THEOSOPHY, Vol. 16, No. 1, November, 1927
(Pages 11-16; Size: 22K)

"IMMUNOLOGY" AND THE "LIVES"

Science, dimly perceiving the truth, may find Bacteria and other infinitesimals in the human body, and see in them but occasional and abnormal visitors to which diseases are attributed. Occultism -- which discerns a life in every atom and molecule ... affirms that our whole body is built of such lives, the smallest bacteria under the microscope being to them in comparative size like an elephant to the tiniest infusoria. (Secret Doctrine, 1888, I, 225).

It [the body] is like mother earth in that it is made up of a number of infinitesimal "lives." Each of these lives is a sensitive point. Not only are there microbes, bacilli, and bacteria, but these are composed of others, and those others of still more minute lives. These lives are not the cells of the body, but make up the cells, keeping ever within the limits assigned by evolution to the cell.... They are divided into two classes, one the destroyers, the other the preservers, and these two war upon each other from birth until the destroyers win. (Ocean of Theosophy, 1893, p. 35).

Such experimenters as Pasteur are the best friends and helpers of the Destroyers and the worst enemies of the Creators -- if the latter were not at the same time destroyers too. (S.D., I, 262-3).

THE postulates upon which "immunology" is based are simple: contagious diseases are caused by the invasion of bacteria of various kinds -- one kind to each disease -- which are very minute organisms, sometimes animal, sometimes vegetable. Once admitted into the tissues, disease is certain unless the natural defenses of the body, the "anti-toxins" or the "anti-bodies" generated by it against such emergencies, are too strong for the invaders. It is generally believed that in most contagious diseases, especially such as smallpox, diphtheria, etc., these protectors are inadequate, and artificial methods have to be employed. Some vaccinations as practised consist of introducing into the blood stream, cultures or viruses of the diseases themselves, which without being strong enough to produce a dangerous infection, stimulate defensive reactions. The analogy is that of a country rendered safe against a major invasion through being forced to maintain a standing army to deal with guerilla warfare. Serums are manufactured by inoculating animals with the germs of the disease in question, later drawing blood from the living animal, from which the serum is extracted, containing presumably anti-toxins and possibly weakened germs of the original disease.

The theory has a tremendous initial appeal. It is largely true to begin with, in spite of occasional disastrous failures. Its elements are very simple and lend themselves to logic of the kind understood by the masses of the people, and neither its study nor application require any great powers of imagination or of analytical thought. At the present time it enjoys the position of being unquestioned by medical authority in the mass. Being sacrosanct, the anomalies in statistics dealing with it are discounted.

The possibilities resident in sero-therapy, as applying to the aftermath of years and the whole range of physiological processes in the body, is questioned hardly at all, either by doctors or laity. Yet to the Theosophical student, conversant with the extracts heading this article, these possibilities loom sinister enough, concealing behind them an indefinite series of disasters. It is evident at once that if the Theosophical view be true, there is no way whatever to determine the whole contents of a serum injection, bacteriologically speaking, nor the possible complications arising from the mixing of these numerous forms of unknown life, with the different and equally unknown types naturally resident within the body. The question thus hangs largely upon whether such ultra-microscopic entities do exist.

Now, as a matter of fact, within the last two or three years, their existence has ceased to be a matter of any doubt. They have appeared in physiological science as bacteriophages and filterable viruses.(1) Filterable viruses, in fact, are admitted to be the cause of smallpox, infantile paralysis, and sleeping sickness, among others. Dr. J. M. Rosenau, of Harvard, states that infantile paralysis is still a mystery, and that more research is necessary before any step in its control can be taken,(2) and Dr. Hubert Bunyea, pathologist of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, says that ultra-microscopic forms of life are responsible for many diseases of animals.(3)

Theosophy, regarding the Universe as embodied consciousness, states that every entity existing represents a form or grade of universal consciousness, and that all matter has its psychic side as well as its physical. The body is the vehicle of an immortal ego, who uses it as a means of contact with the plane of matter; his perception of the latter, and the functioning of his mind and senses in connection therewith being limited or conditioned by the stage of evolution which the lives composing his vehicle have reached. This naturally concerns morals and intelligence, as well as physiology. Science itself, for some years past, has been demonstrating the great extent to which thought, will, and feeling act upon the bodily secretions and are conditioned by them in turn. The importance of the role of secretions increases daily. More and more functions, which were originally thought to be of central and nervous origin, are now being ascribed to their action, as for instance, Dr. Ludwig Haberlandt, of the University of Innsbruck, has discovered that the heart is kept beating by a hormone secreted within its tissues.(4)

It is a fact that blood transfusion will sometimes create strange changes of personality in the receiver. Sleeping sickness very frequently results in a change of morals for the worse,(5) and the origin and nature of the virus which causes it are still as unknown as when the disease was first observed a few years ago.

