A Recasting of René Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy


A while back, I realized that I believed in many things that might not be true, and these false beliefs affected everything I thought afterward. I knew I had to question all my beliefs and start fresh, building my knowledge from the ground up, so I could be sure that my beliefs were true. But this seemed like a huge task, so I waited until I felt I was mature enough to tackle it.

Now that I have the time and the peace of mind, I’m ready to question everything I believe. I don’t need to prove that all my beliefs are false; I just need to find a reason to doubt each one of them. I don’t have to examine each belief one by one; I can just question the foundations of my beliefs, and if those foundations are shaky, then all the beliefs built on them are questionable too.

I realized that all the things I was most certain about came from my senses, but sometimes our senses deceive us, so I can’t completely trust them. But even when I’m dreaming, and my senses are creating a false reality, there must be some truth to the objects and concepts I perceive, like the ideas of shape, quantity, time, and existence.

So, even if all the things I perceive with my senses are illusions, there must be some real, basic elements forming those illusions, like real colors forming a painting. Because of this, I think that even if the physical world is doubtful, the studies of simple and general things, like math and geometry, have some certainty, because whether I’m awake or dreaming, two plus three always equals five, and a square always has four sides.

But then, I wonder, what if there’s a powerful being who created me and controls my thoughts, making me believe in a false reality? Or what if everything I know is just the result of fate or chance? Then, all the things I believe, no matter how simple and certain they seem, could be false. But I will try to remember these doubts and avoid accepting any belief without thorough examination.

To really challenge my beliefs, I will imagine that an evil, powerful, and deceptive being is creating illusions to deceive me. I will resist believing in the reality of my senses and try to avoid being deceived. But this is hard, and sometimes I would rather continue in my old beliefs and ignore these unsettling doubts.


These doubts have really disturbed me, and I don’t see how I can solve them. It’s like I’m in deep water, unable to touch the bottom or to swim to the surface. But I will keep trying, by rejecting anything that can be doubted until I find something certain.

This revision tries to retain the core philosophical ideas of Descartes while simplifying the language and structure to make it more accessible for younger readers. What follows is the original work.

[ORIGINAL]Meditation I: Of the things of which we may doubt

SEVERAL years have now elapsed since I first became aware that I had
accepted, even from my youth, many false opinions for true, and that consequently what I afterward based on such principles was highly doubtful; and from that time I was convinced of the necessity of undertaking once in my life to rid myself of all the opinions I had adopted, and of commencing anew the work of building from the foundation, if I desired to establish a firm and abiding superstructure in the sciences.

But as this enterprise appeared to me to be one of great magnitude, I waited until I had attained an age so mature as to leave me no hope that at any stage of life more advanced I should be better able to execute my design. On this account, I have delayed so long that I should henceforth consider I was doing wrong were I still to consume in deliberation any of the time that now remains for action. To-day, then, since I have opportunely freed my mind from all cares [and am happily disturbed by no passions], and since I am in the secure possession of leisure in a peaceable retirement, I will at length apply myself earnestly and freely to the general overthrow of all my former opinions.

But, to this end, it will not be necessary for me to show that the whole of these are false–a point, perhaps, which I shall never reach; but as even now my reason convinces me that I ought not the less carefully to withhold belief from what is not entirely certain and indubitable, than from what is manifestly false, it will be sufficient to justify the rejection of the whole if I shall find in each some ground for doubt. Nor for this purpose will it be necessary even to deal with each belief individually, which would be truly an endless labor; but, as the removal from below of the foundation necessarily involves the downfall of the whole edifice, I will at once approach the criticism of the principles on which all my former beliefs rested. All that I have, up to this moment, accepted as possessed of the highest truth and certainty, I received either from or through the senses. I observed, however, that these sometimes misled us; and it is the part of prudence not to place absolute confidence in that by which we have even once been deceived.

But it may be said, perhaps, that, although the senses occasionally mislead us respecting minute objects, and such as are so far removed from us as to be beyond the reach of close observation, there are yet many other of their information (presentations), of the truth of which it is manifestly impossible to doubt; as for example, that I am in this place, seated by the fire, clothed in a winter dressing gown, that I hold in my hands this piece of paper, with other intimations of the same nature. But how could I deny that I possess these hands and this body, and withal escape being classed with persons in a state of insanity, whose brains are so disordered and clouded by dark bilious vapors as to cause them pertinaciously to assert that they are monarchs when they are in the greatest poverty; or clothed [in gold] and purple when destitute of any covering; or that their head is made of clay, their body of glass, or that they are gourds? I should certainly be not less insane than they, were I to regulate my procedure according to examples so extravagant.

Though this be true, I must nevertheless here consider that I am a man, and that, consequently, I am in the habit of sleeping, and representing to myself in dreams those same things, or even sometimes others less probable, which the insane think are presented to them in their waking moments. How often have I dreamt that I was in these familiar circumstances, that I was dressed, and occupied this place by the fire, when I was lying undressed in bed? At the present moment, however, I certainly look upon this paper with eyes wide awake; the head which I now move is not asleep; I extend this hand consciously and with express purpose, and I perceive it; the occurrences in sleep are not so distinct as all this. But I cannot forget that, at other times I have been deceived in sleep by similar illusions; and, attentively considering those cases, I perceive so clearly that there exist no certain marks by which the state of waking can ever be distinguished from sleep, that I feel greatly astonished; and in amazement I almost persuade myself that I am now dreaming.

Let us suppose, then, that we are dreaming, and that all these particulars–namely, the opening of the eyes, the motion of the head, the forth- putting of the hands–are merely illusions; and even that we really possess neither an entire body nor hands such as we see. Nevertheless it must be admitted at least that the objects which appear to us in sleep are, as it were, painted representations which could not have been formed unless in the likeness of realities; and, therefore, that those general objects, at all events, namely, eyes, a head, hands, and an entire body, are not simply imaginary, but really existent. For, in truth, painters themselves, even when they study to represent sirens and satyrs by forms the most fantastic and extraordinary, cannot bestow upon them natures absolutely new, but can only make a certain medley of the members of different animals; or if they chance to imagine something so novel that nothing at all similar has ever been seen before, and such as is, therefore, purely fictitious and absolutely false, it is at least certain that the colors of which this is composed are real. And on the same principle, although these general objects, viz. [a body], eyes, a head, hands, and the like, be imaginary, we are nevertheless absolutely necessitated to admit the reality at least of some other objects still more simple and universal than these, of which, just as of certain real colors, all those images of things, whether true and real, or false and fantastic, that are found in our consciousness (cogitatio) are formed.

To this class of objects seem to belong corporeal nature in general and its extension; the figure of extended things, their quantity or magnitude, and their number, as also the place in, and the time during, which they exist, and other things of the same sort.

We will not, therefore, perhaps reason illegitimately if we conclude from this that physics, Astronomy, Medicine, and all the other sciences that have for their end the consideration of composite objects, are indeed of a doubtful character; but that Arithmetic, Geometry, and the other sciences of the same class, which regard merely the simplest and most general objects, and scarcely inquire whether or not these are really existent, contain somewhat that is certain and indubitable: for whether I am awake or dreaming, it remains true that two and three make five, and that a square has but four sides; nor does it seem possible that truths so apparent can ever fall under a suspicion of falsity [or incertitude].

Nevertheless, the belief that there is a God who is all powerful, and who created me, such as I am, has, for a long time, obtained steady possession of my mind. How, then, do I know that he has not arranged that there should be neither earth, nor sky, nor any extended thing, nor figure, nor magnitude, nor place, providing at the same time, however, for [the rise in me of the perceptions of all these objects, and] the persuasion that these do not exist otherwise than as I perceive them? And further, as I sometimes think that others are in error respecting matters of which they believe themselves to possess a perfect knowledge, how do I know that I am not also deceived each time I add together two and three, or number the sides of a square, or form some judgment still more simple, if more simple indeed can be imagined? But perhaps Deity has not been willing that I should be thus deceived, for he is said to be supremely good. If, however, it were repugnant to the goodness of Deity to have created me subject to constant deception, it would seem likewise to be contrary to his goodness to allow me to be occasionally deceived; and yet it is clear that this is permitted.

Some, indeed, might perhaps be found who would be disposed rather to deny the existence of a being so powerful than to believe that there is nothing certain. But let us for the present refrain from opposing this opinion, and grant that all which is here said of a Deity is fabulous: nevertheless, in whatever way it be supposed that I reach the state in which I exist, whether by fate, or chance, or by an endless series of antecedents and consequents, or by any other means, it is clear (since to be deceived and to err is a certain defect ) that the probability of my being so imperfect as to be the constant victim of deception, will be increased exactly in proportion as the power possessed by the cause, to which they assign my origin, is lessened. To these reasonings I have assuredly nothing to reply, but am constrained at last to avow that there is nothing of all that I formerly believed to be true of which it is impossible to doubt, and that not through thoughtlessness or levity, but from cogent and maturely considered reasons; so that henceforward, if I desire to discover anything certain, I ought not the less carefully to refrain from assenting to those same opinions than to what might be shown to be manifestly false.

But it is not sufficient to have made these observations; care must be taken
likewise to keep them in remembrance. For those old and customary opinions perpetually recur– long and familiar usage giving them the right of occupying my mind, even almost against my will, and subduing my belief; nor will I lose the habit of deferring to them and confiding in them so long as I shall consider them to be what in truth they are, viz., opinions to some extent doubtful, as I have already shown, but still highly probable, and such as it is much more reasonable to believe than deny. It is for this reason I am persuaded that I shall not be doing wrong, if, taking an opposite judgment of deliberate design, I become my own deceiver, by supposing, for a time, that all those opinions are entirely false and imaginary, until at length, having thus balanced my old by my new prejudices, my judgment shall no longer be turned aside by perverted usage from the path that may conduct to the perception of truth. For I am assured that, meanwhile, there will arise neither peril nor error from this course, and that I cannot for the present yield too much to distrust, since the end I now seek is not action but knowledge.

I will suppose, then, not that Deity, who is sovereignly good and the fountain of truth, but that some malignant demon, who is at once exceedingly potent and deceitful, has employed all his artifice to deceive me; t will suppose that the sky, the air, the earth, colors, figures, sounds, and all external things, are nothing better than the illusions of dreams, by means of which this being has laid snares for my credulity; I will consider myself as without hands, eyes, flesh, blood, or any of the senses, and as falsely believing that I am possessed of these; I will continue resolutely fixed in this belief, and if indeed by this means it be not in my power to arrive at the knowledge of truth, I shall at least do what is in my power, viz., [ suspend my judgment ], and guard with settled purpose against giving my assent to what is false, and being imposed upon by this deceiver, whatever be his power and artifice. But this undertaking is arduous, and a certain indolence insensibly leads me back to my ordinary course of life; and just as the captive, who, perchance, was enjoying in his dreams an imaginary liberty, when he begins to suspect that it is but a vision, dreads awakening, and conspires with the agreeable illusions that the deception may be prolonged; so I, of my own accord, fall back into the train of my former beliefs, and fear to arouse myself from my slumber, lest the time of laborious wakefulness that would succeed this quiet rest, in place of bringing any light of day, should prove inadequate to dispel the darkness that will arise from the difficulties that have now been raised.

