THEOSOPHY, Vol. 19, No. 1, November, 1930
(Pages 6-12; Size: 21K)
SHOULD OUR CHILDREN BE "IMMUNIZED"?
THE parent of today is early brought to face this question, all too often with no background of facts on which an intelligent decision could be based, and ofttimes with not even the faintest inkling that this well-countenanced act, performed in a few moments, might lead to a series of undreamed-of future effects pregnant with evil for the child whom it is so desired to protect.
Smallpox, Diphtheria, Typhoid fever, are indeed major nightmares in the host of possibilities which every child must face, and we are told that these diseases are preventable, that only through ignorance and prejudice of parents are they possible today at all. A simple vaccination, runs the insistence of the majority of our doctors, costs but a few dollars, is absolutely harmless, and our children are preserved inviolate from the ravages of these scourges. Is it so easy as that? Wonderful. Let's have vaccines for all other physical ailments! This opens up whole vistas of possibilities; nothing is impossible to our Modern Science. Why not go a step further and compound substances to eliminate the alarming tendencies we see developing in our children? Let's have a vaccine immunizing junior against rebellious tantrums, and one to protect sister against "flapperism". And why not some kind of inoculation to stimulate mental activity, and increase capacity by promoting abnormal growth of the brain cells?(1) Why not, if man is simply a piece of machinery, and if disease, tendencies, capacities, even consciousness itself is but the result of chemical action in the organism? But, here we must pause. Is it? The real question, in this as in all other problems pertaining to Life, simmers down to -- What is Man?
Theosophy, and Theosophy alone, gives an explanation of the complete man, an explanation which continually eludes Science, studying the body as a mechanism and ignoring the Soul; it equally eludes Religion speculating on the nature of Soul on the basis, and translated into the terms of, bodily existence. Man, says this ancient teaching, is a Soul, and periodically exists in and works through a physical body or form constructed of conscious transmuted "lives" drawn from all the kingdoms of nature, mineral, vegetable, and animal. Granting for a moment that this is so -- and certainly every experience of life, every grain of tangible evidence collected by our Science confirms it -- what might be the effect of introducing into the naturally congregated hosts of chemically balanced lives composing this body, a rapidly multiplying swarm of invaders from the animal kingdom, without subjecting them to the natural transforming processes of the bodily functions?
Our physicians tell us in one breath that practically all of our virulent diseases are caused by germ-cells, bacteria, or infusoria inimical to the orderly functions of the body, gaining entrance, multiplying, and either assuming ascendancy -- in which case the body is destroyed -- or, defending substances are produced by the body which nullify or completely destroy the inimical disease germs, in which case we have a recovery. In the next breath they tell us that by experiment on living animals, serums (i.e., products containing animal germ-cells, bacteria, and infusoria) have been produced which, if injected into the blood stream, will cause the rapid production of anti-bodies ("defending germ-cells") to a point where the virulent disease germ is annihilated immediately on entrance, without waiting for the natural production by the body of its own defenders. Can the medical profession say absolutely that these germ-cells, bacteria, and infusoria, so easily injected directly into the blood stream, cease their natural tendency to multiply when sufficient antibodies have been produced to repel the specific disease for which they were intended? Do they know whether or not these animal cells produce denizens in the blood-stream of the man other than those intended? Since the body is so constructed that no substance can, except by unnatural means, enter the blood-stream without being chemically altered (metabolism) and, in a healthy body, made to conform to the existing chemical balance of the blood, can they assure us that this deliberate unbalancing by intravenous injection will not cause an alteration in the future which in itself might be far worse than the original disease which it was desired to prevent?
We depend, and rightly so, on the acquired knowledge and experience of our medical profession in times of physical illness, but the layman, like his highly trained medical brother, is after all a human being, and taking stock of his own nature by means of which some insight into human nature in general is gained, he knows full well that any man, particularly when influenced by authority, is apt to regard some things as proven facts when, in reality, they are but hypotheses inferred from some fact perfectly true in itself, but not necessarily a verification for the structure of theory erected around it. A brief study of the methods and results obtained from vaccination points all too plainly to the pitiful fact that the thousands of experiments upon living animals, the inoculations with organic and inorganic compounds, the painstaking research, has only served to prove one single item, namely: that certain substances or organisms injected into the blood-streams effectually destroy specific organisms existing in that blood-stream. The nature and composition of other organisms or compounds created, and their effects on the future well-being of the individual, have been almost entirely ignored. Imbued with the fixed idea of exterminating one single type of identified germ-cell, the ramifications growing out of the methods used have so far been overlooked. Our children may some day anxiously seek the causes of strange, baffling and insidious diseases which already are beginning to make their appearance in the human race.
