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Saturday, February 4, 2017

The Culling

The human race is long overdue for a culling. We are seven and a half billion strong, or perhaps I should say weak. How does a person get stronger? By straining his muscles, exercise, struggle. How does a person get smarter? By wracking his brain, studying, struggle. How does a person become more graceful? By practice, careful rehearsal, struggle. I could go on and on. We get better, stronger, faster, smarter, more competitive through work and struggle. Therefore, by simple logic we can predict that the incessant use of antibiotics and inoculations—methods which bypass the immune system—have coddled the immune system of the typical human to the point where it is as weak as the muscular system of a quadriplegic.

History is a futile and clueless guide in these ever faster and faster changing days we live in. Nowhere in history have we ever placed such unalloyed faith in that great all-powerful god called science, to ease us painlessly through every natural struggle. We no longer adapt to our environment, instead we've spent at least the last few centuries adapting our environment to us. With refrigeration, central heat, soap, gasoline powered transportation, and modern medicine, we've exploded as a species across the face of the Earth. Our numbers make us strong. Our reliance upon a fickle god named science makes us weak.

Did you think that antibiotics would always work? Do you fear germs? Do you obsessively wash your hands, take daily baths, sanitize every object and device you may have to touch? Do you get your kids their inoculations? Do you obsess about a clean and neat house, car, clothing, furniture, dusting vacuuming, wiping, scrubbing? Of course you do. Doesn't everybody?

You and I have grown used to the absence of harmful bacteria and viruses. The worst most of us have experienced is the flu and even that seasonal malady is strongly mitigated by yearly vaccines. Face facts, the human race hasn't struggled with a truly virulent epidemic since AIDS.
On Friday [01/13/2017], the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a disturbing report about the death of an elderly woman in Washoe County, Nev. What killed her wasn’t heart disease, cancer or pneumonia. What killed her were bacteria that were resistant to every antibiotic doctors could throw at them.

This anonymous woman is only the latest casualty in a war against antibiotic-resistant bacteria — a war that we are losing. Although most bacteria die when they encounter an antibiotic, a few hardy bugs survive. Through repeated exposure, those tough bacteria proliferate, spreading resistance genes through the bacterial population. That’s the curse of antibiotics: The more they’re used, the worse they get, especially when they’re used carelessly.

Already, more than 23,000 people in the United States are estimated to die every year from resistant bacteria. That death toll will grow as microbes develop new mechanisms to defeat the drugs that, for decades, have kept infections at bay. We are on the cusp of what the World Health Organization calls a “post-antibiotic era.”
In 1918, fifty to seventy-five million people around the world died of the Spanish Flu. The true numbers will never be known, only guessed at. (record keeping at this time was not 100%) The population of Earth was perhaps 1.5 billion. If you multiply that out, the Spanish Flu would decimate the world-wide population by 400 million. This would be a civilization killer. The fact is however that it would be worse than that. People in those days had never had inoculations. They'd survived every childhood epidemic. They'd survived without antibiotics, without soap in many cases. They were in a word 'survivors.' Do you honestly think that the survivor percentage of today's coiffed, perfumed, inoculated, and spoiled humanity would be as high?

Any massive die-off would spin civilization off its axis. If one in ten people died in the space of a year or less, that would cause everybody to stay home. Garbage collectors would stay home. Truckers would stay home. Store clerks would stay home. Electricians, and engineers would stay home. Everyone would find it hard if not impossible to go about their daily tasks. Everything would break down.

We rely on electricity to the point that if it was cut off for an extended period the human die-off would collapse civilization as we know it. Almost nobody these days knows how to build shelter, hunt, fish, forage, find clean water, deliver babies, remove badly decaying teeth, design safe sewage systems, navigate without GPS, build carts, boats, plows, catch train and shoe horses, make whiskey, farm, can food, etc. The list of things most of us don't know how to do is so overwhelming that it's virtually certain that a national or worldwide power outage would wipe out almost every person alive.

We rely on specialization, medicine, electricity, clean water, store bought food, and gasoline powered transportation to survive. (I probably left a few things out.) In summation, the case seems clear. Another super-flu like the Spanish Flu and its attendant societal consequences would cause a culling of humanity to the point where this world would be unrecognizable.

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.

The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)

1 comment:

  1. Nice circling around that definition. What, are you five-years-old?