It’s not the virus

By Hermann Bellinghausen

The crisis of the virus is here to stay and leave sequelae. Its prevalence will be greater than the mere seasonal flu, and it foreshadows a time where viral infections and other new ills will rain more and more, and they won’t be as unpredictable as the governments, churches and media would have us believe. 

As the quarantines and the resistances to it unfold, the returns to a new future, the need to come to terms with the idea of too many changes to daily life, one also acquires a perspective of the numbers of deaths, of injured and disappeared, like in a war. A greater realism in the face of death itself, its other causes, its other statistics, allows us to relativize (normalize?) the psychological and health impacts caused by Covid-19 as it passes through the world.

As many or more die of cancer, hunger, afflictions associated with the absurdities of consumption, the brutal damage to the environment, or for the wars, almost all of which are criminal. With other data we are reassured: ahh yes, we are already screwed, it is up to all of us. Silvia Ribeiro never stops warning us in these very pages and in others, like Desinformémonos, about the pandemics that are coming, the imminent paths of all our poisons. 

In a world in which staying healthy becomes increasingly difficult, even though the advances in medicine would seem to indicate the contrary, it is clear that the big loser is allopathic or scientific medicine. As a source of thinking, not of mere knowledge. It preferred the foolishness of power to the collective good. It rejected prevention as the base of its actions. It embraced the effects and disdained the causes. The breaking point was forged 40 years ago, when another allopathy seemed possible, but instead it steered toward the logic of budding neoliberalism. 

The notion that health depended on taking care of it, rather than curing ailments, won ground in the schools, hospitals and institutions. More family doctors and less hyper-specialists. More care in daily life of the body and mind and less industrial medications. More and better first class services and less white elephants for people who could not avoid getting sick. On the contrary, there was a pact between the medical guild and the pharmaceutical industry, an overgrown monster in the stock market, mostly for economic reasons (the vile business) as well as military and political.

Allopathy erected walls to isolate and devalue any other thought or practice before the clinical case and its construction of human well-being. The world was inundated with medications/drugs that as much save as kill, relieve as worsen, that rarely prevent, and are an illness in themselves (there is even a Green word for this: iatrogeny). Instead of taking advantage of these myriad different paths, that would not have to be rivals, institutionalized medicine denied any alliance with approaches which were homeopathic, acupuncture, holistic, shamanic, where magic comes from experience and not the other way around. Nor did it agree to reform its approach from a curative to a preventative one, according to the prudent perceptions of Pasteur, Ehrilch, et al. Health problems could be prevented or moderated, with results that were both better for life and cheaper. 

Ariel Guzik is one of the most interesting minds in Mexico today. Iridologist, inventor, scientist, and musician that works with the sounds and songs of Nature (wind, water, whales, electromagnetic fields), in a recent text reflects on the pandemic and reads in it plot an utterance of the human naivety and capacity for submission. As for the viruses themselves, he concludes that they are but traces at the scene of the crime. He points out that the declaration of a pandemic that suddenly determines and blurs our lives, and from one day to the next eclipses calamities, punishes encounters and silences verbal expression has been managed through the media from the narrow and circular perspective of the virus, control and numbers. It exalts the imaginaries that we have forged from the vast preparatory universe of fiction. I think it is necessary to exonerate the virus from its role as the sole cause and central focus of this phenomenon: del-llanto/

From his experience in herbalism and traditional medicines, Guzik questions the conception that we have of the pandemic, of our surrender to what is presented to us as rational. His writing makes sense in a a situation directed by the reason of the State, the cost and benefit for the markets, the repressive controly, the focused and medicalized combat of a biological event that takes place in diverse dimensions.

We are entering into a new era of health and illness that redraws the faces of life, death and the desirable good life. It is urgent to think everything through anew, before it is too late. The problem is not the virus, but rather what makes possible all that it unleashes.

This opinion piece was originally published in Spanish by La Jornada on July 27, 2020. This English interpretation has been re-published by Schools for Chiapas.

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