Apart from a recently discovered very strange creature that makes its home in sediments, at the bottom of the oceans, every living creature in our World has a need to breathe.
And it’s both our first and last breaths that we will find the most taxing, when we either emerge (as humans) from our mother‘s womb: or from an egg, or from any of the wondrous ways by which we are born because it‘s
the shallowness, and irregularity of them, from the sudden changes in our lungs and the taking in of oxygen; their having to accept the circulation of our own blood: and our bodies realising that we are in and alive (or out, and about to leave) the World.
As far back as the times of Aristotle, Air was considered to be the most important element for our survival: so how has it got to this, where millions of Us are breathing in its pollution, caused by the business interests of the Few; and stuck?
I read somewhere that Statistics are the last refuge of the emotionally insecure, but they have their uses like: how many breaths does the average human being take?
On average, it’s 16 every minute; 960 every hour; 23,000 daily and (if we are lucky to live for 80 years) we’ll have inhaled 672,768,000- sharing them, with everyone else, on the planet.
If we’re lucky our lungs will stay relatively healthy, for our bodies have been well-designed to cope with quite a lot of contingencies; but, if we choose to damage them, by smoking, that will add to the damage caused by the lack of a corporate responsibility about air quality; and which needs to be addressed by All of Us.
Viruses are another matter, because of the sheer volume of their numbers, and varieties, there being millions of them, “with more structural diversity than plants, animals, archaea, or bacteria, although only 5000 types have been described in detail, even though the NCBI Virus genome data base has more than 75,000 sequences.” (this taken from Wikipedia sources) as is: “In January 2018, scientists reported that 800 million viruses, mainly of marine origin (ten million of which can be measured in a teaspoon of seawater) are deposited, daily, from the Earth’s atmosphere, onto every square meter of its surface, as a result of a global atmosphere stream of viruses, circulating above the weather system.”
I’ve had the time to think about a Lot more Things, in my time of ‘Self Isolation’- as all of Us should be doing: and my Thought s have turned to Viruses; and why they exist in such incredibly large numbers. Still, I sometimes think that, about Humans.
But, it was Viruses which came first, long before humans, being encoded (for their own mysterious reasons) and which we, probably, have had to contend with, long before historical records began.
And it’s fascinating to read that many Researchers are tending to regard the ones that have identified, as having very different personalities; or, should that be viralalities?
Why not, when they’ve been described as being “bags of genetic material; left over bits of DNA?”
And, now being recognised as being a part of both human and animal neurons: and a significant development in the understanding of the Brain’s Thought Processes?
Two independent teams from American Universities have discovered a gene that’s crucial for learning (they’ve christened it ‘Arc) is capable of sending genetic material to another, in ways commonly devised by Viruses.
There’s much to be learned in its role in the Brains; ability to store new information;, but I’m sure they’ll get there.
I know nothing of the ethical standards which individual Viruses might possess; but I do know that there are rather too many human beings who don’t have any at all, when it comes to their own interests.
Did Darwin ever consider their ways, in matters of Evolution, I wondered-now that I‘ve got more time to think about Things?
It seems not; for it was forty years, after his death, that they entered into our awareness, as being as much an evolutionary force, we are.
Something to note, when most will involve them challenging our respiratory systems: and every breath we take.
And the rather scary thought that they might be watching Us!
Just like that song.
And, just one example, adding to the misery of those who live in places like Kabul, currently rated as having the World’s worst air pollution, leading to well over 26,000 fatalities each year, largely down to the very old vehicles and the very cheap fuel that powers them; and certainly not helped by the numbers of bombs dropped over Afghanistan, during their frequent times of War.
As to Countries; it’s China, America, India, Russia and Japan who are the top worst-rated ones, which is giving Viruses quite a challenge, if you ask me.
And, when I’d pondered over that is when I began to think about just when it was that humans started to pollute Planet Earth.
My information came from the World Economic Forum (an organisation that the average reader won’t be drawn to) and their research into what happened after the Spanish defeated the Incas, in 1532, and began the colonisation of South America.
Who’d have thought it that the Smelting of Silver would have precipitated the lead found in low quality ore, by grinding it into the powder that became airborne (long before Henry Ford invented the first car) initiating other noxious emissions that contribute to Asthma, and to a lack of quality, in what keeps us alive.
What is rarely considered (and it should be) is how weapons of War are, increasingly creating havoc in what surrounds us. The invasion of those Spanish Conquistadors led to the disappearance of around 15 million Incas; and they a largely peaceful nation (give or take the odd human sacrifice to appease their gods) as well as the first record of poisoning our atmosphere but (even so) Bows and Arrows. Swords and Lances being deadly enough, never coming close to what has been conjured up, by mankind, in the ways of killing each other with bullets and bombs (even in their most simple form) embedding themselves, in the air mass, even before chemical and nuclear pollution.
And, for what, if not for the indiscriminate destruction of very one of the species that dwell on this remarkable planet?
Something that Viruses can do very well.
So, what a sweet revenge it would be for Gaia, to get the job done, more quickly, by conjuring them up, every so often: anything to get us thinking about how precious Life is!
Which brings me to China, in Circa 3000 BC when, with no mercy for any age or gender, a vast area was wiped out by plague, never to be inhabited again: even though it is of interest to Archaeologists.
The thing is (something to think about, for those of us who do this, in self-isolation) if all of Us were to suffer a similar Fate, who would there be left, to explore the reasons why?
Human Beings have a tendency to think We are at the Top of The Evolutionary Chain: well, maybe, it’s not a matter of Entitlement, but something we have to earn?
Just a Thought!
And, here’s another: the word ’Arc ’ carries more than a hint of a new direction. Strange that Covid 91 might well be a harbinger: that (although it’s taking many from the World) it’s not an Ending; just a part of our journey, to more understanding about how we all tick?