Porque el esclavo que baila es libre………..mientras baila (from Isabel Allende – Island Beneath the Sea)
Because the slave who dances is free………..while he is dancing.
We will come back to that.
Many colleagues with small reputations will not like these observations and those with big reputations will not even take them into consideration. Otherwise, with the right memory and adequate doses of honesty, what follows will prove accessible to many.
Without getting embroiled in difficult formulae, the third law of thermodynamics tells us that “Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.” One example among many: if I shoot at an object with a rifle, my shoulder will receive a kick of equal intensity. The force may even break a bone. Up to this point, things are clear to everyone, and it may be applied without exception to all phenomena when force is applied to something. Without exception. Now with a little logic and without too much imagination we may expand our focus, except that we run up against questions about “uncomfortableness” (when there are any), which do nothing to change the abovementioned third law.
What if we shoot the rifle at an inert object, an innocent, motionless tree, an unlucky duck or a human being? We are forced to admit that we find ourselves in an embarrassing situation, because none of them escape the third law of thermodynamics: with the man-target the firer of the shot, and the shoulder receiving the kick, lose the ease of absolution according to a logic which is questionable, if not actually scientific. All easy? Not quite. Indeed, physical laws care nothing for moral laws, however much we strain to square them. If we substitute the beloved relative with a native of distant Chagos (good for you if you discern their truth), then we may more wisely group them with the duck or the tree, and be absolved. We must bear in mind that I fired the shot and the shoulder is mine. The problem of “counter damage” is a serious one. But mine is merely a completely non-original view about the one who fired the shot (or didn’t). I am interested in the third law of thermodynamics because I am not in a position to determine how, to what extent, and above all when there will be respect for the law, which is a must.
Hopefully things will soon be less boring.
I think I am not wrong when I say that our world is particularly geared to and capable of shooting on some enemy without thinking about the reaction. There is no need for me to speak of all the ever-present “enemies” outside of my profession: for each one of them there is always a justification. But sooner or later the reactions will make themselves felt. However, I will focus, albeit approximately, on my work (for all that is not a part of it, see the examples in John Pilger’s ‘Freedom Next Time’).
Premise: I have never meant to say that in medicine in no case is it necessary or possible to shoot, although always with a view to knowing as far as possible the wider implications of the medical act and taking the steps to deal with them as best as possible.
When I was district doctor, with some of my more conscientious colleagues we would consult the official American medical bible (Brainerd-Margen-Chatton, “Diagnostica e terapia attuale”, Piccin Editore, 1966). Under the entry for ‘fever’, p.2, we read (note that in 1966 antibiotics and cortisone-based drugs existed):
“Therapy for fever: (quoted in full)
A) Removal of the specific cause of the fever. The main problem is to determine and eliminate the cause of the fever. Symptomatic remedies capable of reducing excessive body temperature are not recommended, unless in the case of high and protracted fevers.
B) Reducing fever with non specific methods: when the body temperature is higher than 40 C, especially when protracted, the following techniques may be applied:
a) Increase the hydration rate, either orally or parenterally
b) Sponge with alcohol. Cooling is due to evaporation
c) Hot or warm baths. They cause peripheral vasodilation
d) Cold sponges. They cause the rapid cooling of the skin and provide psychological relief, but they interfere with heat loss
e) Ice packs. They provide local relief, especially for headaches
f) Antipyretic drugs. These drugs are effective in reducing fever and also function as analgesics. However, they can make the clinical picture unclear and have unpleasant collateral effects such as sweating, nausea and vomit, and rarely skin rashes and haematological modifications. These drugs must be used with caution for fevers caused by infectious diseases and never for enteric diseases (for example typhoid fever). The most widely used is acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin), as required.
g) For reducing very high fevers (above 41 C), see sunstroke.”
Transcribing this page serves for the purposes of comparing and points the way to adopting less aggressive approaches. Fever is just one example which highlights the need to avoid therapies causing toxin reabsorption.
45 years have passed, but have we progressed or regressed? I refer again to the WHO (World Health Organisation), which states: “In all pathologies where behavioural, emotional and spiritual factors play an important role, it would be difficult to maintain that the scientific method has made any significant progress. Some even say that the signs of deterioration are evident.” Contradictions aside, it is something. I include the quote because, over and above my own simplifications and questionable generalisations, you will often find statements that collide with the scientific orthodoxy, which finds itself being challenged even inside the WHO.
