Give people a sugar pill, they have shown, and those patients – especially if they have one of the chronic, stress-related conditions that register the strongest placebo effects and if the treatment is delivered by someone in whom they have confidence – will improve. Tell someone a normal milkshake is a diet beverage, and his gut will respond as if the drink were low fat. Take athletes to the top of the Alps, put them on exercise machines and hook them to an oxygen tank, and they will perform better than when they are breathing room air – even if room air is all that’s in the tank. Wake a patient from surgery and tell him you’ve done an arthroscopic repair, and his knee gets better even if all you did was knock him out and put a couple of incisions in his skin. Give a drug a fancy name, and it works better than if you don’t.

You don’t even have to deceive the patients. You can hand a patient with irritable bowel syndrome a sugar pill, identify it as such and tell her that sugar pills are known to be effective when used as placebos, and she will get better, especially if you take the time to deliver that message with warmth and close attention. Depression, back pain, chemotherapy-related malaise, migraine, post-traumatic stress disorder: The list of conditions that respond to placebos – as well as they do to drugs, with some patients – is long and growing. (1)

Fool yourself that you will live.

And you will.

Fool yourself that you will gain knowledge.

And you will.

Fool yourself that you die.

And you will.

But tell me. Why did you need to fool yourself in the first place?

Yes, at the end you will be healed.

But no one can ever be healed.

Unless he wasn’t sick in the first place…

At the end, even the healed ones will die.

While Nature is laughing at their anguish.

Look at yourself in awe.

Can you laugh while crying?

Doctors. AI. Dead people.

Could machines using artificial intelligence make doctors obsolete?

Artificial intelligence systems simulate human intelligence by learning, reasoning, and self-correction. This technology has the potential to be more accurate than doctors at making diagnoses and performing surgical interventions, says Jörg Goldhahn, MD, MAS, deputy head of the Institute for Translational Medicine at ETH Zurich, Switzerland.

It has a “near unlimited capacity” for data processing and subsequent learning, and can do this at a speed that humans cannot match.

Increasing amounts of health data, from apps, personal monitoring devices, electronic medical records, and social media platforms are being brought together to give machines as much information as possible about people and their diseases. At the same time machines are “reading” and taking account of the rapidly expanding scientific literature. (1)

We believe computers can replace doctors.

But doctors are not here to keep us alive.

They are here to discuss with the dead.

No matter how much data you analyze, you will always miss the point.

That our life is not our own.

And that we are not here to avoid death.

But to embrace it.

A computer cannot help you live.

Simply because it can never die…

Coronavirus. Human arrogance. Death.

Photo by GEORGE DESIPRIS from Pexels

Just before the coronavirus outbreak in China, we all were reading great articles and scientific announcements about how science will soon beat even death and make us immortal…

Now we know that the giant we believed in had legs of clay. Now we are collectively trying to survive from a virus in the midst of a worldwide panic.

It is not possible to avoid defeats and mistakes.

But it is possible to be arrogant enough not to learn from them.

Oh, you arrogant men.

You want so much to live.

That you fail to see.

That the only way to be immortal.

Is to accept death…

Coronavirus epidemic. Hand washing. The art of simple. And other ‘little things’…

According to scientists, to fight an epidemic, focus on hand washing. (1)

An advice which came into light just as the epidemic of the coronavirus is gaining momentum.

We have been so much focused on high-tech and elaborate methods of dealing with diseases, that we have forgotten the greatest weapon we ever devised against disease in the first place: Hygiene. And despite our best efforts, even today this still remains our best and most effective weapon.

It is the simple things.

The things we have forgotten.

In a cosmos with the best medical technology, nothing can prevent a virus if people do not wash their hands. In the most developed nation, nothing can save you if there are not sewers. In an era with methods for advanced gene editing available, people can still die for not having soap.

If philosophy can teach us something, anything, this is humility. The ability to look at the simplest things and still stare in awe. If philosophy can teach us something is lack of fear towards the storm. For even in the face of the greatest one, we can dare to say “I am the storm”.

Wash your hands.

Think small.

Those little things.

There is nothing bigger, as David Aames used to say…

Against Abortions – Summary of arguments

Photo by Spiros Kakos from Pexels

Modern civilization is the civilization of “rights”. And this entails the non-existence of any “obligations”. The abortions case is the best example illustrating such a way of thinking.

Abortions are seen today as a “human right”. Never before had anything so dark been painted with so glorious colors. Never before had such an unethical action been characterized as exactly the opposite (i.e. ethical).

In short, abortion is another word for saying “kill a baby in the womb”.
There is no debate for that. It is what it is. Even the hardest of proponents of abortions cannot really refute this self-evident truth. There is a baby in the womb and then a doctor (although I would really be hesitant to call someone who does something like that a “doctor”) comes, tears the baby in pieces and then there is no baby. As simple as that. In some other cases, as it was presented during the Planned Parenthood trial in 2019, the baby is taken out of the womb alive and left out to simply die.

So again: Abortion is another word for saying “kill a baby in the womb”.

The question is: Could that be a “right” of someone today?

