Life’s constant changeability sometimes presents us with rather unusual questions. For example, is it not strange that, in some parts of the world infectious diseases are declining whereas the death toll from metabolic disorders and other ailments associated with living in an industrialised society is showing a sharp increase? Could this, perhaps, be attributed to our having acquired increased resistance to certain infections? On the other hand, what is it exactly that makes us so vulnerable to metabolic and other disorders? While all this is somewhat puzzling, if we carefully review what experience and observation have taught us, we will find the explanation.

During the time I spent in the Amazon area, an outbreak of measles took the lives of thousands of Indians living there. Yet in Europe and North America, for instance, it is practically unheard of for a child or an adult to die as a result of this disease. Why should that be so? The virus is just as toxic and virulent as ever, but nature is always a step ahead of human wisdom. The layperson as well as the physician should become familiar with the body’s inherent defence mechanisms and their capacity to face up to and adapt to new situations, and learn to respect them. Thanks to the wonderful generosity and benevolence of our Creator, these automatic mechanisms or ‘laws of nature’, given time, are able to produce an effective counterforce to any violent attack by invading organisms and substances. In the beginning a virus causes widespread disaster among people and takes numerous lives, but the very next generation is born with a degree of immunity and after a few more generations the illness has only negligible consequences. The history of tuberculosis provides a good example of this. Only sixty years ago tuberculosis was a major cause of death everywhere. Diphtheria and other infectious diseases, likewise, are no longer the scourge they once were.

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