MEDITATION II – Of the nature of the human mind; and that it is more easily known than the body

The Meditation of yesterday has filled my mind with so many doubts, that it is no longer in my power to forget them. Nor do I see, meanwhile, any principle on which they can be resolved; and, just as if I had fallen all of a sudden into very deep water, I am so greatly disconcerted as to be unable either to plant my feet firmly on the bottom or sustain myself by swimming on the surface. I will, nevertheless, make an effort, and try anew the same path on which I had entered yesterday, that is, proceed by casting aside all that admits of the slightest doubt, not less than if I had discovered it to be absolutely false; and I will continue always in this track until I shall find something that is certain, or at least, if I can do nothing more, until I shall know with certainty that there is nothing certain. Archimedes, that he might transport the entire globe from the place it occupied to another, demanded only a point that was firm and immovable; so, also, I shall be entitled to entertain the highest expectations, if I am fortunate enough to discover only one thing that is certain and indubitable. I suppose, accordingly, that all the things which I see are false (fictitious); I believe that none of those objects which my fallacious memory represents ever existed; I suppose that I possess no senses; I believe that body, figure, extension, motion, and place are merely fictions of my mind. What is there, then, that can be esteemed true ? Perhaps this only, that there is absolutely nothing certain.

But how do I know that there is not something different altogether from the objects I have now enumerated, of which it is impossible to entertain the slightest doubt? Is there not a God, or some being, by whatever name I may designate him, who causes these thoughts to arise in my mind ? But why suppose such a being, for it may be I myself am capable of producing them? Am I, then, at least not something?

But I before denied that I possessed senses or a body; I hesitate, however, for what follows from that? Am I so dependent on the body and the senses that without these I cannot exist? But I had the persuasion that there was absolutely nothing in the world, that there was no sky and no earth, neither minds nor bodies; was I not, therefore, at the same time, persuaded that I did not exist? Far from it; I assuredly existed, since I was persuaded. But there is I know not what being, who is possessed at once of the highest power and the deepest cunning, who is constantly employing all his ingenuity in deceiving me. Doubtless, then, I exist, since I am deceived; and, let him deceive me as he may, he can never bring it about that I am nothing, so long as I shall be conscious that I am something. So that it must, in fine, be maintained, all things being maturely and carefully considered, that this proposition (pronunciatum ) I am, I exist, is necessarily true each time it is expressed by me, or conceived in my mind.

A Good Read: John (Fire) Lame Deer Seeing Through Symbols

Life to us is a symbol to be lived.– John Fire Lame Deer

Historical Background:

John (Fire) Lame Deer – Tahca Ushte in Lakota – (1900 or 1903 – 1976) was a Minneconjou-Lakota Sioux, born on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota, although there is some uncertainty surrounding the exact date of his birth. Lame Deer was a wićaśa wakan or “medicine man.” He was a healer, a spiritual guide, and preserver of the ancient ways of the Lakota people of the American Plains.

Lame Deer’s life was transformed by a vision quest he took at sixteen years old. Alone on a hilltop for four days and nights without food or water, he beheld a vision of his great-grandfather, the original Lame Deer, old man chief of the Minneconjou, dripping with blood from where a white soldier had shot him in the chest. From this vision he knew that his great-grandfather wanted him to take his name, and that he would become a medicine man. After a rather raucous period as a young man, when he worked the rodeo circuit as a clown and became a heavy drinker, gambler, and womanizer, Lame Deer had another somewhat mystical encounter that put him back on track with his destiny. He came upon the house where the original peace pipe, given to the Lakota people by the mystical Buffalo Calf Woman, was kept. The keeper of the pipe told Lame Deer that she had been waiting for him for quite some time. This encounter led him to take his life seriously and become a true wićaśa wakan and to become a leader in the American Indian movement.

The selections below come from Lame Deer’s autobiography, Lame Deer Seeker of Visions: The Life of a Sioux Medicine Man, written with Richard Erdoes. In this reflective account of his life and the harsh circumstances confronting American Natives, Lame Deer beautifully expresses the values and perspective of the Sioux and provides a penetrating critique of modernity.

In Lame Deer’s Words:

Medicine, Good and Bad

I am a medicine man – a wićaśa wakan. “Medicine man” – that’s a white man’s word like squaw, papoose, Sioux, tomahawk – words that don’t exist in the Indian language. I wish there were better words to make clear what “medicine man” stands for, but I can’t find any, and you can’t either, so I guess medicine man will have to do. But it doesn’t convey the many different meanings that come to an Indian’s mind when you say “medicine man”…

The wićaśa wakan wants to be by himself. He want to be away from the crowd, from everyday matters. He likes to meditate, leaning against a tree or rock, feeling the earth move beneath him, feeling the weight of that big flaming sky upon him. That way he can figure things out. Closing his eyes, he sees many things clearly. What you see with your eyes shut is what counts. The wićaśa wakan loves the silence, wrapping it around himself like a blanket – a loud silence with a voice like thunder which tells him of many things. Such a man likes to be in a place where there is no sound but the humming of insects. He sits facing the west, asking for help. He talks to the plants and they answer him. He listens to the voices of the wama kaśkan – all those who move upon the earth, the animals. He is as one with them. From all living beings something flows into him all the time, and something flows from him. I don’t know where or what, but it’s there. I know.

This kind of medicine man is neither good nor bad. He lives – and that’s it, that’s enough. White people pay a preacher to be “good,” to behave himself in public, to wear a collar, to keep away from certain kinds of women. But nobody pays an Indian medicine man to be good, to behave himself and act respectable. The wićaśa wakan just acts like himself. He has been given the freedom – the freedom of a tree or bird. That freedom can be beautiful or ugly; it doesn’t matter much.

Medicine men – the herb healers as well as our holy men – all have their own personal ways of acting according to their visions. The Great Spirit wants people to be different. He makes a person love a particular animal, tree, or herb. He makes people feel drawn to certain favorite spots on this earth where they experience a special sense of well-being, saying to themselves, “That’s a spot which makes me happy, where I belong”…

Even animals of the same kind – two deer, two owls – will behave differently from each other… I have studied many plants. The leaves of one plant, on the same stem – none is exactly alike. On all the earth there is not one leaf that is exactly like another. The Great Spirit likes it that way. He only sketches out the path of life roughly for all the creatures on earth, shows them where to go, where to arrive at, but leaves them to find their own way to get there. He wants them to act independently according to their nature, to the urges in each of them.

If Wakan Tanka [The Great Spirit] likes the plants, the animals, even little mice and bugs, to do this, how much more will he abhor people being alike, doing the same thing, getting up at the same time, putting on the same store-bought clothes, riding the same subway, working in the same office at the same job with their eyes on the same clock and, worst of all, thinking alike all the time. All creatures exist for a purpose. Even an ant knows what that purpose is – not with its brain, but somehow it knows. Only human beings have come to a point where they no longer know why they exist. They don’t use their brains and they have forgotten the secret knowledge of their bodies, their senses, or their dreams. They don’t use the knowledge the spirit has put into every one of them; they are not even aware of this, and so they stumble along blindly on the road to nowhere – a paved highway which they themselves bulldoze and make smooth so that they can get faster to the big, empty whole which they’ll find at the end, waiting to swallow them up. It’s a quick, comfortable superhighway, but I know where it leads to. I have seen it. I’ve been there in my vision and it makes me shudder to think about…

The Green Frog Skin

The green frog skin – that’s what I call a dollar bill. In our attitude toward it lies the biggest difference between Indians and whites… The green frog skin – that was what the fight [The Battle of Little Bighorn] was all about. The gold of the Black Hills, the gold in every clump of grass. Each day you can see ranch hands riding over this land. They have a bagful of grain hanging from their saddle horns, and whenever they see a prairie-dog hole they toss a handful of oats in it, like a kind little old lady feeding the pigeons in one of your city parks. Only the oats for the prairie dogs are poisoned with strychnine. What happens to the prairie dog after he has eaten this grain is not a pleasant thing to watch. The prairie dogs are poisoned, because they eat grass. A thousand of them eat up as much grass in a year as a cow. So if the rancher can kill that many prairie dogs he can run one more head of cattle, make a little more money. When he looks at a prairie dog he only sees a green frog skin getting away from him.

For the white man each blade of grass or spring of water has a price tag on it. And that is the trouble, because look at what happens. The bobcats and coyotes which used to feed on prairie dogs now have to go after a stray lamb or a crippled calf. The rancher calls the pest-control officer to kill these animals. This man shoots some rabbits and puts them out as bait with a piece of wood stuck in them That stick has an explosive charge which shoots some cyanide into the mouth of the coyote who tugs at it. The officer has been trained to be careful. He puts a printed warning on each stick reading, “Danger, Explosive, Poison!” The trouble is that our dogs can’t read, and some of our children can’t either.

And the prairie becomes a thing without life – no more prairie dogs, no more badgers, foxes, coyotes. The big birds of prey used to feed on prairie dogs, too. So you hardly see an eagle these days. The bald eagle is your symbol. You see him on your money, but your money is killing him. When a people start killing off their own symbols they are in a bad way.