In the light of the distressing experiences suffered by large numbers of army veterans whose bodies en masse offered perhaps the greatest living human experimental laboratory ever known, let us see just how thoroughly our scientists have investigated this question, and whether in their (and our) efforts to sidestep certain diseases, we may not be incurring the damage of far worse effects.
Floyd L. Darrow, in a non-technical work "The Story of Chemistry" published in 1928, delineates the progress of modern medical science in the prevention of disease:"We no longer recklessly experiment upon a human being with some untested drug of doubtful effect. Armies of guinea pigs, mice and rabbits have been impressed into service. Their bodies become living laboratories in which the scientist makes discoveries of the utmost moment. And these discoveries hinge upon chemical changes in the organism, often little understood, and yet holding in the balance the issue of life or death."A most interesting account is here given of the researches of Paul Ehrlich, an eye-opener indeed for all to whom the term "medical science" means an infallible and all encompassing guide to the mysteries of the human body. Here was a man possessed of a single notion to the exclusion of all else, "searching for a remedy with which to slaughter a microbe which he did not know existed, and almost by accident stumbling upon the greatest chemico-medical discovery made in half a century." The modern branch of medicine known as serum-therapy is based almost entirely on Ehrlich's theories. To quote briefly:
"The first great triumph of medical science was Jenner's discovery of vaccination against smallpox in 1796.... the changes effected in the blood of the patient are chemical, but neither their nature nor the composition of the active principle is understood. Such is also true of the vaccines and antitoxins developed in more recent years.""One day in the eighties ... Ehrlich ... conceived the idea of injecting a dyestuff into the blood-stream of a living animal. Into the ear vein of a rabbit, he shot a little of his favorite dye .... To his amazement, the dye coursed through the blood of the creature, staining nothing but the ends of the nerve fibres. It was this selective action of the dye in staining just one tissue out of hundreds which started Ehrlich on his quest. 'Suppose,' he mused, 'I could find a dye which would select for death the microbes in the human system, but leave the tissues unharmed.'" From then until 1909 he lived with but this single thought. Money, the efforts of capable assistants, and thousands of mice and guinea pigs were used in his search for a specific dye to kill the microbe trypanasomes. Finally, after eliminating other substances, six hundred and five derivatives of the arsenic compound atoxyl had been tried on infected mice. "Some it cured, only to bring on a worse malady or to afflict the little beasts with an insane propensity to dance." And then the six hundred and sixth compound was made. It killed the trypanasomes and apparently left no after effects. Thus was born the only specific we know today, outside of quinine for malaria. From this came salvarsan, the famous "606" specific for syphilis. "At last Ehrlich had found a chemical compound ... which injected into the blood stream, would course through the veins, meting out death to a particular species of microbes ... yet doing no injury to the tissues ... Why this selective property of the drug is a mystery. And why it will destroy one tribe of microbes and have no effect upon all others is also a mystery.... Salvarsan does this in almost 100% of the cases. Occasionally, occurs the exception that proves the rule. Again, no one knows why."A little later on, referring to a new synthetic specific for malaria, it is stated "It is interesting to recall that a few years ago the discovery was made that paresis -- up to that time regarded as incurable, could be checked by infecting the patient with malaria. The two kinds of microbes could not live side by side in the same blood-stream."
Enough has been quoted it seems, to show, first, that inoculation is not quite the mathematically exact process which a large number of laymen believe it to be; and second, that chemical alterations in the blood-stream, artificially induced, quite possibly lead to a long series of additional alterations, the ultimate effects of which are totally unknown to our modern experimenters.
The statement made in regard to paresis and malaria is thought-provoking. Who can say but what some of the diseases whose effects we are frantic to avoid actually hold back from us far greater evils? Does this mean submission to every ill that afflicts mankind, with no effort to alleviate the suffering? By no means. But do we suppose that this complicated body has assumed its present stature by accident? Can we not see that every organ, every cell in fact, has its appointed duty and purpose? The blood-stream is chemically and organically the product of the food we eat, the air we breathe, and as some of our scientists are even beginning to suspect, the emotions and thoughts playing upon our consciousness. We are in contact at some time during our physical existence with practically every disease-carrier (germ, microbe, infusoria, or what not) known to mankind. Why are we not dead many times over? Some individuals will not take a virulent disease such as smallpox, for example, even though exposed under favorable conditions. The chemical composition of the blood exterminated the invading germs, reason our scientists. They seek the analysis of the defending substance so that by injection the blood-streams of all individuals may be made to conform. The theory is excellent, but what of the method? There is a world of difference between drugs taken through the digestive or respiratory apparatus as a stimulus or aid to natural bodily functions, and direct injection of animal or synthetic compounds into the blood-stream itself. Right thinking, the precursor of right living, will in time produce in any individual a blood-stream immune to every disease. But what a laborious process! How much easier to have compounds prepared in some laboratory, distributed in neat glass bottles, and injected directly into the blood in carefully regulated quantities, achieving instantly alterations which would involve, if done naturally, self-discipline, introspection, and a certain amount of suffering!
