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Boy plays in dirt
Girl plays in dirt
| Germ Theory
Germ theory is the dominant view of what causes disease.
It states that many diseases are caused by invasive microorganisms (even if impact of such diseases is modified by environmental and hereditary factors).
There is truth to this, as can be seen in the Crimean War, where hospital hygiene was neglected. In 1854, Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing, reduced the mortality rate from 42% to 2% with hygiene improvements.
This has intelligently led to the understanding of the importance of hygiene.
Clean water and sanitation are perhaps the most important aspects of hygiene/health.
However, so much of our poorer 'civilised' world still does not have these.
This means that campaigns to save lives by cleaning your hands become vital.
Anyway, this primary importance of clean water and sanitation is lost in a medicalised world. Instead we glorify vaccinations and drugs.
And in this richer 'civilised' world, we now find excessive hygiene.
We use powerful, harsh chemicals to disinfect everything.
But this is not the environment in which humans have evolved for millions of years.
Throughout our animal evolution, we lived very close to nature, interacting with many microorganisms. We are far more cooperative than adversarial.
When we are born vaginally, we are seeded with a microbiome, which is a vast and healthy community of bacteria that live with us, in our gut and on our skin. This microbiome that we receive at birth and in early life basically programmes our immune system (learn more in the documentary MicroBirth).
Tribes live close to the bacteria and dirt of nature. They sourced clean water and handled their sanitation intelligently (unlike medieval Europe). They are healthy. We can be too!
When we distance ourselves from nature, bad things happen. For example, allergies become rampant.
On the other hand, intelligent exposure to germs actually strengthens the immune system!!
This is the Hygiene Hypothesis.
Frequent childhood thumb-sucking and nail-biting means fewer allergies.
Pets at home and living on a farm also help.
So, don't keep children squeaky clean and divorced from nature.
Encourage children to get into nature, get mucky.
Stay connected to nature throughout life.
Psychologically, the obsession with cleanliness has created a kind of separative or divisive or fearful outlook.
People are very wary of others for fear of infection.
There is an us/me versus them mentality.
Society develops a war mentality rather than a harmonious co-operation and unity.
Lost is the understanding that we need to interact with many microorganisms for optimal health.
For example, our guts get blasted clean with drugs but it also kills all the good bacteria, and our health deteriorates.
So, hopefully we can see that whilst hygiene is important, we seem to have become too hygienic.
Germ Theory is also a Poor Theory for Immigration
Germs and dirt are sometimes used as analogies for immigrants. Germ theory sees outside things as invasive, just as xenophobia sees immigrants as unwanted and dangerous. Both systems dubiously associate the foreign with disease, imperfection and inferiority.
This in turn drives a racist and/or xenophobic narrative, where the ideal state is usually white and extremely clean, and keeping filth from entering your territory.
It all seems very logical and sensible. But the truth is that nature requires we cooperate with the other to create health and harmony.
Success for Society
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