The Sioux have a name for white men. They call them wsicun – fat-takers. It is a good name, because you have taken the fat of the land. But it does not seem to have agreed with you. Right now you don’t look so healthy – overweight, yes, but not healthy. Americans are bred like stuffed geese – to be consumers, not human beings. The moment they stop consuming and buying, this frog-skin world has no more use for them. They have become frogs themselves… Fat-taking is a bad thing even for the taker. It is especially bad for Indians who are forced to live in this frog-skin world which they did not make and for which they have no use…

You put “In God We Trust” on your money. I’m glad you left the Great Spirit out of it. What you want to use your God for is your own business. I tried to show you that the green frog skin is something that keeps whites and Indians apart. But even a medicine man like myself has to have some money, because you force me to live in your make-believe world where I can’t get along without it. Which means that I have to be two persons living in two different worlds. I don’t like it, but I can’t help it…As long I still had some of the horses and cattle left which my father had given me, I had no thought about earning money… Then the day came when I swapped or sold the last of my livestock. I was almost happy. Now I no longer had any property to take care of, to tie me down. Now I could be what I wanted – a real Sioux, an ikce wicasa, a common, wild, natural human being. How such a creature could survive in a frog-skin land was something I would have to find out. I thought I’d do some hunting to keep meat on my table. I found out that I needed a hunting license if I wanted to go after deer or antelope. The idea of an Indian having to pay for a fancy piece of paper in order to be allowed to hunt on his own land to feed his own, genuine, red man’s belly seemed like a bad joke to me. It made me laugh, but it also made me angry. The same people who had killed off the buffalo, who were chopping up the last wild horses into dog food, now were telling me that I was a danger to wildlife preservation if I wanted some red meat on my table, that I had to be regulated. Why couldn’t I be satisfied with the starches they were handing out to us? They told me I should be flattered, that having to buy a license put me up there on the same level with the white gentleman hunter. I answered, through an interpreter, that I was no goddam sportsman, just a hungry, common, natural Indian who did not like fancy stamped papers and knew of only one way he could use them…

No matter how much I hated it I had to face up to the fact that I would have to earn some money. I was like many other full-bloods. I didn’t want a steady job in an office or factory. I thought myself too good for that, not because I was stuck up but simply because any human being is too good for that kind of no-life, even white people. I trained myself to need and want as little as could be so that I wouldn’t have to work except when I felt like it…

The Circle and the Square

What do you see here, my friend? Just an ordinary cooking pot, black with soot and full of dents.

  • is standing on the fire on top of that old wood stove, and the water bubbles and moves the lid as the white steam rises to the ceiling. Inside the pot is boiling water, chunks of meat with bone and fat, plenty of potatoes.
  • doesn’t seem to have a message, that old pot, and I guess you don’t give it a thought. Except the soup smells good and reminds you that you are hungry….But I’m an Indian. I think about ordinary, common things like this pot. The bubbling water comes from the rain cloud. It represents the sky. The fire comes from the sun which warms us all – men, animals, trees. The meat stands for the four-legged creatures, our animal brothers, who gave of themselves so that we should live. The steam is living breath. It was water; now it goes up to the sky, becomes a cloud again. These things are sacred. Looking at the pot full of good soup, I am thinking how, in this simple manner, Wakan Tanka takes care of me. We Sioux spend a lot of time thinking about everyday things, which in our mind are mixed up with the spiritual. We see in the world around us many symbols that teach us the meaning of life. We have a saying that the white man sees so little, he must see with only one eye. We see a lot that you no longer notice. You could notice if you wanted to, but you are usually too busy. We Indians live in a world of symbols and images where the spiritual and the commonplace are one. To you symbols are just words, spoken or written in a book. To us they are part of nature, part of ourselves – the earth, the sun, the wind and the rain, stones, trees, animals, and even little insects like ants and grasshoppers. We try to understand them not with the head but with the heart, and we need no more than a hint to give us meaning.

What to you seems commonplace to us appears wondrous through symbolism. This is funny, because we don’t even have a word for symbolism, yet we are all wrapped up in it. You have the word, but that is all…

You know, it always makes me laugh when I hear young white kids speak of some people as “squares” or “straights” – old people hardened in their ways, in their minds, in their hearts. They don’t even have to be old. You can be an “old square” at eighteen. Anyway, calling these people “squares” – an Indian could have thought it up. To our way of thinking the Indians’ symbol is the circle, the hoop. Nature wants things to be round. The bodies of human beings and animals have no corners. With us the circle stand for the togetherness of people who sit with one another around the campfire, relatives and friends united in peace while the pipe passes from hand to hand. The camp in which every tipi had its place was also a ring. The tipi was a ring in which people sat in a circle and all the families in the village were in turn circles within a larger circle, part of the larger hoop which was the seven campfires of the Sioux, representing one nation. The nation was only a part of the universe, in itself circular and made of the earth, which is round, of the sun, which is round, of the stars which are round. The moon, the horizon, the rainbow – circles within circles, with no beginning and no end.

To us this is beautiful and fitting, symbol of reality at the same time, expressing the harmony of life and nature. Our circle is timeless, flowing; it is new life emerging from death – life winning out over death.

The white man’s symbol is the square. Square is his house, his office buildings with walls that separate people from one another. Square is the door which keeps strangers out, the dollar bill, the jail. Square are the white man’s gadgets – boxes, boxes, boxes and more boxes – TV sets, radios, washing machines, computers, cars. These all have corners and sharp edges – points in time, white man’s time, with appointments, time clocks and rush hours – that’s what the corners mean to me. You become a prisoner inside all these boxes.

More and more young white people want to stop being “straight” and “square” and try to become more round, join our circle. That is good.

From birth to death we Indians are enfolded in symbols as in a blanket. An infant’s cradle board is covered with designs to ensure a happy, healthy life for the child. The moccasins of the dead have their soles beaded in a certain way to ease the journey to the hereafter…Every day in my life I see symbols in the shape of certain roots or branches. I read messages in the stones. I pay special attention to them, because I am a Yuwipi man [a distinctive type of medicine man who works with stones] and that is my work. But I am not the only one. Many Indians do this…

Words too are symbols and convey great powers, especially names. Not Charles, Dick and George. There’s not much power in those. But Red Cloud, Black Elk, Whirlwind, Two Moons, Lame Deer – these names have a relationship to the Great Spirit. Each Indian name has a story behind it, a vision, a quest for dreams. We receive great gifts from the source of a name; it links us to nature, to the animal nations. It gives power. You can lean on a name, get strength from it. It is a special name for you and you alone – not a Dick, George, Charles kind of thing…

To a white man symbols are just that: pleasant things to speculate about, to toy with in your mind. To us they are much, much more. Life to us is a symbol to be lived.1


Good and Bad

Lame Deer contends that there is no literal way to translate wićaśa wakan into the English language. This is in part because it is a general term that covers a variety of roles within the Sioux culture. It includes the healer, the spiritual guide, the herbalist, the leader of spiritual ceremonies and more. Some suggest that the best translation is “holy man,” but Lame deer opts for the traditional, though greatly inadequate term “medicine man.” One reason why even “holy man” is misleading is due to modern associations with the term. Typically, when we think of a “holy” person, we image a sort of saint who is above sin. Or, in the case of a priest or pastor, one is at least striving to avoid the temptation to sin wherever it arises. But the wićaśa wakan, he tells us, is “neither good nor bad.” Instead of striving to be good, he strives to simply be himself, and that is all that the community expects of him. For example, you may have been surprised to read that Lame Deer was a drinker, a gambler, a womanizer, etc. Lame Deer sees no contradiction between these acts and his role as a medicine man. In fact, he sees these experiences as a valuable tool. He says that a medicine man shouldn’t strive to be a saint. Instead, “he should experience and feel all the ups and downs, the despair and joy, the magic and the reality, the courage and the fear, of his people. He should be able to sink as low as a bug, or soar as high as an eagle. Unless he can experience both, he is no good as a medicine man.” 2

This outlook is both practical and spiritual. It is practical, because in order to help the community, one must be able to relate and connect deeply to the community and its trials and tribulations. It is spiritual, because it reflects a greater metaphysical outlook. Lame Deer contends that neither nature nor the Great Spirit are perfect. To strive for perfection is to be out of touch with the way things are. “The world couldn’t stand that perfection,” he says.3 From this perspective, the saint’s attempt to be without sin is an attempt to rise above nature – to contradict the way in which the Great Spirit wants things to be. The bottom line is that all people including the wićaśa wakan, ought to simply be themselves instead of striving to be something that they are not. None of us are pure, nor were we meant to be.

To be clear, this is not to condone or encourage all the sorts of behavior that Lame Deer engaged in over his life. Alcoholism, for example, is a huge problem among American Indians.4 Lame Deer reflects on the reasons for this:

They drink to forget, I think, to forget the great days when this land was ours and when it was beautiful, without highways, billboards, fences and factories. They try to forget the pitiful shacks and rusting trailers which are their homes. They try to forget that they are treated like children…We drink to forget that there is nothing worthwhile for a man to do, nothing that would bring honor or make him feel good inside. There are only a handful of jobs [in or by the reservation] for a few thousand people. These are all Government jobs, tribal or federal. You have to be a good house Indian, an Uncle Tomahawk, a real apple – red on the outside, white on the inside – to get a job like this. You have to behave yourself, and never talk back, to keep it. If you have such a job, you drink to forget what kind of person it has made of you. If you don’t have it, you drink because there’s nothing to look forward to but a few weeks of spud-picking, if you are lucky. You drink because you don’t live; you just exist. That may be enough for some people; it’s not enough for us.5

The fact that he was a medicine man did not exempt Lame Deer from this sort of life (or “no-life” as he sometimes calls it) and the sense of hopelessness that it tends to leave. And he found it no more shameful for him to go on a drinking binge than it would be for anyone else in the community.

The emphasis on the importance of simply being yourself also figures into Lame Deer’s critique of modernity. In a powerful analogy he states that no two leaves even on the same plant are exactly alike. The Great Spirit must like it that way – each thing in the universe fulfilling its own unique and individual nature. So he finds it appalling that people today are “putting on the same store-bought clothes, riding the same subway, working in the same office at the same job with their eyes on the same clock and, worst of all, thinking alike all the time.” There are many forces that have led to increased conformity in our society. Three of the most significant are advertising, career specialization, and globalization. Two hundred years ago, an American Indian could live their whole life without seeing as single advertisement for anything. Today it is estimated that the typical child sees about 20,000 thirty second television commercials each year. These ads send strong messages (the strongest they can muster) about what we should want, what we should wear, how we should smell, and how we should act. The power of advertising is so strong and so pervasive, it is impossible to imagine what a modern society would be like without it.6 Consider also, that the American Indian had to be a “jack of all trades.” In any given week one might be a hunter, a fisherman, a butcher, a home builder, a trader, a craftsman a cook, and so on. In contrast, contemporary “modern” culture is all about specialization. Most people tend to spend 40+ hours every week at the same kind of task – and in some occupations this task can be incredibly narrow, such as assembling the same part of a product on an assembly line or reviewing the same government form, one after another, for hours on end. And to top it off, we find that even the cultural diversity that developed through being part of a particular tribe, city, or nation has been rubbed out by globalization. While television and the internet are bringing people together with many positive effects, these shared influences, shared products, and shared advertising are also creating more conformity, as people all around the globe increasingly eat alike, dress alike, and think alike.

