Friday, November 20, 2009
SPEED AND HEALTH-I
(From New Series Number 254, August 2009)
Brisk pace is predominant today. Glorification of fast speed, still faster speed has become a form of social madness. Manufacturing fast and faster vehicles for land, sea, air, outer space, even beyond outer space is one of the major activities of human beings...Producing crops that mature quickly, rapidly increasing the flesh of birds and other animals has become common today...
We are preoccupied with increasing the speed of our own bodies. Speed, faster speed, still faster speed has taken the place of mukti-moksha or freedom from the cycle of birth.
To go beyond the tempo of nature, we produce speed. Now we have many types of speed. Production of each kind of speed is an endless dance of destruction. The fearsomeness of the dance of destruction grows with the increase of speed. Let’s look at some aspects of the impact of speed on our health to realize how crucial it is to think about the very production of speed.
There is a complex interlinkage within the human body so that it can take care of itself. In the body, there are many built-in defense systems. In the adrenaline glands alone, there are two parts to control excitement/agitation. One part provides chemical/stress hormones for short-term and the other for long-term. It is a common thing to say that excitement has been the normal state of the human body. But nowadays to reach on time, to finish work in a given time span has become the daily mode of life. Achieving the necessary speed of body and mind for these demands has become a question of life and death for each one of us now. The social assembly line determines the necessary speed. This speed keeps increasing and the fear of being pushed out of the line and made superfluous acts as a whip. In such a situation, each one’s body and mind are in a state of excitement for quite a lot of time each day. What happens because of this is that the whole energy of the body is focused on controlling daily excitement. As a result, the body is not able to provide the necessary energy-means to other defense mechanisms of the body. The weakening of defense mechanisms increases the possibility of diseases. So, other living organisms which used to stay in our bodies and are necessary for our life are wiped out. The clock, yes the clock, digs the grave of health.
• Our muscles and joints vary according to our activities. As an example, we can take monkeys’ children playing on a tree. But the production of speed, still greater speed requires the repetition of some acts again and again. For some of us, the muscles and joints have to bear great pressure or load for a lengthy period of time each day. The product of speed, greater speed is an epidemic of pain in the thighs, knees, calves, hands, shoulders, back...
One more outcome of speed, faster speed is the increase and massive extension of the attack of living organisms on humans.
Living organisms are normally found where a body resides. The body naturally develops a capacity to deal with these organisms. Rather, we should say that the human body has previously had harmony with organisms residing around and within the body. We have already mentioned the break-up of the harmony of the body with organisms living inside it. Let us look at the transformations of the earth into the village by increasing speed. In vehicles, let’s take the airplane. A person living in a village in Faridabad district is normally in harmony with organisms around it. That person going to Singapore or America brings his or her body in contact with organisms with whom the body does not have harmony with. He or she becomes prey to diseases born by speed, greater speed. But the matter does not stop here. The person traveling from here to America takes organisms to America and the person coming from America brings those organisms here. This is the sowing, rather the spreading of the seeds of new diseases to both the places.
The production of speed, greater speed carries within it cities and megacities. Speed, greater speed carries within it schools, colleges, metros, buses, railways, airplanes...We are forced to travel in metros, buses, rails, airplanes, and encounter persons in residences and offices in big buildings and crowds in malls and bazaars. All these elements together have increased the limitless possibilities of diseases that spread through sneezing or coughing.
New chemicals have become necessary for increased speed. To maintain the acquired level of speed, massive amounts of chemicals are necessary. There is an whole new world of human-made chemicals. In these 150-200 years, new chemicals in very large numbers have been produced. And these chemicals have a major role in causing cancer. Changes in seeds to produce crops more quickly and in larger amounts through chemical fertilizers, insecticides, weedicides, has spread cancer and new diseases across villages.
The body is capable of repairing itself. It is a normal activity of the body to heal cuts, scratches, and bruises.
But the injuries associated with speed and faster speed renders the body nearly helpless. Time is not even spared for the body to heal itself. More people have died in these 100 years by road accidents than people who died in all the world in war in the last five thousand years. If we talk of India alone, then more people died last year in ‘road accidents’ than the people who died in the wars of 1948, 1962,1971, and 1999 and in 60 years of ‘terrorist’ acts. In the area under the control of the government of India in 2008, roads and vehicles took the life of 100,000, one million persons became disabled, and four million persons were incapacitated for some time.
But if you look at workplaces other than those of roads, then roads and streets appear to be spilling less blood. Figures of murders, serious injuries, diseases produced by speed at workplaces are kept secret or greatly reduced in number. Increase of speed in agriculture through thrashers, tractors, tools, electricity are epic in themselves. An epic of a dance of destruction.