Our contention is that all this is a warning of the possible results of the forcible injection of foreign matter into the system. The body is constructed and held together by virtue of the affiliations of its central entity with the biological forms of matter in all their various stages. It has its own barriers against harmful substances taken in through the mouth; in fact, the self-protective power of the intestines is a standing medical wonder. There is also natural resistance to infection through wounds, because all the powers of the blood rush to defend such a breach. But there is no protection against material injected into the blood stream; on the contrary, such matter reaches all parts of the body almost at once. What are the natures and possibilities of these enigmatic and frequently unknown substances, inseparable from all organic matter? Is there evidence that they can and do affect mind and body far beyond the purpose for which their introduction was intended?

Science is now rapidly diverging from the old view that germs are specific, definite, and unchangeable in their nature and effects. Dr. Richard P. Strong says that originally harmless saprophytes become dangerous through evolution, and under certain conditions. Moreover some of them have the same shape as harmful species. Most significant of all, he says that some harmless bacteria in low organisms become disease producing when they pass up to man and higher animals.(6)

One authority mentions that "some diseases seem to originate spontaneously, like encephalitis, or sleeping sickness, which is less than eight years old." It is also admitted that new germs appear, and previously harmless saprophytes are transformed into dangerous germs: admitted likewise that sleeping sickness seems only in its infancy in its capacity for harm.(7)

Experiments at the University of Chicago have developed methods of changing the virulence of pneumonia germs, increasing it or decreasing it at will.(8)

Dr. Philip Hadley, of the University of Michigan, finds that in one and the same culture, organisms of vastly different potentialities for disease production may exist. This, it is said, is in sharp contradiction to the view held up to date that a specific kind must be alike in all its characteristics.(9) Disease germs resemble human beings in variable vitality and are subject to "diseases" that may kill them. "Sick" bacteria show less energy, while "healthy" ones carry on with vigor.(10)

Rocky Mountain spotted fever is caused by a virus carried by ticks. The virus is dormant and harmless while the tick hibernates, then takes on a highly fatal state when the tick wakes to activity -- a fact of immense significance to Theosophists who sense the Karmic relations and correlations of the various classes of "lives." This virus can be used as a vaccine when selected at the proper state. What sort of transformation may it not undergo after implantation in the human system?(11)

Dr. Aldo Castellani advances the theory that many diseases are caused by a state of symbiosis, some diseases requiring the action of two germs.(12)

Going beyond all others in this respect is the article by Dr. Chas. E. Simon, in the Scientific Monthly, for November, 1926. Transplanted viruses, he says, produce outbreaks indirectly, and after a long time, and it is still undecided whether the animate active agent of some cancerous growths is a filterable virus. Dr. Simon indicates the possibility that this disease arises from the combination of unknown viruses, with unusual conditions of the tissues. We quote him as follows:

"The sequence then would be development of more or less specifically diseased cells in the host, the invasion of these by an ordinarily innocuous, more or less omnipresent animate virus, and the consequent transformation of such diseased cells into cancer cells. Whether or not this is the process or one of the processes by which cancers originate is now under consideration. Many facts could be adduced in support of such a hypothesis.

"The question, of course, arises whether we have any evidence that viruses actually exist which may be present in the body without causing disease at one time, while at other times they produce harmful effects. Our knowledge along these lines, it must be admitted, is as yet very meager, but we do know at least of one virus which manifests such a behavior."

This is in regard to a disease which has become prevalent only in a period practically co-existing with the vogue of inoculation treatments, and the deaths from which have increased 47 per cent for males and 21 per cent for females in the past fifteen years.(13) Yet medical men have not taken a single step to verify or disprove the connection statistically: nor are cancer, sleeping sickness and infantile paralysis the only diseases whose causes are revealed as standing on dark and dubious ground by these latest findings.

The famous discovery of insulin was heralded the length and breadth of the land as closing forever the mouths of those "hysterical sentimentalists" who claimed that lasting benefits could not be derived from animal experimentation. Dr. Casimir Funk, of Warsaw, now finds that insulin itself can be split into two substances, one of which, it is said, represents a new hormone of complicated, and not easily understood action. In fact, when injected into rabbits, it produces intensive diabetes, the disease for whose cure insulin as a whole substance, is injected.(14) This links precisely with the discoveries of Dr. D. H. Bergey, of the University of Pennsylvania, who finds that diabetes, not heretofore considered to be a contagious or germ disease, appears to be caused by a filtering virus, or ultra-microscopic germ.(15) But of what origin? Diabetes also, like cancer, infantile paralysis, and sleeping sickness, has become a real menace only since the era of inoculations.