Green Frog Skins

Lame Deer contends that the biggest difference between Indians and whites pertains to the role of money in their lives. From his perspective, money is at the root of most of the evils in the world. Arguably, the most significant of these evils is the destruction and exploitation of nature. From large scale desecration, such blowing the very tops off of the Appalachian Mountains to get at the coal seams beneath, the slashing and burning of the rainforests to create more pastureland for cattle, to the extermination of the prairie dogs as well as their natural predators, nature has become simply a means to a monetary end. As Lame Deer poignantly puts it, when the cowboy looks at a prairie dog he only sees “a green frog skin getting away from him.”.The destruction of nature is just one aspect of what we might describe as “the monetization of everything.” Today, we see land as money, water as money, animals as money and people as money. The list of things that can be bought and sold seems to be growing on a daily basis. The Harvard philosopher Michael Sandel describes this in terms of a shift from having a “market economy” to being a “market society.” For example, he notes that if you go to jail in Santa Barbara California, you can purchase a “cell upgrade” for $90.00 a night. Or, suppose you want to sit in on an important congressional hearing or Supreme Court case, but don’t want to spend hours in line. There are now companies that hire out “line standers” who can do the waiting for you. In many cities we are even paying children to do well in school. Some schools in Dallas Texas for example, pay kids $2.00 for each book that they read.7 As a college professor, I get paid by the number of courses I teach. But due to the fact that some professors have lower enrollments, or higher student drop-out rates, some administrators would like to move toward a “per student” compensation system. One has to wonder whether this would encourage professors to see students as green frog skins, and their courses as simply additional objects for sale in our market society. The primary relationship becomes an exchange of goods for services, rather than true mentorship, or the shared engagement in a quest for a deeper understanding of the world around us.

The Circle and the Square

Lame Deer’s world is infused with a deeper meaning that lies behind even the most common-place things. “From birth to death,” he tells us, “we Indians are enfolded in symbols as in a blanket.”8

Modern culture is not without its symbols, but it certainly seems to encourage a more literal way of thinking. But perhaps even more important than the scarcity of our symbols is how our symbolic meaning is infused. For example, the cowboy who sees the prairie dogs as a “dollar bills slipping away”, is thinking symbolically. But his symbolism is destroying the local ecosystem and his own spirit in the process. Not only is this kind of symbolism destructive, it is reductive. It reduces the complex (the biological ecosystem of the Great Plains) to something simple (dollar bills). Compare this to the symbolic interpretation that Lame Deer gives to the pot of stew. He sees it as more than a simple cooking pot filled with meat and broth. By seeing it symbolically as the sun, the clouds, breath, his animal brothers, and as Wakan Tanka, the Great Spirit, caring for him, his symbols expand his universe and makes it richer, more complex, more nourishing, and more spiritual. In his world there is much more than meets the eye – not less. He encourages us to consider that perhaps we do not take our symbols as seriously as we should. There is a sad irony in the fact that American environmental policies nearly led to the extinction of the Bald Eagle, the very symbol of our nation.

  • tells us that a key symbol for the Sioux is the circle, while for the white man it is the square. Each symbol both reflects and enforces a way of seeing and living within the world. For the Lakota, the circle represents nature. To live within the framework of a circle is natural for humans, since they are a part of nature. Lakota homes (teepees) were round, and set up within the larger circle of their encampment. The focal point of the community, the campfire, is also round, as people sit in a circle to tell stories, to remember their ancestors, to sing, and to pray. It is easy to see how a circle fosters community. Everyone can be seen and heard regardless of their location within the circle. There is no privileged place – no “front” to which all eyes constantly point. Compare this to our classrooms, in which every student faces the front, toward the teacher, the one with authority. Or consider our living rooms, where most, if not all seats point in a singular direction – toward the television set.
  • in regards to architecture and social spaces, the circle represents togetherness and equality, the “white man’s symbol,” “the square,” embodies efficiency. Squares make maximal use of space. If a piece of land is carved up into square parcels, every inch can be bought and sold with nothing wasted. School classrooms can be side by side with no space lost between them. Desks can be lined up in rows to fit more students and to make efficient pathways — again maximizing the use of space.

The Indian way comes at a cost when viewed in terms of efficiency, but our love of the square seems to carry a loss in terms of community relationships. I’ve seen this first-hand in the classroom. I used to teach in rooms with individual desks that could be moved into a circle whenever I wanted. And, I quite often found that the circular format tended to increase student discussion. Lately I’ve been teaching in rooms with rectangular tables, all facing forward, that are quite difficult to move. The impact from this was immediately apparent. The fact that all eyes are constantly positioned to the front, (to me, the authority figure, standing in the privileged position) often harms the learning process and impacts the sense of a classroom “community” and a shared engagement in learning.

The circle and the square can also be applied to our conceptions of time. Indians tend to visualize time as cyclical. It is a circle (or spiral) of returning seasons, of phases of the moon, and of rituals that follow these seasons and phases; of life moving toward death, and back to life again (as the tree that falls in the forest that becomes the fertilizing nutrients for future trees.) In contrast, modern cultures tend to see time as linear – constantly marching ahead to the drum of progress. We envision “blocks” of time, to be filled in order to maximize efficiency and profit. We put great importance on being “on time” – which Indians tend to regard as a beguiling notion, with no correspondence to reality.9 Again both have costs and benefits. Linear time enhances productivity. It enables us to set up conference calls, to book flights months in advance, and so on. But the cost again seems to hit our personal relationships. We never seem to have enough time to talk with friends, to spend with family, or to walk in nature.

In closing we should note that seeing the world symbolically in the manner that Lame Deer does, ultimately creates a sense of connectedness, not only with other people, but with the natural world. In his epilogue to Lame Deer Seeker of Visions, Richard Erodes puts the point nicely:

“Some of my Indian friends tend to look upon life as a long series of symbolic images forming definite, harmonic patterns. They see man not as a separate entity viewed against a background, but as part of the earth upon which he walks. They see him as a kind of plant, almost, which extends roots and fibers in a number of directions, taking nourishment from different sources, exchanging juices with other plants, being perhaps eaten by some other creature and thereby becoming something else in the process, a living organism gaining strength from his surroundings as well as from certain powers inherent in nature. They see man as a small but essential particle of the universe, linked to all other living things by a number of what – for lack of a better word – I would describe as unseen but strongly perceived umbilical cords. It is difficult to look in this way upon a white man living in a city apartment.”10


  1. All of the passages above are taken from Lame Deer Seeker of Visions:The Life of a Sioux Medicine Man by John (Fire) Lame Deer and Richard Erodes, Simon and Schuster, New York, 1972.
  2. Ibid., pg. 79.
  3. Ibid.
  4. The use of the term “Indian” to refer to the indigenous peoples of North America is considered “politically incorrect” by some, because, of course, they are not from India. Some have pushed for the use of “Native American” as a replacement. I’ve chosen to use “Indian” nevertheless, because many (perhaps the majority) of the present day Lakota seem to prefer it.
  5. Ibid., pg. 77.
  6. New York Times columnist Louise Story notes: “Supermarket eggs have been stamped with the names of CBS television shows. Subway turnstiles bear messages from Geico auto insurance. Chinese food cartons promote Continental Airways.US Airways is selling ads on motion sickness bags. And the trays used in airport security lines have been hawking Rolodexes.”http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/15/business/media/15everywhere.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
  7. These examples are all described in What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of the Market by Michael Sandel, Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, New York, 2012.
  8. Lame Deer 1972, pg. 113.
  9. For more on these contrasting conceptions of time, see The Primal Mind, the classic documentary by Jamake Highwater, Wellspring Media 1984.
  10. Lame Deer 1972, pg. 274

A Tainted Feast

“If this body should ever be destroyed, it will be by desire; by the lust for the flesh of this strange and nearly cannibalistic tainted feast.”

As the calendar flipped to 2025, a slow-burning horror began to unfold across the world. In a small, dim-lit lab, Dr. Samuel Jennings, a reputable physiologist and disease pathologist, chanced upon an insidious truth—one that would challenge traditions, topple industries, and reshape societal norms.

Samuel’s journey into this abyss began with personal pain as his father’s life was almost extinguished in 2023. His father, frail at 80, had been given a renewed lease of life on a cold operating table with a porcine tissue heart valve. A miracle, it seemed. But in a strange twist of fate, the surgeon, a close friend and esteemed colleague of Samuel, whispered a strange fact over a shared bottle of scotch one early October evening. “The pig tissue valves, like the one I placed in your father’s heart, not only survive well within the human host but thrives because the human body does not see it as foreign. It sees it as its own, not something other, but at home, as if it were there from birth. Without the assistance of immunosuppressants, it will remain nestled in seamlessly for many years to come.”

First human-pig chimeras created, sparking hopes for transplantable organs — and debate – Jan. 26, 2017

Haunted by this revelation, Samuel dived into research, attempting to unearth a deeper understanding of the human-porcine connection. His investigations led to a harrowing yet frightening discovery as a pathologist. Consuming pork by certain individuals who suffer from intestinal permeability or leaky gut caused by a diet high in processed foods could very well introduce complete porcine proteins into the human bloodstream. Could these particles then embed themselves in soft tissues as if at home, continuing to grow?

Suddenly, the room around him began to swirl as the wheels of his mind began to turn. Nourished by protein-rich plasma and stem cells, these rogue proteins, which would appear human by all measures, would continue to live on. Not only would they live and multiply quite well side by side with human cells, but they would eventually present as cancerous tumors begging to be excised, radiated, or poisoned by toxic chemotherapy.

Researchers in California have created human-pig chimeric embryos as part of a project to grow human organs for transplantation; while it may make many people uncomfortable, we have been trying to use pigs for parts for nearly 200 years.

This strange flesh, this accidental, unintended passenger, living a life of its own, happily within the confines of human soft tissues. A ticking time bomb with a clock of fifteen to twenty years growing at a rate six to eight times faster than their surrounding human neighbors. One that echoed with the lifespan of the pig itself. Just as the porcine heart valves begin to deteriorate, calcify, and decompose after fifteen to twenty years, so do these manifestations in the flesh turn malignant according to the dictates of their DNA.

To the world’s horror, Samuel’s findings suggested a link—ages-old religious wisdom from Islam and Judaism that had strictly warned against the consumption of swine now suddenly held a dark, once enigmatic, but now tangible universal truth. But science and faith, while sometimes overlapping, treading out different paths, suddenly find themselves walking in lockstep rhythm. The startling implications of Samuel’s research were no longer just spiritual; they were profoundly and devastatingly economic.

Pig embryos that had been injected with human stem cells when they were only a few days old began to grow organs containing human cells, scientists reported on Thursday, an advance that promises — or threatens — to bring closer the routine production of creatures that are part human and part something else.

