Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Hygiene Effect.

Dr. Al Jenny. Wiki.

The hygiene hypothesis is a simple one. In modern society, we are exposed to far fewer pathogens in the everyday environment.

Over the long term, this causes an increase in the numbers of people reported to be suffering allergic and immunodeficiency diseases.

Our grandparents for the most part grew up on the farm, and worked in the outdoors. Their city-bred counterparts lived in tenements, and less than exemplary conditions in the old country in the case of immigrants.

Our parents took us camping and worked in industry, and lived in cities and towns where the air and the water were poor. Back then, poor people might have had two kids in a room, or five kids all in one bed.

Very few westerners live that way anymore. Kids play indoors, on the computer or game-box.

They camp in a trailer park with showers and working toilets…they’ve never drank water right out of the lake, or from an old-style farm pump in their lives.

One of my fondest memories is of my four year-old brother and the neighbour girl sitting in the driveway eating dirt…just dirt. When I laughed and told my mom, he started crying and it all dribbled down his chin and neck…a priceless memory.

I never wore disposable diapers. My mother used cotton diapers. She rinsed them in the laundry tubs, washed them, put them through the wringer and then hung them up on a line in the backyard to dry in the wind and the sun.

Are these really new diseases? Basically what is being said is that these are not new pathogens—they’ve been around as long as we have, and as they mutate over time our defenses also adapted over time.

But now, in the modern world, there is an increase, and a steep one, in the incidence of these diseases. It’s not a new set of ailments, but it is a whole new environment. If thirty years ago one kid in a hundred was born with blue hair and nowadays it’s thirty-five out of a hundred, it’s not a new disease but a new phenomena…a new vector.

What about your mental health? In the past, weren’t these things talked about or reported, or is there really an increase in this type of health issue in the modern world? That kind of depends on who you ask, and what they are selling, doesn’t it?

I’ll let the reader rely on their unspoken prejudices and provide their own answer, but first I would like to point out, that in the mental health sense, we live in a whole new environment, one that we arguably haven’t come completely to terms with.

Because in the good old days, no one went insane, no one went postal, and no one espoused an alternative point of view…right? Or maybe we’re being exposed to new kinds of psychological pathogens. I’m just saying.

When I write a story like ‘Lenny lays an Egg,’ or ‘The Second Coming,’ or ‘News from the Future,’ there are plenty of people who might object to those stories.

“Those are just crazy stories, Louis.”

Why in the heck would any serious writer do something like that?

I’m trying to poke and prod at your subconscious assumptions, your prejudices, (we all have them,) and your unspoken attitudes. I’m trying to arouse your objectivity, and force your critical faculties to adapt to the modern world, rather than rely on old, outmoded and archaic thinking, which in the end is merely a dogmatic incantation of the most superstitious sort—like how noble royalty is, and how indispensible for local politics in the global village.

I just want you to think about things.

One of the most troubling aspects of modern life is the tendency to try and make everything safe. Everything must make sense, serve a purpose, or turn a profit. Everything must be tasteful and polite, and inoffensive to all comers. It must be politically correct to be valid as art, and to me that’s just so much copulating nonsense.

You can get all that on Canadian TV. Right? It’s all they do.

First, it simply isn’t a credible goal or outcome, secondly, I don’t want any part of such a boring world as some may contemplate, where everyone is labeled for life by their economic status at birth, and all crimes of the mind are punished swiftly, and a difference of attitude is somehow criminal.

That is the difference between art and commerce, I suppose.

It’s like a delicate flower. They come for the honey and spread the pollen. The ideas bear fruit elsewhere and then they take on a life of their own.

I figure it’s my job or something to try and change the world.

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