“Plato is my friend, Aristotle is my friend, but my greatest friend is truth.” — Isaac Newton
The prestigious medical journal, The Lancet, published a good study on the heart status of aboriginals living in the Amazon forests in Bolivian territory. The aboriginals are the Tsaimane (pronounced chee-mah-nay). As in all our reductionist studies, did they measure the coronary calcium level as a surrogate marker of coronary artery disease (CAD) which, too, is not a true measure of CAD? Be that as it may, the Tsaimane tribe lived away from what we call civilisation and led a hunter-gatherer egalitarian life, untouched by the modern monetary economy with its accompanying Wall Street greed. These people are not supposed to get precocious heart attacks and premature death. Both inferences are, at the moment, only presumptions.
The study’s authors claim that the Tsaimane eat hunter-gatherers’ diet of fruits, cereals, like rice and maize, and also fish, with occasional meat of monkeys, piranha and the large rodents they hunt. They walk a lot to get their food daily, the average being about 17,000 steps, in contrast to the Western prescription of 10,000 steps. They live together in large communes without the ‘I’ (illness concept) and, instead, live as ‘we’ (wellness concept). They do not have banks and money in circulation. They share what they get, with due consideration for everyone in the commune. In short, they have no negative thoughts of greed, pride, jealousy and one-upmanship; instead, they live as one large family.
As usual, in our reductionist cross-sectional research, we seem to miss the wood for the trees. See how the conventional pundits reacted to the findings. Tim Chico, consultant cardiologist and reader in cardiovascular medicine at the University of Sheffield, told The Independent that we shouldn’t “romanticise the Tsaimane existence,” adding that “two thirds of them suffer intestinal worms and they have a very hard life, without fresh water, sewerage or electricity.” We think it is a hard life; but the Tsaimane are very happy, indeed. Intestinal worms are supposed to increase immune strength. Another comment is still more romantic: “Surely, somewhere in the middle is the place to be. It’s up to each of us to find that healthy balance.” As I said above, we have missed the wood for the trees. The woods are beautiful, dark and deep and we shall miss the wood in this study.
Our evolution, and even our diseases, is environmental; they are not genetic or due to minor things like what we eat, how we eat it, where we live, our abdominal girth, weight, blood pressure, sugar, cholesterol and what have you. The so-called risk factors in our venerated risk factor hypothesis, in reality, do not have much effect on our illness or wellness. Non-availability of fresh water, sewerage and electricity are not risk factors either. These are all important in the 18th-century science of the Newtonian worldview which is reductionist. As the common saying goes, ‘it is not what you eat that kills as long as you do not overeat; it is what eats you that kills you’ i.e., your negative thoughts.
In the 21st-century quantum worldview, matter is made out of energy. In that context, the human body is just the holographic projection of our mind, the consciousness. Our mind is the canvas on which our thoughts are projected. Mind is not inside the brain. The real environment of our body is our mind. Therefore, it is the mind that determines why one is healthy at a given time or is ill at some other time. While food, exercise and water, etc, are important for good health, the kingpin in the game of our health and disease is our mind. If the Tsaimane tribe is healthier than us and has no heart disease, it is basically because the environment of their body (their mind) is happy, contented, and has no negative feelings. That hidden truth was missed by the researchers as they went in search of inconsequential details about their living.
An old study (published in 1987) of the Innu community, living in the islands off the coast of a Labrador town in Canada, titled “The Failure of Scientific Medicine: Davis Inlet as an Example of Socio-political Morbidity”, graphically showed how the Innus, an aboriginal race that lived with no knowledge of the so-called civilisation and the monetary economy of mainland Canada, lived an egalitarian hunter-gatherer existence without sewerage, electricity and clean water, but with profound happiness, caring and sharing what they hunted and gained. They lived happily like a large single family. Their records on stone and leaves showed that their only causes of death were old age and predation.
They were not heir to any illness that the civilised world suffered from, up until 1732 when, for the first time, a barter company from mainland Canada, The Hudson’s Bay Company, set up a shop in Innu land, starting the barter economy, which soon led to the monetary economy. And, in course of time, Innus became citizens of mainland Canada. Now, Innus are heir to every disease that Caucasian Canadians are heir to—from the common cold to cancer 10 years earlier compared to Caucasian—Canadians. What changed for the Innus was the introduction of the monetary economy with all its attendant ills. William Wordsworth was right in 1802 when he wrote:
The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
The essence of the wisdom in these two studies, somewhat similar in character, is the same. When you sell your soul to the Devil, you get heart attacks more frequently.
The Tsaimanes and Innus had their hearts with them and they had not sold their hearts to the Devil of the monetary economy. It is not what they ate or what they did that mattered as much as what ate them (their negative thoughts resulting from monetary greed). Our Western medical science can only answer ‘how’ one gets a disease. Our positive sciences cannot answer the question why one gets a disease, at a given time. So spake Nobel Laureate Charles Sherrington, in 1895, at the age of 38, in his acceptance speech after he was appointed professor of physiology at Liverpool University.
Let us not get lost in the Newtonian worldview of the 18th century. The quantum worldview allows us to comprehend much more than what we can grasp with our five senses. It helps us understand that the real environment of disease is the human mind. If we can mind our mind, we can mend most diseases without outside intervention. Healing, finally, is due to our own in-built immune system. Long live mankind on this planet! Note that knowledge advances not by repeating known things (as was done by the researchers in this Bolivian study), but by refuting false dogmas. Reductionist science in human affairs must give place to holistic science.