The pork industry, a behemoth in the United States alone, began a ferocious pushback. Lobbyists swarmed Washington, research was questioned, and Samuel’s credibility was violently attacked at every turn and opportunity. The industry, employing over half a million Americans while contributing a whopping $57 billion to the GDP, wasn’t going down without a muddy fight.

Tensions escalated, with public debates sometimes turning violent. Samuel’s home was vandalized, and threats became a part of his daily existence. But the grim reality couldn’t remain buried for long. Independent studies began surfacing, slowly at first, but then one after the other in blinding succession over the following years, corroborating Samuel’s findings. The wave of truth, backed by undeniable scientific evidence, started swelling. Public pressures swayed and finally mounted, and the once mighty pork industry found itself on shaky grounds with its feet planted firmly in mid-air.

The Fijians used the term “long pig” to refer to human flesh. They would carry a cooked human on one shoulder and a pig on the other when bringing food. They called a human “long pig” when baked.

By 2033, under the weight of global consensus, the World Health Organization, with the backing of the United Nations, banned the consumption of all pork products. The behemoth was felled, not by a singular entity, but by the collective realization of a resounding truth so dark it overshadowed every other concern or perceived benefit.

Restaurants and butcheries, once proud purveyors of pork, shuttered. An entire industry collapsed, and its ripples were felt worldwide. Joblessness, protests, and economic upheavals marked the years following the ban. But as the dust settled, a brighter horizon emerged.

By 2053, the clouds of soft tissue cancers began to clear. Numbers dwindled, and those born after the ban experienced a world almost completely devoid of such malignancies. Hospitals witnessed dwindling cancer patients. Families rejoiced as loved ones lived longer, healthier lives.

And in a quiet corner of Maine, an aged Dr. Samuel Jennings looked at a world transformed by his discovery. There were no accolades, no grand recognitions, just the silent satisfaction of a truth revealed. However, in the stillness of the night, the weight of the revelation bore down on him, a grim reminder that sometimes the most pedestrian things, like a plate of bacon, can hold the darkest secrets.


The year was 2053. In the sprawling, state-of-the-art lab located in the heart of Boston, Dr. Samuel Jennings sat behind his microscope, analyzing samples not of the swine variety that once consumed his every waking thought for more than a decade but from another, more majestic creature.

The discovery regarding pork’s link to soft tissue tumors had rocked the world some decades prior. And while the aftermath of that revelation was still felt in many sectors, it had propelled the medical world into new, uncharted territories. For Jennings, it had sparked an idea, an obsession that burned as fiercely as his earlier research.

It wasn’t just about finding an appropriate replacement for the porcine tissue; it was about seeking out an ideal mammal whose lifespan and tissue compatibility were in perfect harmony with humans. Samuel’s eureka moment came on a day like any other while watching a documentary about the mighty elephants, revered, majestic creatures known to roam the Earth for up to seventy years.

Elephants. Could their heart tissues, imbued with the power of longevity, be the key to the next medical revolution?

Working alongside Dr. Eleanor Greene, an expert in elephant physiology, Jennings began the intricate process of studying elephant cardiac tissues. Initial findings were promising. These tissues, robust and enduring, seemed not only compatible with human physiology but also hinted at a longevity that dwarfed the porcine equivalents.

The research was not without its ethical dilemmas. Both Samuel and Eleanor were resolute that no harm should come to these magnificent beasts. The solution was found in the form of ethically sourced tissue samples, often from elephants that had died of natural causes, combined with advanced cellular regeneration techniques.

By 2063, just ten years later, just two months shy of Samuel’s 75th birthday, the first bioengineered elephant heart valve, a marvel of both nature and science, was ready for human trials. A young girl named Lucy, born with a congenital heart defect, was the first recipient. The procedure was a resounding success. Lucy’s heart, bolstered by the strength and longevity of the elephant tissue, beat with renewed vigor.

Word of this groundbreaking procedure spread like wildfire. People from around the world, previously reliant on the limited lifespan of porcine valves, began flocking to Boston. The “Elephant Miracle,” as it was soon dubbed, had not only provided a superior medical solution but also rekindled a sense of wonder and respect for the natural world.

In the heart of Boston, a monument was erected—a majestic elephant with a heart of gold, symbolizing the harmonious melding of nature and science. It stood as a testament to Dr. Samuel Jennings’ relentless pursuit of knowledge and the undying spirit of human innovation.

And as Lucy, now an energetic teenager, often remarked with a twinkle in her eye, “I’ve got the heart of an elephant, and I’m ready to take on the world!”

In the annals of medical history, Dr. Samuel Jennings’ name was now etched, not once, but twice. Once for revealing the harrowing connection between pork and tumors and again for pioneering a new heart valve that could seemingly outlive those receiving them. The duality of his contributions, one dark and one filled with hope, stood as a testament of hope to the human spirit’s ability to find light even in the most shadowed corners of life.

-Michael J. Loomis & ChatGPT

An Accidental Leap Beyond Time

An Accidental Leap Beyond Time: Mark Twain’s Sojourn to 2023

Since my arrival in San Francisco, many whispered rumors have tickled my aging ears that I could hardly believe, let alone transcribe. But, dear reader, this present tale I dare to recount is neither a jest nor another of my tall tales.

One evening, as the fog enveloped our golden city, a rather mysterious telegram arrived on my desk. It bore the insignia of my esteemed friend and imaginative genius, H.G. Wells. The words, however, had the urgency of a house ablaze. It read:

Samuel, cease all engagements and come hither to Los Angeles. The ideas I’ve been working on, the time traveling tales we spoke about, and the details I have been weaving are no longer restrained by ink and paper. Alongside my friend Nikola Tesla, I’ve breathed life into them. Prepare to defy the bonds of time.” Signed Herbert

Herbert, with all his fancies, had always held a grip on my curiosity. But this—this was fantastical even for him! Nikola Tesla, the genius capable of harnessing lightning itself, collaborating with Herbert? The notion had me clumsily racing to my wardrobe even as I speculated.

If their joint endeavor was half as grand as their independent triumphs, Los Angeles was soon to bear witness to history.

By first light, my bags were packed somewhat haphazardly, with wrinkles, soil, and all. I had no time for laundry. I imagined Herbert, with his piercing eyes and wild hair, sketching out a machine not of this world, while Nikola, with his methodical precision, brought every line and curve to life. A time machine, they called it. I chuckled at the thought. But if any men were to challenge the very fabric of time, it would be these two.

En route to the train station, the city seemed to blur. Horse and buggy clattered, children played, and the salty wind tousled my hair. But my mind was consumed by the future—or was it the past?

I pondered on the implications. Could one venture to the days of Moses or witness Caesar’s last breath? Or perhaps venture forward to see if San Francisco would ever grow taller than its beloved hills.

Later the next day, after arriving in Los Angeles, I dropped off my bags at the hotel I headed over to the laboratory of my friends Herbert and Nikola. Upon entry, I laid my eyes upon a vast and chaotic mix of wires, coils, and odd contraptions, whereby I was greeted with a sight most splendid. There, amidst a whirlwind of sparks and steam, stood the Time Machine. More magnificent than even my wildest imagination, it was both regal and otherworldly.

Herbert, seeing my bewilderment, stepped forward, his face illuminated by the machine’s glow. “Samuel,” he exclaimed, clutching my arm, shaking my hand wildly with both hands, “we’ve done it! We’re on the cusp of rewriting the very annals of history!”

Nikola, ever the reserved soul, smiled with his boyish grin and said, “It’s still in its infancy, but the prospects are… limitless.”

As I gazed at the fantastical contraption, the weight of the moment settled upon me. Here, in this humble laboratory, time’s very essence was being toyed with. And, as is the spirit of our age, the boundaries of what was known were once again being pushed, dared, and defied.

The next morning, after a well-deserved dinner, a few too many celebratory libations, and a night of fitful sleep, I arrived early at the lab located just around the corner from the Hollenbeck Hotel where I was staying. The monolithic structure of the Time Machine soon dwarfed my presence. It stood there, a beacon of bronze and shimmering light, radiating an energy that was almost palpable.

Herbert approached me with a gleam in his eyes. “Ready for an adventure, Samuel?”

Nikola, adjusting a few dials and observing the various gauges, cautioned, “It’s still experimental. The journey might not be as… smooth as one would hope.”

But what journey had ever been smooth for men like us? The very essence of adventure is the unpredictable, the unknown. I nodded, eagerness trumping any latent apprehension.

After a brief instruction—mostly by Nikola, with Herbert enthusiastically interjecting—we stepped into the capsule. The interior was surprisingly spacious, adorned with red velvet seats and intricate brass controls. A large glass portal allowed us to peer into the void we were about to plunge into.

With a final check, Nikola activated the machine. A hum, low and rhythmic at first, began to reverberate. The walls of the lab began to blur, melting into a whirl of colors. My stomach lurched, and for a moment, I felt weightless.

When the whirlwind subsided, I stumbled out, only to be met with a sight most bewildering. Before us lay Los Angeles, but not the one we just left. No, it was grander, a bit more modern, with structures reaching higher into the heavens. Horse and their carriages were somewhat fewer and interspersed with metal contraptions dodging people, beasts, and the occasional Red Car on rails in the middle of smooth concrete thoroughfares stretching as far as the eye could see.

“It worked!” Herbert exclaimed, his face reflecting pure ecstasy. “We’ve journeyed thirty years into the future!”

Nikola, ever observant, remarked, “Look at the technology. It’s advanced, but there’s a familiarity to it. We might not be too far ahead.”

As Herbert and I explored this new world, Nikola stayed behind with the contraption to tinker, to do what he does best. At each passing moment, it became evident that our world had changed. We marveled at the gadgets, the updated architecture, and the tales of a world that had endured what was called ‘The Great War’, and yet had advancement continued in ways unimaginable in such a short time.

However, after just a couple of days, our sojourn was cut short. Nikola sent a young man to summon Herbert and me back to the lab. He had noticed our grand carriage, the Time Machine, starting to flicker. “The machine’s stability in foreign timelines is uncertain. We must return before we’re stranded,” he warned.

So we climbed back into our vessel, and with another dizzying whirl, we were back in the familiar surroundings of our 1893 lab.

Catching my breath, I turned to my companions. “Gentlemen, we’ve not only witnessed history but leaped into it, danced with it! The tales I can weave, the stories I can tell…”

Herbert, resting a hand on my shoulder, whispered, “Slow down my good friend, remember the responsibility that comes with such knowledge. The future is a delicate tapestry, one we’ve been privileged to glimpse, but not meddle with.”

