Mirage of Health (René Dubos)

While it may be comforting to imagine a life free of stresses and strains in a carefree world, this will remain an idle dream. Man cannot hope to find another Paradise on earth, because paradise is a static concept while human life is a dynamic process. Man could escape danger only by renouncing adventure, by abandoning that which has given to the human condition its unique character and genius among the rest of living things. Since the days of the cave man, the earth has never been a Garden of Eden, but a Valley of Decision, where resilience is essential to survival. The earth is not a resting place. Man has elected to fight, not necessarily for himself, but for a process of emotional, intellectual and ethical growth that goes on forever. To grow in the midst of dangers is the fate of the human race, because it is the law of the spirit.

2 thoughts on “Mirage of Health (René Dubos)

  1. shinichi Post author

    Mirage of Health: Utopias, Progress, and Biological Change

    by René Dubos

    Life is an adventure in a world where nothing is static; where unpre-dictable and ill-understood events constitute dangers that must be overcome, often blindly and at great cost; where man himself, like the sorcerer’s apprentice, has set in motion forces that are potentially destructive and many someday escape his control. Every manifestation of existence is a response to stimuli and challenges, each of which constitutes a threat if not adequately dealt with. The very process of living is a continual interplay between the individual and his environment, often taking the form of a struggle resulting in injury or disease. The more creative the individual the less he can hope to avoid danger, for the stuff of creation is made up of responses to the forces that impinge on his body and soul. Complete and lasting freedom from disease is but a dream remembered from imaginings of a Garden of Eden designed for the welfare of man.

  2. shinichi Post author

    While the search for the magic bullets continues, other studies are revealing that the environment in which the individuals’ lives and his manner of living are of great importance in determining his susceptibility to the diseases of modern times. The cancerous ulcers of chimney sweeps probably constituted the first convincing demonstration that the incidence of tumors can be increased by certain chemical substances, in this case by certain components of coal tar. Many others substances have since been found capable of eliciting cancer, and one of the most disturbing aspects of this problem is that many of the carcinogenic effects reveal themselves slowly, often requiring years to become manifest. For example, workers who use benzine in the rubber industry often develop leukemia late in life, the solvent persisting long unnoticed in their bone marrow and ganglia. Awareness of these delayed effects is causing much alarm, of course, to those responsible for the safety of foodstuffs …


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