Modern death-loving civilization says yes. Because modern civilization is a civilization without Christianity and, thus, without ethics. Because ethics cannot be something which is based on personal opinion or on the preferences of the majority. And yet, this is what modern civilization believes. We have built our society on moving sand; what is ethical and what is not is merely the opinion of the many. And most people today do not want obligations, they want rights.

Related article: The source of ethics

A right to live your life as you wish. A right to do whatever you want. A right to kill babies. No, the modern man or woman does not even consider this as something problematic, since they have been accustomed to living within a context of total freedom. And there is nothing that the free man (or woman) has to worry about! It is his life (her life… its life… you know, pronouns don’t matter anymore… this is another great achievement of our civilization) and he will live it as he wants! (yes, men can get pregnant too, haven’t you heard about it?)

But enough is enough.

And even if Harmonia Philosophica is usually dealing with the most complex of existential philosophical and metaphysical problems, today is the day when we will deal with something much more important: Life. Life as we experience it here on this planet, as a baby experiences it in the womb of its mother (no, men cannot get pregnant!), as a baby feels it while it gets brutally torn apart because its mother does not want to have the obligation to raise and prefers to chill out drinking martinis instead. And yes, there are also more difficult cases where abortion (killing of babies) could seem as a potential option and these cases are also addressed below. Because at the end, it does not matter how good philosophers we are if we miss the evil that is sitting right next to us. At the end it doesn’t matter if we formulate a better ontological argument for the existence of God if we fail to see the babies killed right next to us.

The list below holds some arguments against killing of babies (abortion). The goal is to make it as clear as possible for everyone that abortion is evil in every sense. Again, this is just to inform of the arguments and by no means a way to impose anything; if the article here touches anyone is a whole other story. But even if it doesn’t, I care not. I just need to say this.

Summary of arguments against abortion

  • My body! No, it is not “your” body: The baby is not yours. It is another separate organism with its own DNA! So no, you do not have any right of life or death over it. (actually you do not have a life or death right over anyone)
  • What about women who get raped? Rape is a horrible crime. But the answer to it is not abortion. The answer to a rape is the apprehension of whoever did it, his trial and his sentencing to prison after he is found guilty. Not the killing of another third person (the baby) who has nothing to with the crime! Killing a baby won’t make the rape go away or the woman feel any better. Such cases are difficult enough on their own; adding the killing of a baby will not make things any better for the unfortunate woman who experienced such a crime.
  • It is not alive! Define “life” then. Because if something which breaths, has all the human organs and also exhibits brain function is not ‘alive’ for you, then we have a serious gap in understanding the obvious that we need to bridge. If you doubt about a baby being alive, why not doubt if you are alive too?
  • It is legal! Sure it is. That doesn’t make it right or ethical! Remember that the Nazis had passed a law for the killing of Jews. So all those killings of Jews during the Holocaust were done in the context of a law of the state. Does that make these killing right? Ethics is not based on what is legal. Another good example is the discrimination against black people in the US in the recent past. Again this was done with state laws! And again, this was utterly and completely unethical! No the laws are not a moral compass, they are just a snapshot of the way people in a society think at a given point in time.
  • Most people agree that abortions are a human right! So most people are wrong. This would not be the first time. The majority of people today are atheists and materialists as per the requirements or our deeply anti-christian era. So citing them as an argument is actually nothing more than citing Germany’s 1940’s writings as an argument for killing Jews.
  • What about children with disabilities? What about them? Would you kill someone for being deaf? Would you kill a baby if you learned it will be blind? Congratulations, you just killed Andrea Bocelli. Even children with Down syndrome are now able to study at the university. Is it difficult for the parents? Sure it is. Extremely difficult in most cases. I wouldn’t wish that experience to anyone. Nobody said otherwise. But facing difficulties does not justify murder. Eugenics is not the answer to problems. Unless of course you are a Nazi.
  • If the mother is in danger, we should abort! So you are saying essentially that when my life is in danger I can kill someone else to save my life. This could be an option for some, but not for others. And this option is getting harder when this other is your own child. If the parents are ready to kill their own children to save their lives (while the opposite should be the norm) then we are talking for some seriously dystopian era we live in. I am not saying that this is an easy option. But again my personal opinion and my personal fear of death do not define what is right or wrong here. And yes, there are cases where the mother sacrificed her own life to save her unborn child! (see here)
  • Babies are killed in a humane way! Well, actually there is no such argument by the abortion-lovers. I just wanted to mention this again because it is a point which makes the absurdity of the pro-abortion arguments even more cruel. Babies, as I mentioned above, are killed in the most gruesome way. To the contrary, animals are killed today in much more humane ways. How can abortion proponents know the absolutely horrible ways babies are killed and still support abortion? This is really beyond my comprehension!

It is possible that the above change the mind of someone who reads them, although I doubt that will be the case. Whoever reads such arguments in such articles, has already made his or her mind.

But even if only one person thinks differently after reading this article, that would be enough…

Because it is not your body.

And if you are really true to yourself…

It is not even “your” life…

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