Nikola nodded in agreement, “The Time Machine will remain an experiment for now, a testament to human ingenuity but not a toy to meddle with the course of history.”

And so, with a heavy heart but a mind brimming with tales, I returned to the hotel for the night to retire. The next morning, I would pack my bags for my journey back home.

Upon arriving back home in San Francisco, I knew there was no way I would look at the world the same way again. Days turned into weeks, and weeks turned into months, ticking by, marked by a weaving and a whirlwind of scribbles in my journal, late nights, and endless smoke from my faithful pipe. The story had to be told, even if masked as fiction. However, as I ventured deeper into my memories, the weight of Herbert’s words settled upon me. Maybe some things truly are better left unsaid.

The line between my responsibilities as a storyteller and the dangers of revealing too much became a tightrope. I could not, in good conscience, reveal all that we had seen. But to withhold such wondrous experiences felt equally disheartening. This was torture for me.

Then, one evening, as the sun’s orange hue painted San Francisco’s horizon, there was a knock at my door. It was Herbert, with a familiar, mischievous glint in his eyes. He held up a freshly printed manuscript, the title of which read, “The Time Machine.”

“I’ve penned it down, Samuel,” he declared. “A tale, inspired by our adventure, but abstracted enough to remain in the realms of fantasy.”

Curiosity piqued, I invited him in, and we sat by the hearth, with him reading aloud. The tale was fantastical, as was expected of Herbert. It spoke of a Time Traveler, his journey to the distant future, and his encounters with the Eloi and the Morlocks.

It was our adventure but through the lens of Herbert’s unparalleled imagination and a journey much further into the future. He had masterfully blended the truth with fiction, creating a tapestry that was as captivating as it was cautionary.

Upon finishing, Herbert looked at me expectantly. “What do you think?”

“I believe,” I began, pausing to puff my pipe, “that you’ve managed to encapsulate the essence of our journey, without exposing the world to its dangers, yet disguising its existence. Brilliant way to hide the truth in plain sight. Bravo my good man, it’s a masterpiece.”

He sighed in relief, “I wanted to honor our experience, but I also understood the weight of the truth. This,” he gestured to the manuscript, “is a safe middle ground.”

Our conversation drifted into the smoke-filled night, discussing the implications of our journey, the marvels of the future, and the responsibility we bore.

As dawn broke, we headed off to breakfast, where Herbert convinced me to come back to Los Angeles with him to see the work that Nikola had been continuing in the lab. Something Herbert had forgotten to mention in his excitement of his most recent publication.

A couple of days later, we arrived back in Los Angeles at the dimly lit laboratory where Nikola was sitting back leisurely admiring this updated version of the fabulous contraption we had taken for a ride into the next century. With Herbert and Nikola standing by, Samuel sat eagerly atop this updated machine that was more compact and sleeker than the whimsical contraption that they had previously used to travel into the future. The plan was simple: a quick trip back to 1923, a mere glimpse again into the future. But, as with all adventures, things rarely go according to plan.

The world shifted, and with a blinding flash, this time all alone, Samuel found himself on a bustling street, surrounded by metal beasts on wheels. But this time was different. Completely different and unfamiliar. A world devoid of horses, carriages, bonnets, and tophats. And the most magnificent structures towering buildings of concrete, glass, and steel. He quickly realized the grave error: the machine had flung him into 2023, not 1923.

Los Angeles stood tall and proud, but to Samuel, it looked alien. Vast digital screens loomed overhead, flashing images faster than the blink of an eye. People roamed with curious devices held to their ears or in their hands, seemingly talking to themselves.

His initial awe soon turned to a sinking feeling. Curiosity led him to the Los Angeles Central Library. Here, he met Paige Turner, a librarian with kind eyes and an ironic name, given the times. With her help, Samuel spent endless days at a computer terminal, delving deep into the world of the internet. The discoveries he made painted a grim picture for the traditionalists in him.

AI systems, like ‘WriteRight’ and ‘Artistic Ally,’ not only assisted writers and artists but were beginning to replace them. The visual arts weren’t spared either, with software such as ‘Visual Virtuoso’ replicating masterpieces with frightening accuracy.

The horror he felt was palpable. In this new world, the roles of writers, inventors, and artists seemed superfluous. The unique human touch, the stroke of genius, appeared endangered. As someone who’d spent a lifetime weaving tales and critiquing society, this future appeared bleak.

With Paige as his guide, he traversed this unfamiliar world. Between dinners and strolls, they discussed how AI contrasted with inventions of the past. The printing press, the steam engine, electricity – all revolutionary, yet they created opportunities. Here, AI threatened to eliminate the need for human creativity and labor altogether.

“What do folks do with their time now, with machines doing all the work?” Samuel queried one evening.

Paige looked thoughtful. “Many still work, but not out of necessity. There’s a movement towards pursuing passions, learning, or even just leisure. But it’s not all rosy. There’s a struggle to find meaning and purpose.”

The Universal Needs Guarantee, formerly referred to as UBI(Universal Basic Income), had been instituted. All of mankind’s basic needs – food, shelter, clothing, education, and healthcare – were now orchestrated by an intricate web of AI-managed systems. With no labor required, many sought meaning through spiritual, educational, and recreational avenues. Yet, a lingering emptiness remained for many.

Samuel mulled over it, “Since the dawn of time, man has been defined by his work. Take that away, and the soul yearns for purpose.”

As days turned to weeks, Samuel grew fonder of Paige. Their bond deepened over shared stories and experiences. Yet, the weight of his discovery and the ache of the world he left behind tugged at his heartstrings.

One fateful evening, as they sat overlooking the Los Angeles skyline, Samuel confessed, “I’ve seen wonders and horrors in equal measure here. I fear for the writers and artists. But there’s hope. Humanity has a knack for finding its way.”

Paige smiled, “You’re a relic of a time long gone, Mr. Clemens. Yet, you’ve adapted. That’s the spirit of mankind.”

The day of his departure arrived. With a heavy heart and a promise to remember Paige, Samuel returned to Nikola’s lab, praying the machine would work in reverse.

He arrived with a jolt. The room was as he left it – Herbert and Nikola still adjusting the machine, unaware he’d been gone.

Samuel, with tales of a future both wondrous and disconcerting, knew he had stories to tell. With a newfound appreciation for the written word and the human touch, he penned his experiences, weaving cautionary tales for future generations.

As for Paige Turner, she remained in 2023, with memories of a writer from the past, hoping that despite the advancements, humanity would never lose its essence.

Nikola’s lab was awash in the same dim glow, but to Samuel, it now seemed too archaic, too rudimentary. The familiar scents of oil and singed metal did little to calm his racing heart.

Herbert approached, his face lit with excitement. “Ready for the jump to 1923?”

Samuel hesitated, “We need to talk.”

Over the course of hours, Samuel narrated his unexpected adventure. He spoke of the towering glass buildings, the technological marvels, and the AIs capable of creating art and literature that rivaled human genius.

Nikola, who had always been a visionary, looked both intrigued and perturbed. “Such a future is both a dream and a nightmare,” he mused. “Our inventions meant to enhance human life, not replace the very essence of it.”

Samuel nodded, “That’s precisely it. In trying to make life easier, we’ve inadvertently set a course that might make the human touch obsolete.”

Herbert, ever the futurist, remarked, “Isn’t that the progression of things? Horse-drawn carriages gave way to trains. Trains to automobiles. Each invention brought about change, often rendering previous professions obsolete. However, there’s a difference between augmenting human capacity and completely overshadowing it.”

Samuel remembered his discussions with Paige. “People in that time have more leisure, more resources. But many grapple with a deep-seated emptiness. The pursuit of passions becomes challenging when machines can do it better.”

The three men sat in contemplative silence, the weight of the implications pressing upon them.

Herbert finally broke the silence, “Perhaps, we can’t halt progress, but we can guide it. If your tale is any indication, Samuel, we need to ensure that technology remains a tool, not a master.”

Samuel agreed, “AI, like all tools, is as good or bad as its use. It’s our responsibility to define its boundaries.”

Nikola, rolling up his sleeves, declared, “Then let’s start with this machine. We need to ensure such accidental journeys don’t occur. And who knows? Maybe we can find a way to balance human essence with machine efficiency.”

The days that followed saw the trio deeply engrossed in their work. Samuel, though not an inventor, provided insights and shared his experiences, guiding their vision. Herbert penned speculative pieces, cautioning about unchecked advancements, while Nikola tinkered with his inventions, ensuring they augmented human capabilities without replacing them.

As time wore on, Samuel often thought of Paige. He wondered if, in that sprawling future city, she remembered a man out of time. He penned letters he couldn’t send and stories inspired by their shared moments.

One day, while rummaging through Nikola’s workshop, Samuel found a peculiar object. It was a small device, not unlike the ones he’d seen in 2023, with an emblem that read “Paige’s Library.”

Curious, he activated it. To his surprise, a holographic image of Paige materialized. “Dearest Samuel,” her projection began, “I suspected you might find this. Consider it a parting gift, a way for me to share my world with you.”

The device contained snippets of Paige’s life, her stories, and her experiences in 2023. Samuel was once again reminded of the duality of the future – the wonder of connection and the danger of losing oneself.

The journey to 2023 became a cornerstone in Samuel’s writings. The experience shaped his narratives, urging readers to value the human spirit amidst the march of progress.

Years later, as Samuel settled into the twilight of his life, he often pondered the dance of destiny. While he cherished his time with Nikola and Herbert and the revolutionary ideas they birthed, it was the memory of a librarian named Paige Turner in a future not his own that warmed his heart the most.

Samuel’s later years were marked by profound introspection and prolific writing. His tales of 2023 resonated deeply, not just as speculative fiction but as cautionary tales. With every penned word, he urged society to tread the path of advancement with caution and mindfulness.

As the years rolled by, Samuel became a beacon of wisdom for the literary world, his experiences lending a unique perspective. His writings began influencing thought leaders, educators, and even budding inventors. Universities invited him to speak, eager to hear firsthand about the world he had glimpsed.

On one such occasion, a young student asked, “Mr. Clemens, given the chance, would you venture to the future again?”

Samuel, his eyes distant yet twinkling, replied, “Son, every day is a venture into the future. It’s not about witnessing the marvels; it’s about shaping them.”

His bond with Nikola and Herbert deepened, the shared secret of the accidental journey drawing them closer. Nikola, inspired by Samuel’s tales, began working on projects that aimed at harmonizing technology with the human spirit. He believed in creating machines that could understand and respect human emotions rather than merely replicating tasks.

