Illness is not a matter of chance
Importance of the environment inside the body
Ever since he started wandering the earth, man has faced disease, and for just as long he has tried to do something about it. Nowadays we equate health with youthfulness, with being attractive, with fitness and success, and we pull out all the stops to be able quickly to get back to “health”. Sickness is seen as an unwelcome incident – as the product of chance or a blow of fate. But can personal “luck” make the difference between health and disease?
Illness – a question of chance?
Is “chance”, as often cited, really of any significance in the emergence of disease, or is the person himself responsible? Is there a connection between certain diseases and the way we live, or do they develop completely independent of our way of life?
It is of great importance that we find a clear answer to these questions, because if we are in some degree responsible for our ill health, it behoves us to do something about it.
If, however, illnesses arise by chance, if they can take us completely by surprise at any time, thus without a chain of cause and effect to foresee, then we would have no influence on our suffering and consequently bear no responsibility for our health.
Apart from a number of ailments, whose triggers we know – nausea after a sumptuous meal, cold from a chill in the weather, sleeplessness from worries and so on, we are unable in many cases to recognise the reason for our suffering. The question therefore seems justified as to how far we can be responsible for eczema, for rheumatism or a tumour – or even for hereditary diseases, which have passed on to us from parents. And: How could a newborn with an incurable disease be responsible for his suffering?
These questions about the causes of illnesses are perhaps all the more pressing when they are asked by believers. For how do we reconcile God’s love with human suffering? Where is His justice if He allows the newly born to suffer from something that it could not have caused?
In order to find answers to these questions in the context of illness and health, we have to first establish what is the role chance plays and – should it prove not decisive – where our responsibility could lie.
Does chance really play a role?
The fact that a lot of people believe in chance occurrences is evident in a number of sayings. For example, if someone is seriously ill we say: “What a terrible fate!” – “The poor thing, he seems to be bedevilled by bad luck!” – “It is a true visitation!” – “I hope no such thing happens to me, touch wood!” These expressions show that disease is regarded as an adversity that is arbitrarily caused by a blind fate or is dependent on something as unpredictable as good or bad luck, against which we cannot do much … one can at most wish to be spared from such. Many a person falls back on superstition and knocks on wood, for example, to avert an impending disaster.
If such a blind chance were to exist, man would not be the cause of happenings, and the sick person would not be the author of his or her illness. Accordingly, an illness could not have its origin in us either, but would need to be regarded as a distinct entity existing outside of us. In this view, disease can “invade” us, “attack” our tissue, “destroy” our organs, “assault” our joints, “poison” the blood, “rob” our strength, “weaken” our immunity and in the end completely “have us in its grip”. Other expressions follow along the same lines: we can “catch” an ailment, “infect” someone with it, “incubate” it, or it can suddenly “break out” with force.
The behaviour of the sick person is also quite revealing: the ailment is most often unexpected. He asks himself in surprise how it is possible that it got him, just him and just at this moment. Sometimes he struggles with his fate and tells himself that it is not his fault and it is unfair. Does such a reaction not show clearly that he regards his illness as an unfortunate coincidence?
Undoubtedly, the usual approach today of handling illness by fighting the symptoms often prevents one from becoming conscious of the fact that there are deeper causes of the affliction, and that chance has nothing to do with it. This form of therapy focuses the person’s attention on the symptoms of his or her sickness and not on its underlying causes. Let us take for example the so-called “diseases of civilisation” that are indicative of the modern way of life: stress, overeating, excessive consumption of stimulants such as coffee, alcohol, tobacco and so on. How can a patient become conscious of the causes when the treatment consists mainly of taking pills to thin out the blood, lower the cholesterol level and so on?
In general, the fact that his suffering disappears with taking a medication – without having altered his lifestyle or contributed something to it otherwise – strengthens him in the assumption that his illness is only a coincidence. If a cream can make eczema disappear, a pain reliever a headache, or an anti-inflammatory medication joint pains, it suggests to a sick person that his pain can also disappear as suddenly and as mysteriously as it came. In these circumstances it is no longer necessary to identify and act on the underlying causes. This leads more and more to the view that chance plays an essential role in the emergence of diseases and increasing dependence on ‘outside’ agents.
