Microbiology and us
Facebook post by Stephen Harrod Buhner
HI all, at the risk of starting an uproar on my thread (please refrain – AGAIN PLEASE REFRAIN – really, stop sending me bio-weapon conspiracy stuff and telling me I will die if i don’t read it) I thought i would mention the following.
About one of every ten emails or messages i get have links to various sites or articles insisting that the coronavirus is a bioweapon released from a Chinese lab (intentionally or otherwise) or an American lab (intentionally or otherwise). (Even my UPS driver brought it up today.) It is not. Again, IT IS NOT. I have gone through this with the Borrelia organism as well (Plum Island) and the AIDS virus (Plum Island or God, depending on the source). It is tiresome. None of these were bio-engineered or bio-weaponized.
I have been teaching about microbial organisms for 30 years, writing about them for 20, and going really complex tor ten. The belief that these are engineered bioweapons comes from a number of psychological roots; I understand them and why they get activated. It IS true that the powerful keep most of us out of the loop, initiate actions that affect all of us negatively from time to time (While denying responsibility), and don’t really care all that much for the common people. What else is new? This has always been true.
That plays a part in the belief that organisms are being bio-engineered but i think the stronger influence is simply our unwarranted belief that life is supposed to be safe (it isn’t) and the natural world is some sort of Disney or Parkland background to our lives (it isn’t).
The truth is that microbial organisms are tightly interwoven into the ecological fabric of this planet and on this planet there is no escape from global ecology. Very few people understand what the ecological underpinnings of life are or how far astray the human species has gone from any kind of sustainable habitation of this planet. This virus, and a great many other things, are trying to explain our error to us. They will get more insistent as time goes on.
Our technology (which comes out of the discoveries of a science that believes that dissection of the world is a legitimate approach) and our increasing population (which has come from a medical system that takes credit for the good things it does and ignores the ecological ramifications of its actions) has put unsustainable pressure on the ecological systems of the planet.
Under that pressure the ecological systems of the planet are beginning to fail. One of the effects of that is the emergence into the human population of pandemic diseases. I and others who are knowledgeable in this area have been warning about this for thirty years. We are not immune from the ecological impacts of our species’ actions. We are ecological beings on an ecological planet and our belief in American exemptionalism is unfounded.
Microbes are some 4 billion years old, despite what most of us have been taught, and what most doctors and some scientists still believe, they are highly intelligent, are sophisticated tool users and innovators, possess language, culture, and are a great deal more sophisticated at what they are doing than we are and for sure our medical systems (which are for the most part based on inaccurate assumptions about the nature of disease and microbial pathogens and have little to no understanding of ecology).
In the 1950s, we started a pharmaceutical war with intelligent life forms far older than our own and who have survived challenges far greater than our current ecological mess. These organisms are arising from their ecological background and entering our species simply because there are too many of us and we have disturbed the ecological balance of the planet. To them we are no different than a deer or a bird. We are in fact prey; we always have been. it is just that we have come to believe we are not and by virtue of our “intelligence” should not be.
The great teaching of our time, despite the pain we are experiencing now (each of us will, as i already have, lose people we love), is that the way we are going about things must change. It is no longer possible to continue as we have been. Each ecological response after this one is almost certainly going to be more extreme than the last if we continue this way.
In a sense, i guess you could say that this virus is bio-engineered BUT it has been bio-engineered by the ecological fabric of the planet, not people. The lesson here is that there are limits to our behavior that cannot be exceeded without consequences. It is a hard lesson but one we desperately need to learn. Our children deserve the effort it will take for us to learn this, as do their children, as do all our kindred life forms on this planet . . . and their children.
In the spirit of the plants,
Stephen Harrod Buhner