Of Men and Microbe
Classic biology teaching had been that we are outnumbered on the cell for cell basis 10:1 by bacteria. Certainly bacteria, especially the microbiome of the gastrointestinal system, are an important component of the body needed for homeostatic maintenance of health and prevention of disease. However a recent article published in the journal Cell (Sender et al. 2016) presented the finding that the ratio is much closer to 1:1. In the words of the authors:
“The B/H (bacterial to human) ratio is actually close enough to one, so that each defecation event…may flip the ratio to favor human cells over bacteria.”
Interesting in it’s own right, this also demonstrates the importance of revisting “old”, accepted principles as new technology and techniques come about. The beauty of science is a progression and building of knowledge in which even old ideas and concepts can be challenged for a better understanding of truth.
Sender, R., Fuchs, S. and Milo, R. Are We Really Vastly Outnumbered? Revisiting the Ratio of Bacterial to Host Cells in Humans. Cell 164, 337-340.
“Every sentence I utter must be understood not as an affirmation, but as a question.”
The pursuit of the correct questions is the meaning of life. One which we cannot seemingly perfect and can barely even optimize in our limited time on this planet. Whether laboratory science, religious experience, personal emotions, and logical contemplation are all methods by which we try to ask, and answer, the questions of life.
This is the grand adventure in which we find ourselves. A place to ask question, ponder truth, and share in every moment.
This is the purpose of this blog. A space to think . To write. To ponder. To adventure together. To share life with.
It’s 2am. Looking out at the skyscape of Toronto from the top floor of a high rise. Lights fill the sky even at this late or early hour. There’s a healthy bustle of cars and pedestrians navigating the streets below. Looking at the mass of lights, the emanating energy, the towering monuments to human ingenuity it is difficult not to feel impressed, even untouchable. In this isolate glass box at the top of the world it is easy to imagine the scene below is one of peaceful utopia, with everyone living out the American, or in this case Canadian, dream. But as soon as you put feet on the ground, rub shoulders with the passers by, it becomes impossible to miss the angst, the anxiety, and the fear lacing every conversation and every hurried step. Fear that we won’t accomplish enough to earn a sense of value; Fear that we, the real we, will be rejected by those who mean the most to us. Fear that just around the next bend of life our health, our job, our finances, or our relationships will crumble. “Insurance” is a farce in that only a minute amount of what we value can be replaced through monetary exchange. True insurance, or rather assurance, can be found only in love.
Love says we are in this together, dependent on one another. Love says I give of myself for you, choosing you above all else. Love says I acknowledge you, your flaws and fears, and welcome them. Love invites full revelation and exploration. Love, true love says I believe in who you are and who you will become; I accept who you are and who you will become. Love says I am willing to be hurt with you and to be hurt by you. I am willing to struggle with you, I am willing to fight with you and fight for you. Love says laughs, celebrates, and enjoys. Love says I don’t want anything else if I can’t have you first.
Rightly, money, fame, and success may provide opportunities to show affection and love to others but can never be permitted to become the object of love themselves. Everyday life is dominated by demagogues, catering to the accepted, the popular, the tide of public opinion for the purpose of gaining money, fame, and success. Love rejects this notion, choosing a person to stick with, to stick by, to celebrate with, and to support. Love is both a means to an end and the end in and of itself.