Insulin as a complete substance, does not cause diabetes, but when properly used, that is to say, with great care and difficulty, keeps it in check. That does not dispose of the final transformation and disposition of its component substances -- nor of how many of them there may be. Nor is it determined what becomes of the sugar which insulin causes to disappear from the blood, and which is changed into some substance not to be detected by chemical means.(16) What is the aftermath of that material? What strange breeds is medical science engendering in the blood of the race?

Dr. Wood, of Crocker Laboratory, correctly remarking that no medicinal cure has been found for cancer, and that there is little hope of any in the near future, incorrectly states that if the race is ever to be spared the scourge of cancer, it will be through the knowledge gained by animal experimentation. It has been discovered that chicken cancer appears to be a mass of white blood cells which have deserted their normal function of repulsing germs and poisons.(17) We submit the decided possibility that they have not deserted their function, but instead, have collected in an artificial center of infection, which can be just as well caused by any one of these mysterious viruses; and that they form the symptom, and not the disease, the latter being produced by biological misapprehension.

We further state the Theosophical case as follows: that no disease can be acquired unless the moral susceptibility thereto exists, conscious if originating in this incarnation, sub-conscious if originating from former embodiments. To which we append the famous case of the German scientist who calmly drank a bottle of cholera germs to prove his contention that the role of germs in disease production was exaggerated. It will be recollected that the gentleman issued from this "trial by ordeal" unscathed. To say nothing of similar cases!

A transgression of moral law is necessarily a transgression of physiological law as well, and victories over the ills of mankind which accrue by the adoption of the doctrine that "might is right," upon which vivisection is based, are illusionary, dragging behind them a sequence of miseries as yet undetermined, and as yet unrecognized by medical science. Such non-recognition is inevitable, since the only disastrous consequences of an inoculation which a doctor would recognize, would be the immediate death or serious illness of the patient; and in either case, as all too frequently happens, the diagnosis places the responsibility on some other convenient cause. This procedure, in face of the facts which are thus daily mounting, and the continued intolerant and determined refusal of medical men to recognize their implication, shows the truth of what H. P. Blavatsky wrote in Isis Unveiled, in 1877:

Theoretically the most benignant, at the same time no other school ot science exhibits so many instances of petty prejudice, materialism, atheism, and malicious stubbornness as medicine. The predilections and patronage of the leading physicians are scarcely ever measured by the usefulness of a discovery. Bleeding, by leeching, cupping, and the lancet, had its epidemic of popularity, but at last fell into merited disgrace; water, now freely given to fevered patients, was once denied them, warm baths were superseded by cold water, and for a while hydropathy was a mania. (Vol. I, 88).
The one improvement in medical practice, without which modern life would be scarcely endurable, was the application of anaesthesia by Dr. W. T. G. Morton. His savage persecution by medical men will remain, like the similar case of Dr. Harvey and his discovery of the circulation of the blood, a classic shame of the medical profession. Neither Morton nor Harvey made their discoveries through vivisection.(18)

Dr. Allen Craig, of Chicgo, saying that the United States and Canada are drifting towards a smallpox epidemic, due to lax enforcement of vaccination laws (an epidemic predicted yearly for the last septenary) calls "fanatics" those who oppose vaccination, and remarks that such opposition is "as bad as taking a gun and shooting children down on the street."(19)

In view of the above cited facts, the query is in order, "What is a fanatic, and where lies the real danger to human life, liberty and happiness?" Among those who merely call for an application of the scientific method itself, that is to say, an unprejudiced, calm consideration of facts and deductions? Or among those who, with violence of language, and often of physical act, constitute themselves unthinking soldiers of vested interests in science or in finance?


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NINETEEN (19) FOOTNOTES LISTED BELOW:

(1) Science, June 4, 1926, Dr. F. d'Herelle; Science Progress, July, 1923, R. M. Wilson, M. B.Ch.B.; Science, January 23, 1925, Dr. Lloyd Arnold; Current History, September, 1926, Dr. d'Herelle; Science, August 20, 1926, Ivan E. Wallin, University of Colorado.
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(2) Science News-Letter, October 23, 1926; Science, October 29, 1926.
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(3) Science, January 15, 1926.
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(4) Science, January 21, 1927.
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(5) Washington Post, March 31, 1926, Dr. W. A. Evans; San Francisco Examiner, June 6, 1926; Science, August 13, 1926.
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(6) Science, January 30, 1925.
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(7) San Francisco Examiner, January 25, 1925.
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(8) Science, April 30, 1926.
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(9) Science News-Letter, January 29, 1927.
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(10) Science, July 23, 1926.
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(11) Science, January 14, 1927.
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(12) Science, July 16, 1926.
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(13) Science News-Letter, November 27, 1926.
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(14) Science, January 14, 1927.
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(15) Science News-Letter, January 1, 1927.
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(16) Science, January 4, 1924.
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(17) Science, March 26, 1926.
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(18) Scientific Monthly, January, 1927.
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(19) Washington Star, January 19, 1927.
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