No effect without cause!
The recognition in physics of “no cause without effect and no effect without a cause” leads to the conclusion that illnesses do not happen by chance, but have very definite causes. These can, however, reach far back and be deep seated, and it is only through an interlinking of cause and effect that a disease visibly manifests.
What are the causes of ailments? To discover these, we must not be content to focus attention on the symptoms and to ask what remedy is necessary to make them disappear, but it is imperative to fathom the “why” of the ailment by delving into the past and examining closely the period prior to the appearance of the symptoms. It is often then possible to find a connection between cause and effect, thus between the patient’s experience in the days before the onset of complaints and the outbreak of the disease itself. One person may have overworked; another may have experienced an emotional shock, while another may in turn have been in contact with people suffering from infectious diseases.
These so-called “causes” are only the triggering factors. They alone cannot give rise to disease, nor fully explain it. Cold cannot cause an attack of rheumatism. The joint damage that is part of rheumatism would not be due to cold, since cold is not able to damage the bone and cartilage tissues of joints, just as little as it is responsible for the deposits that impede movement – the so-called “sand” – in the joints.
If such external factors were really the cause of physical suffering, how is it that of two people who are exposed to exactly the same low temperatures, for example, during a walk, one gets sick and the other does not? Or that of all those who had a deep emotional shock or suffered pain, a number became sick but some do not?
Why is it also that in the course of an epidemic, while the whole population is exposed to infectious germs, only some are infected?
The fact that there are such differences in susceptibility to disease, suggests two further thoughts: first, the triggering factors are not the root causes, and secondly, the root causes are to be looked for inside rather than outside us.
The importance of the environment inside the body
As far back as in ancient times people were concerned about these connections. They recognised that every disease is part of a specific overarching condition, without which it could not develop. This condition, which all illnesses have in common, is a damaged organic milieu.
The inner organic environment consists of the totality of body fluids: blood, lymph and cell serum. These fluids form the environment of our tissues and organs. Our cells bathe as if in a big internal ocean. This ocean is their source of nutrition, from which they can draw all the nutrients (amino acids, vitamins, minerals and so on) that they require to function well. The organic fluids also form a channel of communication. This is used for hormonal messages, which are transmitted from one cell to the other. The waste products – or toxins – secreted by cells also travel the same channel to get to the excretory organs (liver, intestine, kidney, lung and skin).
There is an ideal composition of the various organic fluids, which enables the cells – and thereby the organs and the whole organism – not only to function correctly, but also to resist various attacks that could threaten them. It follows logically that every quantitative or qualitative change of this ideal composition has an unhealthy effect on the organic processes and its defence capabilities, leading over a shorter or longer time to disease.
The composition of organic fluids and the internal environment may change for various reasons, especially in the absence of substances necessary for its healthy activity (vitamins, trace elements, and so on) or if it contains substances that should not be present (such as mercury poisons, nicotine or lead), or an excessive concentration of substances that are harmless only in very small quantities (normal toxic wastes such as urea, uric acid, cholesterol). In the one case we speak of shortage, in the other of an excess.
A body environment damaged from deficiencies or excess is the ideal ground for breeding diseases. If some people are more susceptible to disease than others, it is because the environment inside their bodies is more overloaded or more deficient than in others – in some cases even both at the same time.
Deficiency leads to disease, as lack of nutrients means cells and organs cannot form or repair themselves properly nor function normally. Overloading makes one ill, from the resulting polluted mucous membranes, congested tissues, blocked organs, impaired circulation, sluggish metabolism and the assault on the cells.
Apart from the damage and discomfort arising directly from deficiencies and excess, a degraded environment also leads to the organism reacting a lot more sensitively to external attacks, thus to triggering factors such as cold, stress, microbes and so on.
