Bare Bones Biology 222F – What is Healthy?

In Bare Bones Biology 220 ( we all agreed with the dictionary that “health is the general condition of something in terms of soundness, vitality and proper functioning.” But that doesn’t exactly answer the question, does it, unless we know something about how we are supposed to function – our bodies, I mean – in order to be vital and sound, and there are millions of cells, connected by processes that need to work together to make our bodies function properly. And among all those millions of cells, every day vast numbers of new cells grow from the mature cells that are already there, and equally vast numbers of cells die, so that our bodies can maintain a healhy balance. Balance is the key to good health of all Life on earth. The dictionary didn’t mention that.

140723-morning-ASC_0416RLSss copyDoes that mean I need to memorize all those cells and where they came from and what they do in order to be sure I am functioning properly? You would think so from the hoohaha on the internet, but in fact nobody could memorize all that. Not even your doctor. She goes into the back room and checks the computer from time to time. The down and dirty from the drug companies. And even that is not about being healthy; it’s about being sick so they can sell you pills. Being healthy is about maintaining the natural balance of Life as it was created on this earth. Your doctor doesn’t know much more about that than you do, unless of course you have an out-of-balance body to begin with, and even then you can be aware of making it better or worse by healthy living.

So I think it’s very much more sensible to start from the top end. and recognize what Life needs to stay in balance, and then to think about what we might be doing to unbalance our lives so that they cannot keep healthy by themselves. And that story was written in the parables of humankind since the times before reading and writing. So it can’t be too difficult for us.

The body takes in food. Food is made of energy and molecules that your cells use to stay alive. When your body has separated what it needs from what it doesn’t need, it eliminates the waste materials. Your cells capture the energy and the molecules by burning the food in a very controlled and complicated set of processes that happen inside every cell. It requires oxygen to burn anything, so your body breathes in air. Your cells also require water of course because they are more or less 98 percent made of water, and the cells require molecules because the more or less 2 percent rest of themselves is mostly molecules.

140907-Monero-asc_1152RLSsIn all of our history, humans have known without being told, just as all organisms do: we require the earth to grow food, the air to breathe, the water to drink, and food energy. Earth, air, fire and water. Good food and clean water. These things are not made in supermarkets. They are made available to us by (and only by) the whole living body of the Biosystem,.

We use the molecules and energy from the food and discard the wastes. Energy does not recycle. It comes from the sun and gets changed into food energy by the plants. We only can use it once. Everything else that we need, water, oxygen, and other atoms and molecules do recycle through the entire living Biosystem; through all the plants and animals and the weather and the oceans and rivers and air.

The function of our cells and organ systems is to keep all those things – food, air and water in a healthy balance inside our cells and inside our whole body and inside the body of the whole living Biosystem, so that they will be available when they are needed. Earth, air, energy and water. Not too much oxygen, not too few cells, a good balance between eating and drinking and excretion. Everything in balance.

So what do we need to function properly?

Basically we need all those cells and organs to keep our bodies balanced, and we require good food, clean water and fresh, clear air to keep our cells and organs healthy so they can maintain the balance of our bodies.

Where do we get the food and water and air and energy?

The only plae we can get them is from a vital, sound and healthy Biosystem.

So there you are. Biology 101. Except for a few odd micro-organisms everything on earth, from the smallest bacterium to the one, unitary Life complex of the whole grand Earth, everything including us, functions to keep the whole enormous wheel of Life in balance. Healthy means everything is in balance; unhealthy is what happens when some part of it is not properly functioning in balance with the other parts of Life. Healthy cells, healthy body, healthy Biosystem.

It’s easier to learn the names of ten organs than to understand how they function, so most students would rather just learn the names. However, it’s very much easier to learn the basic principles of how a thing functions than to learn the names of millions of cells and organs, and once you know how it functions, you don’t need all those names to keep it healthy.

This is Bare Bones Biology, a production of FactFictionFancy and KEOS radio, 89.1 FM in Bryan, Texas.

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