Legacies from Twentieth Century
One of the most remarkable
discoveries stemming from my research on the Cancer Salves book is
that medicine has had a varied and controversial history, at
least in the West. I left school with the impression that science
has overcome the superstitions of the past and is heading in
a linear manner towards deeper and deeper levels of understanding
and truth. In fact, it seems theories not only come and go, but
any individual with insights that are ahead of their time will
almost certainly not live long enough to witness the acceptance
of his ideas.
As we are perched on the New Millennium,
I have been particularly reflective about where we have been and
where we are going. In is evident to me that 20th Century medicine
was dominated by the theories of Pasteur,
a man whose integrity has continually come into question and who
himself recanted on his deathbed, saying that Bechamp should have
won the debates that made the Pasteur name famous. Bechamp had
a theory of terrain whereas
Pasteur focused on germs as causative rather than incidental to
Regardless of which side of the debate
one favors, we can probably agree that germs do exist and that
some people succumb to them more easily than others. If so, we
might also conclude that immunity is the more critical aspect of
health, i.e. more important than the infectious organisms themselves
because many people who are exposed to pathogens do not succumb
to illness whereas the same microorganisms can be truly dangerous
for those with weaker immunity.
Twentieth Century Research
Much of the research money in the
last century went to development of vaccines and drugs to conquer
infectious diseases, yet nearly all experts agree that most of
the improvements in health and life expectancy that have occurred
are attributable less to the conquest of disease than to improvements
in public sanitation. Almost no progress has been made in the treatment
of chronic disease. Worse, some of the strategies used to prevent
the spread of infections have been flawed by bad science and unacceptable
side effects. In short, progress in the realm of preventative
medicine has been checkered by scandals over everything from Thimerosol to
Simian Virus 40. The story that has not received much publicity
is the critical loss of immunity due to suppression of natural
responses to infection.
Only towards the end of the century
did the concepts of immunity, psychoneuroimmunology, and terrain
begin to gather some attention.
Science is a very complex field
with many areas of specialization; very few within the ranks of
professionals have an overview of the total spectrum of health
issues facing residents on this Planet. Even fewer understand the
person as a unit, as a whole, as a totality of expression.
If we examine the consequences of
20th Century medicine, we will see that countless new vaccines
and wonder drugs have been developed to counteract the effects
of germs, but the microorganisms are proving themselves not merely
resistant but capable of almost endless mutation to stay ahead
of the attempts to reduce their virulence.
New antibiotics were created but
they are failing to meet the expectations of the very persons who
invented them. In reality, we could say that the alleged progress
was mainly in the area of infectious diseases, acute conditions,
and that precious little progress was made in the area of chronic
diseases. Instead of healing the heart, patients undergo bypasses,
pacemakers, transplants, and even the replacement of the heart
with promising new devices. Likewise, instead of curing cancer,
a battle is waged against the disease that is nearly as dangerous
to the patient as the disease itself.
Billions of dollars later, we mare
faced with scandals over dangerous preservatives and contaminants
in vaccines, antibiotic resistant microorganisms, and very little
progress in the treatment of chronic diseases. I would propose
that part of the reason for the failure of the hooplala of the
20th Century to produce the results anticipated (and often promised)
is that the body's immune system was not understood, appreciated,
or even seriously studied.
Historically, diseases were discussed
as acute or chronic. Acute diseases were characterized by
sudden onset; and they were usually infectious and attended by
high fever. Some acute diseases resulted in epidemics, such
as the bubonic plague or even influenza. Fatalities were often
great so fear of such conditions is not only understandable but
more or less part of our human heritage. Throughout the course
of history, such diseases have been blamed on everything bad air
(malaria) to human contact with animals to sin. Rarely was
there an attempt to evaluate individual susceptibility in terms
of life style or natural immunity. Consequently, there has
not been any real study of the manner in which immune suppression
affects immunity. Immunizations and antibiotics as well as
mercury (in vaccines and amalgam dental restorations)—not
to mention chlorine and fluorides in water and devitalized food—all
suppress the functioning of the immune system.
Without the ability to throw off
acute diseases, people are more vulnerable to the development of
chronic conditions. This easily explains the typical perception
of cancer patients that they are healthy because they never have
colds or fevers and they never missed a day of school or work. Unfortunately,
the very basis on which the assumption of good health was predicated
is flawed by the fact that the dramatic responses to infection
are normal and natural. Therefore, their absence is suspicious
and most likely attributable to a suppression of immune response
rather than good health.
When I try to imagine how the twentieth
century will be regarded by future critics and historians, I am
certain that it will not be seen as enlightened, not politically
illumined, not possessed of remarkable scientic prowess or creativity,
and not even in touch with Nature enough to recognize our all important
interrelationship with other lives and the effect these lives have
on our survival.
Where medicine itself is concerned,
I will grant that while progress has been made in certain diagnostic
and surgical procedures, some operations, like the radical mastectomy
are practically as barbarous as in 1895 when the Halsted procedure
was first performed. It will probably take several generations
to evaluate the place in history of twentieth century medicine.
My assumption is that it will be regarded as pseudoscientific
and rife with all manner of academic and industrial fraud.
In the meantime, survival of the
fittest is no longer as much a matter of brawn as insight and awareness.
One of the first steps towards enhanced health is to accept that
the body has evolved over countless millennia and has forged natural
responses to natural threats. None of us have had time to
develop resilience in the face of nuclear disaster or catastrophes
due to global warming or depleted uranium. Likewise, we have
limited ability to deal with other manmade and iatrogenic problems
such as pollution and contaminants in our food, water, and medicine.
However, we all have the ability to insulate and protect ourselves
as much as possible by making wise life style choices and using
food and herbs to boost our immunity.