Inasmuch as ailments can develop or become possible as a result of a deterioration of the internal environment, the therapy has to be directed at this environment if we want to achieve an in-depth, that is, a real and lasting recovery. Not that treatments that specifically target the symptoms should be dispensed with, for they can often provide relief or help the patient to get through a difficult period. However, they are not sufficient to bring about a real recovery.
The concept of body environment helps us to understand that ailments indeed have a deeper cause. The condition of the internal environment of the body is, however, hidden from us and can only be detected through visible effects on the surface – the symptoms – or by analysis. Apart from that, the concept of the body environment makes clear that the causes of a disease can lie far back. Except in the case of acute poisoning, the internal environment does not suddenly deteriorate, but very slowly, and it can take months or years before an ailment manifests. A disease therefore does not come about all of a sudden, but is the result of a pathogenic process. This fact clearly refutes chance as a cause of disease. The appearance of symptoms should not therefore be regarded as the beginning of the disease, but as the end point of a gradual deterioration of the body milieu.
Thus, the cause of disease is often the deterioration of the body environment, and the effects flowing from this degradation are the known diseases that we distinguish from one another by the different symptoms. In the chain of cause and effect the causes always come before the effects. It is necessary to point this out, because to speak of chance is to confuse effects with causes.
With a bronchitis, for example, the sputum expelled is regarded as due to infection, whereas just the opposite is the case: the presence of sputum gives rise to infection. Just as it is not the cancerous tumour that weakens the immune defences and causes a poor general condition, but it is the poor general condition (bad body milieu), which affects the normal functioning of the organs, weakens the immune system and gives the tumour the possibility to develop.
In rheumatism it is not the inflammation that damages the joints or impedes them through deposits, but the deposits of toxic wastes restrict the movements of the joints and cause injury to the cartilage, which leads to inflammation and rheumatic crises.
Confusing cause and effect
This confusion between cause and effect also shows up in a striking manner with treatment: this mostly fights just the symptoms, thus is oriented to the last link in the chain of events, the effects, and not to the triggering causes.
Let us return to the example of bronchitis: the infectious germs in the respiratory tract are killed by taking suitable medication, without the airways being freed of the toxic waste, which offer the germs a favourable environment to develop. Also tumour is removed surgically or medically, but the environment inside the body that enabled the tumour to develop, remains unchanged. Hence secondary cancers after tumour removal. In a rheumatic crisis anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving remedies are used, yet the joint is not freed of the toxic sediments that cause the symptoms.
Since every effect is preceded by a cause, it is thus axiomatic that there is no specific effect without the corresponding cause. Accordingly, it is not possible to fall ill if the internal body environment is in balance, thus neither clogged up with nor suffering from deficiency in nutrients!
The people who do not know illness
This fact could be demonstrated with a people, who, thanks to their unusual living conditions, are seen as extremely healthy. The members enjoy not only an extraordinary physical and mental well-being, but their body environment is so good that they know none of the common diseases of the modern lifestyle such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease or rheumatism, and in addition they are immune to all the infectious diseases widespread in the East. These are the Hunza people, who live in the Pamir mountain range in northern India. Given their great vitality and resistance, the Hunza are described as a people that know no disease.
In all other respects evidence suggests that it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to transfer infectious diseases for research purposes to animals – for example, monkeys – if these animals have lived more recently in their natural habitat. Only when they have lived for a period in the laboratory and have been fed inappropriate food and medicinal cocktails as well as being exposed to stress (noise, cold and so on) does their body environment deteriorate to such extent that they become susceptible to transmitted pathogens! This sad example clearly demonstrates that diseases are not caused by bad luck or chance, and that the fear that we could suddenly and without reason be “hijacked” by a disease is unfounded.
In such a constant fear of diseases, however, live people who believe in chance. They feel helplessly at the mercy of chance. But such fear, as we have seen, has no justification. Deep down we are aware of this. When ill, we feel sometimes - without being able to explain it - that “this just had to come," that “it was predictable” or else that “it is only a logical outcome”.
Even if we do cry out in defiance: “What have I done to deserve this?” we are acknowledging indirectly that the disease did not arise by chance, but that we must have done something to “deserve” the disease affecting us.