Glory, Hallelujah, I am in possession of a functional computer!
As soon as I finish transferring my data from the old hard drive, I’ll be posting all my pretty pictures from the last few weeks of One Local Summer.
In the meantime, remember my posts on the human ecosystem, way back when? I was going on about how the human body is not an isolated organism, but a complex ecosystem (think gut bacteria) as well as an element in larger ecosystems (think kaleidoscope).
Well, lately I’ve been thinking about the absurdity of the term “immune system.” Immune to what? There’s so much baggage tied up in that name. It assumes human bodies are at war with their surroundings, that a healthy human interface with the world is based on staying pure, “immune” to the non-human. Ridiculous.
We really have only the fuzziest idea how the human ecosystem works. And the more scientists investigate, the less it looks like humans are at war with the non-human. Scientists used to think that “germs” were universally dangerous. A lot of people still think this way. Hence (dangerous) antibacterial soaps. Thing is, your skin is covered with helpful bacteria — they’re calling them “commensals” now — and if you kill them, you throw the whole ecosystem out of balance.
We really have no idea what the consequences are when we alter these complicated systems. I bet it never occurred to you that your gut bacteria might make you less likely to get kidney stones.
And what about worms? They’ve been in the news lately as a potential treatment for “autoimmune diseases” of all sorts.
We evolved as groups of critters, not as separate entities.
So. Any suggestions for a new name for the system that governs human ecological balance? “Interaction system?” “Interface system?” I can’t think of anything that sounds right.