The Most Important Defense Against Any Virus

It’s your immune system.

But it’s more complicated than that. 

It’s time to rethink how we think about health. Right now. 

“It is far more important to know what person the disease has than what disease the person has.”
Hippocrates

Why do you think Hippocrates said that? In modern days, medicine is treated with the band-aid approach. If you get sick, only then, you go to the doctor and think about health, until you’re better off again to get back to normal life. A normal life that statistically, is far from healthy. 

Hippocrates’s idea of health was different from today’s as he believed that health was not something to think about only once it was lost, but rather all the time so that it wasn’t lost in the first place.

He believed in healthy people, emotionally as well as physically, all the time. And really, why the hell would you want to live your life any other way than that? 

The approach our modern medical system takes towards health is honestly, insulting. I mean, as in this moment, you are not allowed to go outside your house for almost anything other than buying groceries, (It’s all for your health! We are about you…) but at the same time, you can order freaking heart-attack inducing, immune system compromising Mcdonald’s, Burger King or whatever other crappy food that you know, in your heart (pun intended), is in any way good for you. 

General current advice is to wash your hands, stay home and use hand sanitizer. But how much advice have you received about your most important, in fact, your only weapon against the coronavirus, the immune system? 

Almost nothing. Isn’t that ludicrous? 

Hippocrates would be furious right now. The majority of people that are dying are people with a previous, unnecessary disease, like diabetes or hypertension. Most people that are dying could have lived if they’d only had a lifestyle that would keep them healthy and functional. 

Eat well, do exercise and lower your stress levels. You know this, really, is that simple. 

A sick society 

It’s infuriating to watch the world go down over perfectly preventable problems. Again, Hippocrates would be mad furious if he were alive to see this.

I have a question. How do you think the pharmaceutical industry makes money? 

Please, read the following segment from The Guardian in the UK: 

In the UK, the pharmaceutical trade is the third most profitable activity after finance and — this will surprise you if you live here — tourism. We spend £7bn a year on pharmaceutical drugs, and 80% of that goes on patented drugs — medicines released in the last 10 years. In 2002, the 10 US drug companies on the Fortune 500 list had combined international sales of $217bn (£106.6bn).

They spent only 14% of that money on research and development, but 31% on marketing and administration.

No wonder eating healthy is not as popular as eating a Big Mac and having a Xanax. If you’re happy and healthy with exercise, good food, mindfulness, or reading material that will make you more aware and appreciative of life, it’s bad business. 

They need you sick, tired, scared and depressed so that they can offer “solutions” to your preventable problems (shhhh don’t let them know they are preventable!) and cash in more and more and more money. 

It’s absolutely bloody disgusting, isn’t it? 

So there you have it, and now, we are all inside our houses because there’s a bug outside that due to our shitty way of living, is going to kill, excuse me, is not going, it’s actually killing thousands of persons. 

Ok, enough of unstoic complaining. Let’s get to the solutions, shall we? 

First, temperance. 

“You ask what is the proper limit to a person’s wealth? First, having what is essential, and second, having what is enough.” —  Seneca

Temperance is one of the four cardinal Stoic virtues. It is the capacity to say no. It is the capacity to be free from want and to practice your freedom. 

Hear this, you don’t go to Mcdonald’s or you grab a bag of Doritos out of your free will. 

You may think that you do so out of your own volition, but the reality is that you’ve been lured into doing it by marketing. The crappy food being sold is filled with sugar and grease, two things towards which your brain responds intensely because you are biologically predisposed to do so. Back in the day, when food was scarce, a piece of greasy meat meant living for another week. 

Adding to that, marketing is used to literally create necessity out of nothing. Adidas, Nike, Domino’s pizza or whatever. 

Gucci sales are down, you know why? Cause nobody gives one fuck about wearing Gucci if no one is there to see that they are wearing Gucci. By now, I thought I could have Mcfly’s awesome self-drying jacket from Back to the Future, but no! We only have fast fashion so that I can buy something new every week just to throw it away because I feel out of fashion. Hahahaha, it’s just comical. 

You think you buy things out of your own choices. Please, don’t be naive. You are constantly being baited and the magic of the equation is to think that you are doing it because of you and your decisions. 

But most of what you do you do out of the need to feel validated by other people. 

This is not freedom of course. Eating crappy food makes you feel like crap, just as uploading a picture to Instagram and checking every 10 seconds how much hearts you’ve received makes you feel hollow and weirdly empty. 

Nevertheless, you are hooked to it. 

If we were sensible people, we would rather eat something healthier EVEN CHEAPER from a market and you would feel happier, better, and we wouldn’t be in the shit storm we are now. 

