Ecology and Philosophy and Social Issues13 May 2018 01:11 pm

I, on numerous occasion throughout the years,  have included in my posts the observation that the Industrial Capitalists have taken liberally from Big Tobacco’s play book of how to defeat scientific and populist concerns about their behavior and policies. When science and citizens began complaining about the unhealthy effects of tobacco and smoking, Big Tobacco shifted the debate from health to whether or not cigarettes “caused”cancer. 

This debate, as you well know, went on for decades as proving something causes cancer is all but impossible. So instead of having to admit the obvious and highly documented negative health impacts of tobacco including the incredible number of toxins and poisons in the cigarettes, they were able to fend off such realities with a conceptual debate on causes of cancer or there even being a possible way to ascertain absolute cause of any multivariable health issue.

The science of the early ecological and environmental science movement is the late 60’s and 70’s had no trouble showing and documenting the unhealthy aspects of dumping tons of toxins and poisons into our land, water and air. And like big tobacco, the industrialized corporate community could tie up litigations in courts for years. Yet, like big tobacco they reveled at the opportunity to switch the debate from easily documentable health implications into a theoretical debate as to whether the poisonous assault on our environment is/was causing global warming.

During the great cancer debate smoking enthusiasts (nicotine addicts) were able to cite personal or anecdotal testimonials of people who had smoked two or three packs a day for decades and never got cancer. Likewise the capitalist industrialist (greed and wealth addict) is able to cite numerous examples of how their practices have in some way improved the environment and quality of life while finding many isolated and cherry picked studies which draw into the question the whole reality of the cause of global warming or its very existence.

While the term ecology was coined in the late 1860’s it took almost a full century before ecological science had popularized concerns that the very survival of much of the life of the planet was being threatened by human generated pollution and industry. In the mid 1960’s Buckminster Fuller began to popularize the idea that the earth was in essence a self-contained spaceship hurdling through the universe. He maintained that while the earth had evolved over billons of years to become a lush and flourishing home to an amazing array of organic life it was also a vulnerable and fragile enclosed biosphere that could be destroyed by the careless actions of humanity.

The more we learn about the planet and all of its organic life the more we see how intertwined and interlaced it all is. While it is true that the fight for survival gets played out in so many arenas of organic life, it is equally obvious that there is an even stronger dynamic of things working and functioning together. Life on planet earth does not just survive, but thrives and flourishes. In general, life uses the dead and dying life as fuel as a means of getting rid of waste and having the greater organism (earth) grow, thrive and flourish. The more we learn, viewing the earth’s biosphere as a living organism is more literal than figurative. 

When one acknowledges that the earth is one huge spaceship one can easily see how foolish, dangerous and destructive pollution and war are to the long term survival of much of organic life, including humans. The Starship Enterprise, the famous spaceship from the TV series Star Trek was supposed to be half mile long and home to a couple of thousand people. Imagine how quickly it would have become a mass grave if it would have been home to endless wars amongst its crew members or would have been generating poisons and toxins inside the spaceship and becoming part of its circulated air and water supply.

While space ship earth is far larger it is still silly to think we and most of organic life can continue to survive and flourish when under constant assault through the propagation of poisons and toxins into our living environment. The earth took some 3 billion or so years to become stable and suitable enough to allow organic life to survive. All of organic life has a relatively narrow band of temperature, chemical composition, etc. in which they can survive. While it is true that the adaptable survive, it is also true that adaptation takes time and acceptable changes move at a snails pace in which hundreds of our generations aren’t even a recognizable blip on the screen.  

The above discussion now has advanced to the point where we can talk about its title, Killing the Host. The earth is the host of all of life, and as a planet it is itself a living biosphere teeming with life. The earth as biosphere is alive and is filled with life in the very same manor that each human being is alive and their body and viscera is teeming with life.

Our activities are killing the host, that being earth, in much the same way that microbes, bacteria, germs, etc. can  threaten, make ill and even kill the body. While the fight for survival is usually dominated by a need to kill or eat the dead, dying or disabled to acquire fuel the killing the host method is quite rare and inefficient. In general organic life does not eat or kill something into extinction for a predator is dependent on the survival and flourishing of its prey for its continued survival and flourishing.

The vast majority of organisms that kill the host do so only during a relatively short adjustment period (especially considering the organic life time line which spans hundreds of millions or even billions of years). Once mutual adaptation occurs, if not becoming a mutually beneficial “teem/team” member, the once lethal organism either adapts to being a parasite or becomes  an agent causing temporary dis-ease.

Shortly after developing microscopes strong enough to see bacteria we recognized the role they can play in deadly inflections, diseases and plagues. Soon the general populace began to view all germs (bacterium) as predatory and lethal, beginning a decades long, and in many cases still existing, war against the germ. 

Recent dissemination to the public of the essential and beneficial role bacteria play in digestion as well as many other functions of our organs and central nervous system has still not removed the evil status of germs. Even when acknowledging their necessary role in both our surviving and flourishing we still feel it necessary to talk of good and bad bacterial cultures such as in the talk on probiotics. 

When a microorganism is in its lethal stage, for its own survival, it must find a new host to inhabit before its old host expires. One of the more common ways in which lethal organisms jump from one host to another is when it becomes “air born” through sneezing or coughing. 

When one frames the current status of mankind as a lethal germ whose activities are endangering and killing the host (various biomes and the earth’s biosphere in total) we can equate our desire to seek survival through space travel and “colonizing” other planets as our truly “exploring” ways to find another host to infect and kill. We are totally capable of adapting and becoming as life affirming and promoting as any other organic organism on planet earth, but our current course is one of killing the host.

Please look for and read my next post entitled “Does the Body Secrete Self-Consciousness?” which poses how we got where we are at, and what are some potential alternative courses of action. We can in deed become one of the most beneficial organisms in natures progression in having organic life continue to thrive and flourish in an ever increasing efficient and life affirming manner.

Jim Guido

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