Herbert, ever the storyteller, collaborated with Samuel on a series of novels that painted vivid pictures of futures both utopian and dystopian, drawing from the experiences and insights of their friend. Their joint works became instant classics, studied and dissected by generations of readers and scholars.

But amidst the whirlwind of lectures, writings, and inventions, Samuel’s heart often wandered back to those quiet evenings in Los Angeles, the city lights shimmering, with Paige by his side. He missed their conversations, her laughter, and the gentle way she’d introduced him to the nuances of a world he hadn’t been prepared for.

One winter evening, as snow gently blanketed his Connecticut home, there came a soft knock on the door. Samuel, expecting no one, opened it to find a familiar face, albeit older.

“Paige?” he exclaimed, disbelief evident in his voice.

With a smile that hadn’t changed over the years, she replied, “It seems, Samuel, that Herbert and Nikola weren’t the only ones tinkering with time.”

As they settled by the fireplace, Paige revealed that inspired by their time together; she’d sought out inventors in her era who had toyed with the concept of time travel. It had taken years, but she’d finally managed to embark on a one-way journey to Samuel’s time.

Over cups of hot cocoa, they reminisced and marveled at the dance of destiny. Here they were, two souls from different eras, brought together by an accident and now reunited by determination and love.

Together, over the following year, they penned a book, weaving both their perspectives into a narrative that spanned two centuries. It became a testament to the enduring human spirit, the magic of serendipity, and the power of love to transcend time.

Samuel’s later years, enriched by Paige’s presence, were marked by joy, collaboration, and profound insights. As they both grew old together, they became a living embodiment of the belief that while technology might shape the world, it’s love, connection, and shared stories that truly define the essence of humanity.

The fame of the reunited pair grew, as did the intrigue surrounding their extraordinary story. Their collaborative work was revered not just as a masterpiece of literature but also as a profound philosophical treatise that navigated the interplay between technology and humanity. Universities, societies, and even governments invited the duo to speak, eager to glean wisdom from their unique blend of experiences.

In one of their joint lectures at Yale, a student inquired, “Miss Turner, how has the transition been for you, coming from a future so advanced to an era like this?”

Paige smiled, “At first, the absence of the conveniences I was accustomed to felt overwhelming. But then, I realized that it’s not technology that defines an era, but the people and their stories. And in that, every age is rich.”

Their home in Connecticut became a haven for thinkers, writers, and inventors. Nikola, often accompanied by Herbert, would visit, and their gatherings became legendary – a melting pot of ideas, debates, and dreams of shaping a brighter future.

One summer, a young artist named Diego Rivera visited them. Inspired by their story and the interplay of time, technology, and love, he painted a mural titled “The Dance of Two Eras”. The artwork, depicting Samuel and Paige against a backdrop of transitioning centuries, became one of Rivera’s most iconic pieces.

But beyond the fame and intellectual pursuits, it was the simple moments that the couple cherished most. Morning walks by the river, quiet evenings with books, shared laughs over Samuel’s ever-present cigars and Paige’s attempts to introduce him to futuristic music on a vintage gramophone.

Yet, the passage of time, an element they had both defied in their own ways, remained relentless. As years turned to decades, age caught up with Samuel. His once-vigorous hands now trembled, and the twinkle in his eyes dimmed occasionally. But his spirit remained indomitable.

On one of his more lucid days, he turned to Paige and mused, “You know, when I first landed in your time, I felt lost. The future seemed like a desolate place for artists, thinkers, and romantics. But having you here, in my time, I’ve come to see that the heart and soul of humanity persist, no matter the age or advancement.”

Paige, her eyes glistening, replied, “Time is but a river, Samuel. It flows, it twists, it turns. But love, stories, and the essence of who we are? Those are the constants. They’re our anchors.”

Samuel passed away on a quiet spring evening with Paige by his side. His legacy, enriched by his experiences and insights from the future, left an indelible mark on literature and society.

Paige continued to honor their shared journey. She established the Twain-Turner Institute, dedicated to exploring the intersection of technology, art, and humanity. The institute became a beacon, guiding future generations on a path where technological advancement and human essence coexisted harmoniously.

As for Paige, she lived out her days cherishing the memories of a love that had defied the constraints of time. And in her heart, she held the belief that somewhere, in another time or dimension, she and Samuel would meet again.

A Better Answer For Cancer(Skin)

  1. Sun exposure is the main risk factor for cutaneous malignant melanoma.
  2. Melanoma is a type of cancer that usually occurs on skin that has been overexposed to the sun. The biggest environmental risk factor for developing melanoma is exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. However, melanomas also occur on parts of the body that have never been exposed to the sun. Two rare and deadly forms of melanoma are not caused by sun exposure.
  3. Skin cancer can take 20 years or more to develop.

As a physiology and disease pathology student, these three statements listed above would indicate, at least to me, in my mind, that melanoma is not caused by UV radiation but that its source is something else. That it has been growing just below the surface for many years and that the UV light exposure is a confounding factor that disturbed a slowly growing pathology that would otherwise continue to grow until another environmental factor acted upon it, resulting in its recognition as a cancerous growth.

My own suspicion is that all skin cancers, but also all soft tissue tumors(cancer) are a result of undigested complete mammalian and possibly even non-mammalian animal proteins from meat making their way into our soft tissues through a compromised intestinal(small) epithelium. What most refer to as leaky gut.

“Leaky gut” is a term that refers to increased intestinal permeability, a condition in which the lining of the small intestine becomes damaged, causing undigested food particles, toxic waste products, and bacteria to “leak” through the intestines and flood the bloodstream. This can lead to various health problems, including autoimmune reactions, inflammation, and food sensitivities.

If undigested particles of any food, not just meat, were to enter the bloodstream, a few potential events could occur:

Immune Response: The immune system would recognize these undigested particles as foreign and mount an inflammatory response against them. This can lead to symptoms of inflammation like swelling, redness, pain, and potentially fever.

Creation of Antibodies: Over time, if the same undigested particles keep entering the bloodstream, the body may start to produce antibodies against them. This is the foundation of food sensitivities or allergies. When the individual consumes that food again, even if it doesn’t enter the bloodstream, the body can react to it, thinking it’s a harmful invader.

Systemic Inflammation: Chronic exposure to foreign particles in the bloodstream can contribute to systemic inflammation, which is linked to various chronic diseases, including heart disease, cancer, and neurodegenerative conditions.

Potential Aggravation of Autoimmune Conditions: The entry of undigested food particles into the bloodstream might also trigger or aggravate autoimmune conditions, where the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks its own tissues.

Other Effects: While the above are the most discussed effects of a “leaky gut,” there could be other cascading impacts on metabolism, hormone balance, and even mental health due to the interconnectedness of our body’s systems.

Skin cancer statistics

What kinds of things interfere with intestinal lumen endothelial function?

What kinds of foods result in a leaky gut?

Pig lifespan 15-20 years.

Pig tissue heart valve lifespan is also 15-20 years. Neither of which does the human body reject, but actually continues to regenerate using human stem cells.

Is it possible that porcine telomeres are the limiting factors in the longevity of tissue heart valves?

Porcine(pig) heart valves are commonly used in heart valve replacement surgeries because they are biologically similar to human heart valves. When prepping these valves for implantation, the cells and other antigens that might provoke an immune response are removed. This process makes the valves less likely to be rejected by the patient’s immune system. Here’s a more detailed breakdown:

1. Decellularization: Before implantation, porcine heart valves undergo a process called decellularization. This process removes cells and cellular antigens from the valve, leaving behind mostly the structural matrix. Without the cellular components, there’s a reduced risk of an immune response.

2. Cross-linking with Glutaraldehyde: After decellularization, the valves are often treated with a chemical called glutaraldehyde. This treatment further reduces antigenicity (the potential to provoke an immune response) and provides additional stability and durability to the valve.

3. Biocompatibility: The extracellular matrix that remains after these treatments is largely made up of collagen and other proteins that are very similar between pigs and humans. This similarity makes the valve more biocompatible and less likely to be seen as “foreign” by the human immune system.

4. Host Remodeling: Over time, the patient’s own cells can migrate into the implanted valve and remodel it, making it even more integrated with the patient’s body.

5. Immune Privilege of the Heart: There’s some evidence to suggest that the heart, like the eyes and the brain, might have a degree of “immune privilege.” This means that the immune system might be less aggressive in these areas, reducing the chances of rejection.

While porcine valves are less prone to immune rejection than unprocessed tissue would be, they’re not perfect. Bioprosthetic valves, including porcine valves, can deteriorate over time, requiring a replacement after a decade or two. Mechanical valves, on the other hand, can last much longer but come with other complications, such as the need for lifelong anticoagulant therapy. The choice of valve type depends on a variety of factors, including patient age, lifestyle, and overall health.

What happens to a porcine heart valve once it reaches the end of its useful health span/lifespan of 15 to 20 years?

Once a bioprosthetic heart valve, like a porcine valve, reaches the end of its useful life, it generally undergoes structural deterioration. This can be due to a combination of factors like the physical stress of a pulsatile environment, enzymatic reactions in the human body, and possible immune reactions over time.

Here are the changes and deteriorations you might observe in a porcine heart valve at the end of its useful lifetime:

1. Calcification: Over time, calcium deposits can form on the valve leaflets. Calcification can make the leaflets stiff, limiting their ability to open and close properly. This is one of the most common reasons for bioprosthetic valve failure.

2. Leaflet Tear or Rupture: The constant movement of the valve can lead to wear and tear. In some cases, the leaflets might even tear or rupture, leading to significant valve dysfunction.

3. Thickening and Fibrosis: The leaflets can become thickened or fibrotic, which can also limit their mobility and, therefore, the valve’s function.

4. Endocarditis: While not a direct result of the valve’s aging, bioprosthetic valves can sometimes become infected, a condition known as endocarditis. This can damage the valve and require its replacement.

5. Host Remodeling: As the patient’s cells infiltrate and remodel the valve over time, there can sometimes be overgrowth or other changes that impact valve function.

Once the valve shows significant deterioration and is no longer functioning properly, it poses serious health risks. Symptoms such as shortness of breath, fatigue, swelling in the ankles, feet, or abdomen, chest pain, or fainting can emerge or intensify.

When the valve’s function is compromised to a dangerous level, patients will need another heart valve replacement or repair surgery. Depending on the patient’s age, health status, and preferences, a subsequent bioprosthetic or mechanical valve might be chosen for the replacement.

Sweat. Where Does it Come From?

The majority of the fluids in our body reside within cells and in the spaces between cells. Broadly, the fluids in our body can be divided into two main compartments:

Intracellular fluid (ICF): This is the fluid that is contained inside our cells. It accounts for about two-thirds (roughly 66%) of the total body water in a typical human.

