it the last two days spent in civilization? Is it the wood stove that Ben expertly activated yesterday? Is it cold air that becomes harder and harder to avoid?

131008-QualityMotel-ASC_6516RSIf we don’t know what causes a thing, we can never do better than treat the symptoms. That was the great advance of science – learning to understand causes. Treating the symptoms is good, but it does not solve problems past the moment and cannot prevent the harm that is caused by the cure. For harmless cures, we need to understand the causes, and of course that’s why I’m out here in the boonies trying to start from the genuine basics to figure out what I need to be healthy in today’s world.

So far, I have learned that I need light to see the bears and other hazards on the path. And I want internet access and electricity to run the computer.

And I need heat. I have some well-earned hang-ups about being cold; my body is not adapted to winters, and it tells me so by generating distress symptoms when the canyon goes below freezing. So Ben has hooked up my wood stove properly, and I’m trying to sort out the symptoms so that I can understand their root causes and find a cure that does not make my future worse than the coughing fit itself.

We know that addictive chemicals are a cause for something quite a lot worse than a temporary coughing fit, so we will avoid them. We could try prescription cough medicines or over the counter remedies or health-store remedies but those are all treatments of the symptom – not cures of the cause. And they are all expensive. Why spend money on a temporary fix if we can find the cause. Then we can work a permanent cure.

Is this morning cough caused by the toxic combustion products from the wood stove? Then I need a better way to heat the cabin. Or is it caused by the morning air that is now well below the freezing point? Then I should wear a nontoxic mask over my mouth and nose until the sun begins to heat up the day. Or perhaps my morning cough is a way for my body to relieve itself of the toxins that we absorbed in the past two days spent breathing the air of the heavily polluted commons. The commons is the parts of nature that are shared by all the people – air, water and soil. My generation worked hard to establish a sensible rule of law, using the precautionary principle, to prevent the toxic pollution of the commons.

131008-Canyon-ASC_6523LSsUnfortunately, nearly all that work of my lifetime has come crashing down as we-the-people chose profit over health, and individual gimmes over the communal rule of law.

And then the corposystem figured out that unhealthy people are far more profitable than healthy ones, and so the corposystem has grown its sickness economy where the profits come from increasing the pollution that causes the symptoms — and then selling treatments for the symptoms. Making money off symptoms that are caused by making money.

And then they tell me the corposystem is “the real world.” But I remember the real world. The corposystem is a fly-by-night aberration of the human ego. The real world is the Biosystem where my body was created and where it can feel healthy; if I could have just get a bit more heat for the cold nights.

How do we rebalance a system? By redefining its goals. If the goal of the corposystem were to promote the health of the Biosystem, then the corpsystem would be sustainable.
So long as the goal is to make money, it is a dead end.

This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of FactFictionFancy and KEOS radio 89.1 FM, Bryan, Texas. A copy of the podcast can be downloaded at:

This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of FactFictionFancy and KEOS radio 89.1 FM, Bryan, Texas. A copy of the podcast can be downloaded at:

Our Choice, Al Gore