The Cellular Savanna

Cellular natural selection works like natural selection on the savanna, but smaller. Harsh habitats weed out weak animals and weak cells; this has implications for cancer and health.

Imagine a savanna with herds of slow-moving antelope, lots of fresh water, and benevolent temperatures. Lions would abound. Weak lions, fat lions, mentally-deficient lions, and three-legged lions would all thrive. A portion of the lion population would remain fit and strong, but most would begin to drift in aberrant directions.

Now, let’s shrink to the cellular level; a cellular savanna if you will. Our cellular savanna has stacks of food, unlimited sugar water, and favorable temperatures. With this much largesse, natural selection wouldn’t be very selective. Weak cells, fat cells, DNA-damaged cells, and mutant cells would all thrive. A portion of the cell population would remain fit and strong, but many cells would begin to drift in aberrant directions.

“No cell left behind” conditions encourage weak, aberrant cells. What’s changed: for the first time in human history, major populations have as much food, water and shelter as they want. Thus, every kind of cell gets to reproduce; hence people in industrialized nations average four inches taller than 150 years ago.

But this “perfect” savanna is taking cells away from perfection. Unlimited food and comfort have produced a golden age for cancer, autoimmune dysfunction, and heart disease. If you’re a cell in a developed nation, you needn’t be fit because the getting is so good. No more working to eat…another round of glucose for all!

A key relationship: cells with mutant DNA die out when asked to work hard. For a cell, competing for a limited supply of natural whole foods is life-or-death. A cell with healthy DNA generally survives. On the other hand, even small DNA errors in a cell can cause sufficient poor-functioning to keep it from getting scarce food, or processing a natural food; thus cancerous cells die. But in an environment of unlimited easy-to-exploit sugar (think soda), every cell has a chance at easy, on-demand food; this feel-good bonanza leads to a health collapse. Really, it’s a well-known story: trusting all strangers leads to bad company leads to fresh harms; unlimited credit leads to bad loans leads to market busts; etc.

The new evolutionary path of least resistance in handling disease is pharma. It’s easier to compete for drugs than it is to control our eating habits and exercise. Food is everywhere; it’s self-control we lack. And that’s where healthcare steps in. For instance, for our bodies to continue functioning with unlimited food supply, some people must compete for access to manufactured insulin, which will do the work for sickly, over-indulged pancreatic cells. The mainstream path is thus to remain sick, healthy, and overly-fed at the same time.

In the new model, the limited resource is healthcare. Limited access to radiological scans, pharmaceutical chemicals, and surgeries replaces limited access to food, water, and shelter. In previous eras, five-star living conditions were never around long. Today, at a cellular level, they’re always around, but with a notable absence of healthcare.

There are numerous takeaways here.

One takeaway: the human population is so materially successful that it’s moved into complex and unexpected realms of natural selection. People who can afford chemicals allowing indulgence even with diabetes, autoimmune disorders, and cancer may be the winners. The competition is for chemicals to run our organs in perpetual excess, which by natural law, should break them down.

Another takeaway: the state only recognizes easiest-path medicine, which is pharma, surgical quick-fix, et al. Any medicinal path centered around organic diet, self-restriction, exercise, sunlight, yoga, et al is considered impossible to prove by science; fraudulent; punishable. This stance is political endorsement of the underlying shift in natural selection away from the historic scarcity model to the modern over-abundance model.

A final takeaway: any individual within the population who chooses austerity may achieve sublime results. Eating less, and eating the right foods, are effective chemotherapy. But modern medicine, an easiest-path construct, endlessly mistrusts austerity. In reality, the majority of radiological scans, chemicals, and surgeries are faux healthcare; however they allow an enfranchised set of the population, at the shared expense of the community, to keep sick cells moving around in a way that simulates health. Conversely, individuals with habits of austerity—those who eat organic food, limit food intake, exercise, and take sleep and sunshine—are rara avises who generate cellular-level natural selection, yielding elimination of sick cells and preservation of benelles.

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