X. Effectology in Health
"Do everything in moderation."
Questions to be considered:
What are the most common health accidents?
How important is the power of mind over body?
What do we fear the most in life?
Philosophy and medicine shared a common background for many great thinkers of the past who struggled to explain the phenomenon of life. According to Hippocrates (460380 B.C.), the philosophical doctor of the ancient world, the human body was dependent on the nature of the universe, and no body part could be treated without considering the entire body. He founded many healing methods along with curative emotional factors that remain valid today, and young doctors still take the "Hippocratic Oath." It underlines the duty "do no harm," but help the patient.
The Romans made good progress in medicine, as their legions had medical staff following them to the battlefields, helping increase the rate of survival for the wounded. That medical routine in wartime resulted in many accidental discoveries in the treatment of the sick, and along with these, many good doctors.
One of them was Claudius Galen (130200), who was highly admired by Emperor Marcus Aurelius. His medical knowledge was also appreciated by emperors Lucius Verus, Commodus, Septimius Severus, and by the richest men of that time. He was one of the first doctors to anticipate human genetics. His On the Use of the Parts of the Human Body was the standard medical text for anatomy and physiology until the 17th century.
Juvenal, who was a contemporary of Galen, launched the ideal of a healthy individual with his lasting mens sano in corpore sano/a sound mind in a sound body. He was merely reinforcing what Seneca's warning from one century earlie about the devastating effect of emotions and passions upon one's health.
The great thinkers of ancient times understood that a fine but solid bond must exist between the body's parts and their functions. Health was perceived as a balance between physical or bodily well-being, combined with the good mental or spiritual state of the brain. However, since health was a divine quality, it was treated more like a mythical gift.
In reality, health depended on many uncontrollable natural factors (climate, natural accidents, etc.) and man-made factors that were hard to change (availability of food, medical care, living conditions, stress, etc.). For thousands of years, these external accidents often proved fatal, because proper knowledge in the field of medical science and technology simply did not exist.
Medical treatments had random outcomes; their effects were equally likely to cure or kill the patient. Exposed to so many uncontrollable elements, people died at an early age of diseases that we treat today with a simple pill or lotion. Lack of sanitary facilities made things worse.
The Romans were keen about their hygiene. Their running water installations and sewer system were unique to ancient Rome and other important cities, while the rest of the world had primitive water supplies and no sanitary facilities for another 2,000 years. On the other hand, the Romans, who for centuries praised civilization, learned the use of the soap from the Celts around the year 50 A.D. It took the Romans another 1250 years to invent the use of spectacles for correcting impaired vision, and another 300 years until Galileo Galilei invented the thermometer.
The handkerchief was said to be used for the first time to blow the nose and cover a cough or a sneeze by Henry II, in the twelve century. Considering that no design for right and left shoes and no heels were attached to shoes until the seventieth century, one can imagine the rampant foot problems people had until then.
The first to compete with Roman sanitary facilities was Napoleon, who put water closets and toilets in the Versailles and sewer canals under Paris. History books should praise those monumental achievements even before his glorious military and political career.
Because of religious taboos about human bodies, medicine was one of the slowest sciences to advance in history. It took thousands of years for medics to learn that heart was not the house of the soul, but a muscular organ pumping blood throughout the body. The types of blood weren't discovered until 1901, after a century of random and deadly transfusions from individuals and animals. Ultimately, the quest for health was stronger than blind faith in religion.
Health was, and it will always be, the most treasured possession in one's life. Humans are, compared to animals, extremely frail physically Because nothing was created equal in nature, not all humans were equally created either. Various flowers from a bouquet put in a vase of water will die at different times. On the same principle, members of the same family will die at different ages. Science indicates that genetically strong individuals are healthier and live longer. But it is more than that: effective and defective inherited genes make individuals tall or short, fat or skinny, strong or weak, witty or dull, quick or slow, blond or dark, artistically or technically inclined, affectionate or distant.
The unmatchable quality of genes that each person inherits determines the individual's skin, hair, muscle, eyesight, teeth endurance, heart and other organs' problems, memory quality, virility, and many other specific traits. Strong genes give the individual a stronger resistance to sickness and guarantee a longer life. Weak genes bring about premature aging and a low resistance to cancer and other terminal illnesses.
The ancient thinkers believed that any matter must successively pass through all its forms and states before changing to better, including the body and souls. Yet, reality was more complicated than any of their concepts, because every external impact produces unexpected results.
Like anything else in nature, the power of accidents is crucial when it comes to life on earth. Life unfolds according to nature's rules, and any accident in nature affects the lives of the humans. As a matter of fact, we are the creatures of habits created by accidental and repeated circumstances.
Millions of years ago, natural accidents like volcano eruptions and heavy snow and rain forced most animals to migrate in huge numbers to lands with a more hospitable climate. No doubt, fire was probably the first gift Mother Nature offered the hominids to last in adverse climates, as they changed habits and bettered their surviving skills.