Extracellular fluid (ECF): This is the fluid that exists outside of our cells. It accounts for about one-third (roughly 33%) of the total body water. The extracellular fluid can be further broken down into:

  • Interstitial fluid: The fluid that lies between cells (in the “interstitial” spaces) and accounts for most of the ECF.
  • Plasma(Circulatory System): The liquid component of blood where the blood cells are suspended.
  • Transcellular fluid: These are small amounts of fluid contained in specific spaces, such as synovial fluid in joints, cerebrospinal fluid in the brain and spinal cord, and intraocular fluid in the eyes.

Sweat consists primarily of water (90% by volume), with 1-3% salt and 0.5-2% urea.

In a typical adult human, total body water might comprise about 60% of the body’s total weight (though this can vary based on factors like age, sex, and body composition). So, around 40% of the body’s weight is from intracellular fluid, and around 20% is from extracellular fluid.

Urea derivatives have a wide range of biological activities, including anticancer, antibacterial, and antiviral. Some urea derivatives, such as N-phenyl-N’-(2-chloroethyl)ureas (CEUs) and benzoylureas (BUs), have shown good anticancer activity. These compounds are tubulin ligands that inhibit the polymerization of tubulin.

Diarylurea is a prominent pharmacophore in anticancer drugs. This activity is due to its near-perfect binding with certain acceptors. The NH moiety acts as a hydrogen bond donor, and the urea oxygen atom acts as an acceptor.

Urea derivatives have also shown anticonvulsant, analgesic, and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) elevating activities.

Sweat originates from both intracellular and extracellular fluids. Here’s how the process works:

1. Initial Formation in Sweat Glands: Sweat is primarily formed in sweat glands, which are distributed across the skin. Initially, sweat glands produce a fluid that is similar to plasma (i.e., the fluid portion of blood without the cells) but without the proteins. This initial sweat is derived from the extracellular fluid, especially the plasma.

2. Modification of Sweat: As the sweat passes through the ducts of the sweat gland, the composition of the sweat is modified. Specifically, cells in the ducts of the sweat glands reabsorb sodium and chloride ions, making the sweat hypotonic relative to plasma. To achieve this reabsorption, cells use energy and move ions against their concentration gradient. In the process, water from inside the cells (intracellular fluid) can also be drawn into the duct due to osmotic forces.

So, while the initial formation of sweat is primarily from the extracellular fluid, the modification of sweat as it passes through the sweat gland ducts can involve intracellular fluid. However, in terms of volume, the majority of the sweat comes from the extracellular compartment.

It’s worth noting that sweating is an essential mechanism for thermoregulation. As sweat evaporates from the surface of the skin, it cools the body down. Additionally, sweat also plays a role in excreting certain waste products. For those that are less active, that is, those that don’t sweat because of inactivity, the kidneys are the primary organs for excretion in the body from the body’s fluid storage.

-Michael J. Loomis & ChatGPT

And It All Starts With Giving a Shit

Nobody ever got shit to stick to a wall without first getting their hands a little dirty. And nobody ever got their hands dirty doing this without first giving a shit.

“Throwing shit at a wall until it sticks” is a common Australian saying that means if you try to attack a problem long enough and with enough varied methods, then eventually, you must make some progress.

Not everyone can be as lucky as Gary Dahl and his Pet Rock.

His idea for the Pet Rock came to him in a bar while he was listening to friends complain about their pets. Dahl joked that he had a pet that required no care or attention because it was a rock. The rock would not need to be fed, walked, bathed, or groomed, and it would not die, become sick, or be disobedient.

Dahl, an American businessman and advertising director, created the collectible toy Pet Rock in the mid-1970s. The Pet Rock was a smooth stone from Rosarito, Baja California, Mexico. Each rock came on a bed of straw with a carrying case and an instruction manual. The Pet Rock retailed for $3.95 and made Dahl a millionaire.

For the rest of us, sometimes that means that we first gotta give a shit and be willing to get our hands a little dirty.

-Michael J. Loomis

Cancer: Why Are We Scared Of It?

Cancer is a scary word for most people. Most at least know or have lost a loved one to cancer. As a result, it engenders a lot of mixed emotions. One of the biggest is fear, which is understandable because it is typically associated with physical pain in the individual experiencing it, but also in the friends and loved ones through emotional pain.

Over the last six(6) years, I have studied human physiology and disease pathology because of my own experiences and interactions with this BIG, scary word, cancer. As a result, I no longer fear cancer to the same level that some or most do. Fear does not fare well in the light of knowledge and understanding.

A cancer diagnosis is not the end of the world, and it is not something that happens to us as if we are a victim of it. It is a condition connected with or rooted in a biological process that has been taking place over a long period of time, usually without our knowledge.

What we call cancer is not something that is attacking us. On the contrary, it is something that is happening within us with our body’s full knowledge and wilful intent. What we call cancer is a result of our body’s continual efforts to maintain homeostasis for the overall good of us as a wonderfully created creature of creation. However, to most people, it doesn’t feel that way because we have been taught something different for many generations. I would like to dispel that myth and bring light and comfort to a world where fear has taken over in the darkness of ignorance.

Please continue to follow along with me. I’ve got a lot more to say about this…

Zinc, A Little Something to Make You Think

The incessant dance of atoms and molecules around us unfolds an undeniably beautiful ballet of nature. Among these, a wondrous metal with the atomic number 30 makes a remarkable appearance – zinc. Many of us, in the thrall of our sophisticated digital age, remain oblivious to this humble metallic actor’s cosmic journey and its vital role in the grand opera of human existence.

Zinc, our protagonist, began its journey not on our azure host(Earth), but in the boundless vastness of the cosmos, forged in the stellar crucibles of supernovae. Cosmic winds, the grand maestros of the universe, orchestrated its journey towards our solar nebula, paving the way for the conception of our beautiful planet. Upon Earth’s formation, zinc nestled deep within her bosom, hidden beneath a crust of more glamorous elements. It took the inventive curiosity of mankind in the post-stone age, roughly 5000 years ago, to excavate and mold zinc into a useful ally. We learned to alloy zinc with copper, birthing brass, and thus, stepping into the age of metallurgy, unraveling a new chapter of civilization.

Zinc doesn’t merely belong in the annals of our human history; it is an intimate participant in the pulsating rhythm of life itself. This bluish-white metal, while not as ostentatious as gold or celebrated as iron, is fundamental to our health and well-being.

Deep within our bodies, hidden from the prying eyes of our consciousness, zinc plays an unassuming but powerful role. It slips into enzymes, becoming an integral part of over 300 different types, each performing a crucial task in the symphony of our biological processes. From the division of our cells, the orchestration of our immune response, to the expression of our DNA – zinc is there, in every note, in every beat, assisting, catalyzing, and enabling.

Imagine, for a moment, life without zinc. The music of our bodily functions would descend into a dissonant cacophony. Our cells would cease to divide, our wounds would refuse to heal, and our taste and smell would abandon us, leaving us in a world bereft of sensory pleasures. The vital process of growth and development in children would falter, casting a shadow over the vibrancy of youth. Zinc deficiency can transform life into an echo of its full expression, a symphony with its vital instruments missing.

Many of us, swept away by the glitz and glamour of modern life, forget the fundamentals. We forget how the subtle dance of elements like zinc orchestrates the drama of our existence. We neglect the importance of maintaining a balanced diet, rich in zinc, leading to an unfortunate deficiency of this vital nutrient.

While we engage in intellectual pursuits and explore the realm of the abstract, we must not lose touch with the primal. We must remain grounded in our physical existence, understanding the subtle interplay of the elements that maintain our well-being. And zinc, in all its humble glory, demands our attention.

Just as zinc has found its place in the cosmic order, becoming part of stars, planets, and living organisms, it has also found a home within us. This connection, this intimate dance between the human and the elemental, is a realization of our place in the cosmos. It is a beautiful reminder that we are not merely observers of the universe, but participants, intimately connected with the cosmic dance.

So, let us celebrate zinc, this unassuming yet vital element, not just for its role in human health but also for its cosmic journey and its place in the grand opera of existence. It serves as a gentle reminder of our interconnectedness with the universe, a profound illustration of the saying, “We are stardust.” By recognizing and acknowledging the importance of elements like zinc, we are not merely caring for our health but also acknowledging our intimate connection with the cosmos.

Ensure the presence of this humble element in your diet, not only as a step towards healthy living but also as a nod to your cosmic heritage. The zinc in us and the zinc in the stars are one and the same. We are all dancing to the same symphony of existence, an ode to the universe and life itself.

Michael J. Loomis & ChatGPT

The Loomis Lichen Epithelial Cancer Hypothesis: A Simplified Summary

The essay is about an idea called the “Loomis Lichen Cancer Hypothesis” which talks about the relationship between a kind of multipartner(multicellular, multispecies) organism called lichen and humans and how it might affect human health, especially what we call cancer.

For a fuller treatment of this summary.

Firstly, what is lichen? A lichen is like a super-team or grouping of two or more tiny organisms that help each other out. This includes a fungus and a kind of algae or bacteria. Algae are like plants that live in water-based environments and bacteria are tiny, single-celled organisms. Remember, the human body is about 60% water. The lichen team is very diverse, with potentially up to 30,000 different kinds!

One kind of algae that’s important in human lichens is called Prototheca. These algae are interesting because they lack chlorophyll, which most plants and algae use to make food through photosynthesis. Instead, Prototheca feed off the organic material around them, which lets them live in lots of different environments, throughout the human body.

Now, this is where it gets a bit more complex. Some Prototheca species can cause diseases in people, especially those with weaker immune systems. They can cause skin problems or more serious diseases affecting different organs in the body. This makes them an important area to research, especially since they’ve developed resistance to some medicines used to treat infections.

Prototheca algae have some harmful compounds too. Some of these can damage our liver or nerves or cause cell death. But remember, not all algae produce toxins and those that do might not always produce them.

We have lichen living on the human body. We’re talking about real lichen that live on the skin, adapting to the changing environment of the body. These lichens come in different forms, like flat leaf-like ones or more branched, bush-like ones.

Lichens on the body also have a way to reproduce. They produce little parts that can break off and grow into new lichens elsewhere on the body. They can even make special chemicals that help them fight off other bacteria or fungi, and survive the body’s immune responses.

So, while the idea of lichens on our body might seem a bit strange, it’s actually a fascinating area of study. Understanding how these tiny organisms live and interact with us could help us understand more about our health and potentially find new ways to treat diseases.