There has been a steady growth in the number of dislocated shoulders, in the form of, to take random examples, malignant tumours, vascular diseases, practically immortal germs; add to that therapeutic mistakes and the harmful multiplication of polytherapies. Often there is no specific intention, but responsibility always, in the decision to go “against” rather than “for” or “with”. I make reference here, among the many possible cases, to one tragic one and one involving the late but effective avoidance of a possible disaster.
When I was a district doctor, the 2000 patients under my care were mostly sharecroppers, simple people who were anything but rich. Among them there was a boy under the age of twenty, a gentle and kind soul who had been subject to an extreme case of strabismus since birth. Corrective measures were taken which unfortunately proved successful. I stopped seeing him, but his distraught parents would visit me because their son had become psychotic as a result of the operation. Being cross-eyed from birth was the balance in his dimension and it should have been respected. Yet not “firing” on the problem would have been a matter for Hippocrates and his followers.
In the second case, the patient had a definable childhood story which was desperate, and had developed strabismus at the age of six. He had undergone no less than four operations which were unsuccessful, because each time his eyes would stubbornly return to their misaligned position. Note: I do not think that modern techniques would have made a difference to the situation, on the contrary; if successful, they would most likely have plunged the patient into some variation of the theme in the previous story.
The patient came to me saying that never again would he undergo another operation. He had a good quality of life in every sense, and he had come primarily in an attempt to understand, beyond all the technical explanations. These two cases are emblematic, and certainly not common.
That one condition may contain another that is either its opposite, replacement or repetition to a greater of lesser degree has been clear since the production of those nefarious free radicals in oxido-reductive processes, which unfortunately increase every time the energy increases. We have already said that the life-span of a mosquito is infinitely less than that of my tortoise (which is now asleep). Every time we make a “correction” or modification to a psychophysically pathological (and not only, of course) definable state (even arbitrarily), we will achieve the above mentioned counter-blow to the shoulder. In over half a century, sometimes with greater clarity than in other cases, I have always seen something “other” creep in sooner or later as a result of an induced imbalance. The field is too vast to deal with, but the medical treatments, invasive examinations, useless surgical operations and an endless series of variations will suffice. The key is to connect first and predict later. As I have said, most of my patients with some help are very often capable of recognising the historical sequence of their ailments, even when, as is often the case, taught by the medical establishment to view the problems of their life as constituted by small non-communicating cells, which are to be resolved separately. The medical establishment of which I am a member almost always lacks “anticipation” in its persistence against some problem; in other words it lacks the capacity (or will?) for prevention. It would be useful to renounce, disagree with or modify a medical intervention, or at least to take into account the possible future outcome for the patient. Obviously I am not talking about the instructions leaflets for prescription drugs (which often no one reads) with information about side-effects and contraindications. It would be like reinventing the wheel, which in some way is already a form of intervention; and one which is not meant to and indeed cannot extend to include the destiny that is already written for each man. To sum up, “anticipation” comes to mean having at least an understanding of the responsibility involved and tolerance for the consequences; for better decisions.
Lastly, we come back to the title, ‘Esclavo que baila’: the slave is free while and for as long as he is dancing. Youngsters working themselves up in the piazzas, people working out in fitness routines, or exerting themselves in a daily life which is always rushed, or living perpetually in the dynamic of the many, seeking easy attention at all costs and believing themselves to be so free “as long they keep moving”. “Free” is what our so-called medicine is called when it basks justifiably in its technical-mechanistic triumphs. Strange coincidence then that the major diseases have increased rather than diminished, which is what one might have expected.
Let it be clear that it is not my aim to demolish research, which at least serves as a great universal antidepressant for an imperfect humanity.
I am sorry to say that the third law of thermodynamics is not the opinion of scientists, as is “science”, but a law. And the double blindness of scientific endeavour, however serious, has produced nothing but itself. We are living on the ground floor of Eternity’s palace. That in itself is an enormous problem. As A. Einstein said: “Our knowledge, compared to reality, is primitive and infantile. Yet it is nevertheless the most precious treasure we have.” In other words, something is better than nothing. No?