If, however, Karma, the inherent tendency in the universe to restore equilibrium, the balancing of effect against cause, is perceived to be the fact which it is, the net result of such an endeavor to alter a natural effect by unnatural means should exact additional effects which in their entirety will completely offset the original cause. The attempt to purchase immunity in advance for diseases to which we might become susceptible owing to faulty living in the past or the future, by the injection of animal cells into the blood is quite likely to prove a "boomerang" of the worst description. Some idea of the dangers incurred is given in the researches of Dr. Mainwairing of Stanford University. In the "Scientific Monthly" for October, 1927, and in "Science" for June 21 and July 5, 1929, he gives the results of experiments showing that germ proteins of serums hybridize with body proteins to form new substances, half animal and half human. He thinks that this cross breeding between the germ-cells goes on probably so long as the individual lives; that the characteristics of the cellular products resulting may be protective, may increase susceptibility, may alter bodily resistance, or might be physiologically inert; further, that supposed non-toxic bacteria sometimes hybridize with serum albumen to form specific poisons.
Leaving entirely out of the question ethical and moral aspects, and all reflections on the probable cause and value to the individual of disease as a check to wrong action, it seems perfectly clear that more probabilities exist for than against the idea that serum-therapy, at best, only substitutes a host of future possibilities for a doubtful present benefit. Dr. Mainwairing states that no immunological hypothesis of the past half-century has been verified in over five per cent of the observed clinical cases.
Among the medical profession some forward looking individuals are already beginning to question the wisdom of artificial inhibition in one direction, only to scatter and bring forth later the same effect in different and ofttimes more misery producing forms. Dr. Alexis Carrel of the Rockefeller Institute expresses the idea clearly. He says:"Although the adult individual has much fewer chances of dying from smallpox, cholera, tuberculosis or typhoid fever than fifty years ago ... he surely has more prospect of being tortured by some form of cancer, afflicted with slow diseases of the kidneys, the circulatory apparatus, the endrocine (ductless) glands, of becoming insane, suffering from nervous diseases, or of making himself miserable by his lack of judgment or vices."When we see that Life is in reality One, and that just as each particle of our physical form affects all other particles, so every thought, every feeling, every act of the individual alters definitely that ocean of lesser "lives" in which he lives, moves, and has his being, we will regard this entire question of disease in a different light. The body as a mechanism reflecting the entire past existence of the individual using it -- to be kept in order and repaired in case of violent accident -- is one thing; and the regarding of that body (as advocates of serum-therapy do) as the cause of disease is quite another. We might as well endeavor to alter the personal idiosyncrasies of the driver of an automobile by changes in the mechanism of the automobile as to endeavor to eliminate human suffering by unnatural remedies applied to the physical body.
Shall our children be immunized? By all means. Let us endeavor with all our power to immunize them forever against the possibility that their view-point of Life may become so perverted that they will, in a frenzy of fear over "effects not yet come," offer their life-blood as a breeding ground for untold hosts of animal lives.
COMPILER'S NOTE: The following is a separate item which followed the above article but was on the same page. I felt it was useful to include it here:
DANGERS OF HYPNOSIS
The process of hypnotizing is as yet unknown in respect to what does happen to the molecules. We claim that those molecules are pressed from periphery to center instead of being expanded from the inside to the surface. This contraction is one of the symptoms of death, and therefore hypnotizing is a long step toward physical and moral death. The view expressed by Dr. Charcot that a subject is liable to fall under the influence at the hands of anyone should be admitted, as also that in the wake of the hypnotizer will be found a host of hysteriacs, and that it all should be regulated by law is unquestionable. I go still further and say that many persons are already in a half-hypnotized state, easily influenced by the unprincipled or the immoral; that the power to hypnotize and to be sensitive to it are both progressive states of our racial evolution; that it can and will be used for selfish, wicked, and degrading purposes unless the race, and especially the occidental portion of it, understands and practises true ethics based on the brotherhood of man. Ethics of the purest are found in the words of Jesus, but are universally negatived by Church, State, and individual. The Theosophical doctrines of man and nature give a true and necessary basis and enforcement to ethics, devoid of favoritism or illogical schemes of eternal damnation. And only through those doctrines can the dangers of hypnotism be averted, since legislation, while affixing penalties, will not alter or curtail private acts of selfishness and greed.
--William Q. Judge
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ONE (1) FOOTNOTE LISTED BELOW:
(1) Practically these same things are already being attempted in the new experiments with injections of isolated secretions from the ductless glands.
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