If we were sensible, we would rather engage in conversation with an interesting person on the street to fulfill our need to socialize, instead of being hooked on the Tinder Slot Machine of Love. 

The stoics knew better. 

The ability to say no, the virtue of temperance, is the ability to be free from petty wants, to discover them for what they are and to practice your freedom. It’s incredible how people will not even notice you if you’re eating a whopper in the street, but at the same time, if they see you eating a raw cucumber, they will look at you funny. 

You are not free when you cannot say no. 

You are not free when you walk with the masses. Walking with the masses feels normal, hey everyone else is doing it right? But that doesn’t mean it’s right, just look at the mess we’re in. 

We need to change the direction we’re walking towards. You do this by learning to say no and to act with temperance. 

Think for yourself. No one cares about you more than you do. Please do yourself a favor and care a bit more about yourself. 

Temperance is the first step. 

“Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Second, Courage. 

“Fear cuts deeper than swords.”
George R.R. Martin

The news, the lovely news. 

Just like the pharmaceutical makes more money with you being sick, the media makes more money with you being scared. 

The news are specially crafted to hook you up to them like a heroin addict. They make you think that you need to constantly be there, watching, else you’ll skip crucial information that will most likely leave you dead if you don’t consume it. 

But, do you know what is more dangerous than skipping a crucial news bite about how to keep yourself safe? FEAR. 

THIS CONSTANT STATE OF FEAR WILL KILL YOU EVEN FASTER. 

Fear isn’t inherently bad, of course not. If you and I go on a Safari, and our truck dies, and we lose our guns, and we stumble upon a big angry lion, would fear be bad then? 

Hell no, that hectic fear would pump your legs with so much blood you’d be able to beat the marathon hour record.

Fear is good, under the appropriate circumstances. 

Now, whereas it is good to have your legs full of blood when a lion is about to eat you, it is certainly stupid to pump your legs with blood while you are lying down with your computer on your chest watching the terrible daily news or The Tiger King on Netflix. 

The adrenal system and the immunological system. 

The body has priorities and it also has limited energy. 

When you need adrenaline and energy to fight or flee an external threat, such as a lion or a robber, it will divert its energy towards getting out of trouble, quick. At the same time, it will literally turn off your immune system because your immune system will not help a lot if you are already being eaten by a lion, will it? 

Don’t believe it? 

Hear this, when you’re having an organ transplant, your immune system needs to be turned off so that it doesn’t attack the new alien organ that’s being inserted into your body. 

Do you know how they solve this problem? 

They literally inject you with stress hormones (fear) so that your immune systems turn off and they can run the operation smoothly. 

Now, with the news having us in a constant state of fear, what do you think is happening to our immune systems? 

Exactly, they are turned off. 

Courage

This is why courage, another of the cardinal Stoic virtues is fundamental. 

Fear is about protection, about closing up, about doing nothing and saying no to life. It tightens you body, your stomach, slows your digestion and inflames your body. This is why exercise is so important, it lowers all those fear hormones so that you open up to life again. Plus, it feels freaking good. 

Courage opens you toward life. 

Life can be pretty shitty, as it is now for a lot of people. But life being shitty cannot stop you from choosing willingly to face whatever comes at you. 

Whereas fear locks you down and shuts down your immune system, courage opens you up to opportunity and possibility and strengthens your immune system. 

Think about this. If you know that you’ve got your back, if you know that you can rely on yourself, and adding to that, you prove it by eating good, doing exercise and figuring out how to best manage the situation you’re in, you’ll be able to feel at least hope about what’s happening. Because you are not letting it in the hands of someone else, but your own. That’s powerful.

You will automatically be calmer and more relaxed. Therefore, your immune system will be working as good as it can be working and no virus will have anything against you. 

Act with courage. 

“For the only safe harbour in this life’s tossing, troubled sea is to refuse to be bothered about what the future will bring and to stand ready and confident, squaring the breast to take without skulking or flinching whatever fortune hurls at us.”  Seneca

Finally, don’t be played

Please, please, don’t let yourself be played. 

Right now, more than at any other time in history, we have the opportunity to think about the way we live. About the things we find important. 

Eating healthy is important. Caring for each other is important. I mean, the fact that the minorities are getting sicker because of the poor conditions they are living in is heartbreaking. 

Money is being made out of human suffering and it has become a vicious, disgusting cycle. Keep them fat, keep them sick, keep them entertained, make money out of it.

Well, it crashed. 

It’s on you to decide if we’re going to keep living like this. It’s on your daily actions were you show if you’re free or not. 

Please, fo yourself, and for everyone else. Be free, be brave. 

Thanks for reading

Ricardo Guaderrema

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