‘Why is our world full of carcogens, chemicals, diseases etc?’

Four Questions

  1. Is disease and death simply the consequence of human activity in the world that has brought us into contact with substances we might have otherwise avoided?
  2. Could it be the bi-product of a world in which human existence is facilitated by a gas-filled environment comprising oxygen and hydrogen, also contains other elements and substances that are detrimental to life and health?
  3. Should blame rest on human disobedience in the Garen of Eden? Did carceogens arrive as the idyll was lost when Adam and Eve ate of the Tree and their eyes were opened to a world of toil and alienation in which weeds grow and death enters the world?
  4. Or is it something else all together?

Now, read on…

Clearly there is a sense in which human decisions do affect health in very direct ways in the divide between rich and poor and the consequences of economic disparity. Likewise, the lifestyle choices people make where the risk of illness is increased through consumables such as alcohol, cigarettes, sugary or fatty foods,etc. Often, the danger is not known beforehand and people persist because it is addictive and/or enjoyable. These lifestyle decisions are particular to each person and the way they exercise freewill by living healthy or unhealthy lives either through choice or no choice at all.

Of course, this sort of decision making can affect us in less obvious ways – such as when the consequence of what we have done is not immediately apparent to us. A good example of this is passive smoking, where the inhalation of a person’s second-hand smoke has only been recognised as dangerous in the last few decades. The danger being uncovered after millions of people had been exposed to it for many years. Although the danger of passive smoking is now recognised, risks associated with other products and activities are not. Here, I am thinking of products that people have used for a number of years but which are only later recognised as detrimental to health because they contain substances we now recognise as cancerous or harmful. And just as many other things we will discover are harmful tomorrow.

One example of this from history is that of asbestos which dates back to 4,000 BC. Initially, this was added into wicks by people to increase the length of time their lamps and candles were able to burn. Later, in Ancient Egypt, the material was woven into fabric to make cloth that was used to prepare pharaohs for burial with Benjamin Franklin bringing a purse made from asbestos to England as late as the 19th century. Indeed,  asbestos continued to be manufactured and used in the building industry in the UK for much of the last century. That said, it is only in the last few decades that scientists have come to realise the how dust particles from asbestos result in many people developing lung and respiratory problems as they unwittingly absorb it into their bodies.

So, returning to the question, ‘Why are there so many things in the world harmful to humans?’ a better question we might ask is:

‘why is it that so many things that humans use and consume have the potential of being dangerous to our wellbeing?’

For me, this is the far more interesting question as it majors on the environments we inhabit and their suitability for human longevity and existence which brings us back to our….

Four Questions

  1. Is disease and death simply the consequence of human activity in the world that has brought us into contact with substances we might have otherwise avoided?
  2. Could it be that the bi-product of a world in which human existence is facilitated by a gas-filled environment comprising oxygen and hydrogen, also contains other elements and substances that are detrimental to life and health?
  3. Should blame rest on human disobedience in the Garden of Eden? Did carceogens arrive as the idyll was lost when Adam and Eve ate of the Tree and their eyes were opened to a world of toil and alienation in which weeds grow and death enters the world?
  4. Or is it something else all together?