Sizes of systems

One of the things that have really gotten to me (it always happens, no matter what I’m studying, but to me it has a particularly intense force when it concerns the human body) during the last few days of studying immunology (which is so complex I barely know what I’m talking about) is how smart the body is. How intricately designed it is, and how weird it is that we mainly focus on that blob of fat sitting in our cranial cavity when we speak about intelligence and sophisticated development.


Guys, I have news. The whole body is like that. Our conscious minds are probably the stupidest, most narrow and restricted part of our bodies. Although I do believe that there’s infinite potential locked up in that finite space (creds to miss East for this epic expression). Nevertheless, I was doing some readings, studying health systems as I felt like I needed a break from the immunology to let it sink in for a hot second, aaand – drumroll – I got… SIDETRACKED! That never happened before!


Systems. Systems biology. Health systems are concerned with the human life on this planet. It’s pretty important that they work. As the WHO Director-General said: “healthy human capital is the very foundation for [human?] productivity & prosperity”. I’d like to get into talking about the environment here, but must. not. be. sidetracked. yet. The thing is that in medicine these days, we don’t do systems. We do little interventions in parts of some system. But all the systems in our bodies (respiratory, neurological, circulatory, endocrine, urinary, musculoskeletal, reproductive) communicate with each other, they are interdependent, they work together so that we’ll survive, grow, develop, adapt, and thrive. They respond to feedback from within and from without. If provided with adequate preconditions and if allowed to work without being constantly overwhelmed and interfered, the system of systems will keep the majority of us alive and kicking for quite a while. As a whole entity, the body extends into it’s environment, and form other, bigger systems like family, social circles, communities, countries, and so on and so forth.


A biological system, such as each and every one of us, is both a participant and a creator of social systems, which have many attributes that resemble those of biological systems. There is a whole lot of interconnectedness going on, whether or not we realize it, or “believe” in it, or discard it as coincidence (by the way – those don’t exist; CO INCIDENCE = things that happen at the same time -> at any given moment, all things that are happening are happening at the same time. Therefore coincidences are simply the way the world is?).


So that was from human to world. Mindblowing. But even more so, I think, is from human to within human. Again, the immune system, infinitely complex. Even if we just choose to look at one type of white blood cell, T cells for example, then it’s still not even remotely close to being simple. The stuff is like science fiction. I can’t go into it right now. Brain drain.


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