Monday, January 6, 2014

World over Word : Penicillin's twelve lost years end with an (applied) ampoule , not an (theoretical) article ...

(Martin) Henry Dawson left no private papers, so his biography must be one of deeds not words.

It actually suits the man : he was a natural history type scientist, not a natural philosophy type.

He lived in the material world , not in the thrusting scientific elite's world of verbal jabs and written rhetorical skills.

No airey castles in Spain, only down to earth reality.

Dawson didn't earn our undying gratitude by writing academic papers about penicillin's potential, writing research grants about penicillin's potential or talking up penicillin's potential .

He merely, swiftly and silently,  stuck a needle full of the stuff he had made himself because Big Pharma won't , into a dying man and thereby ended penicillin's dozen years of drought.

No life has ever been saved by a peer-reviewed article alone - it takes hard work and real medicine at the end of a a real needle to do that.

Admire , if you must , Nobel Prize winning Alexander Fleming's verbal skills in publicly dismissing penicillin's use as a lifesaving agent for 14 wasted years.

But also  honour Dawson's silent skill in proving him wrong, by saving Charlie Aronson's life, 75 years ago next year ....

World over Will , 1939 - 1945 : Matter over Mind

By all contemporary accounts,  it was the lack of actual photos and movies of actual deaths (from anywhere inside the vast numbers of German concentration , POW and mass elimination camps) that prevented the many public verbal and written accounts of the Holocaust from being believed while it was happening.

After all, anti-Semitic acts and talk actually went up , not down,  in the Anglo-American world during WWII.

Many in the Allied camp - perhaps 25 % - seriously blamed the "Jew-dominated FDR government" for creating the war,  while many others accused Jews of shirking front line combat to remain home as war profiteers instead.

So it was the extensive newsreels of British or American troops examining the dead and dying , most mere skeletons, in the western concentration camps that finally got through to the Home Front doubters about the millions killed in the invisible  eastern extermination camps.

I suspect that it was less the fact of their deaths ( seventy million had already died from the war worldwide) than the pictures of their starved condition that finally got through to people.

All the detail-filled verbal and written contemporary accounts of the Holocaust , even when they came from the lips of people like Churchill  (not really regarded by anyone, not even Nazis, as 'a stooge of the Jews') were dismissed as mere artifacts of the will and the mind .

All the world's population had six long years to become used to the near total disconnect between what they could actually see at work or all around them, versus the public (verbal/written) propaganda  told about it.

But the mid to late 1945 newsreels were too long, too many and too varied to appear easily doctored  -- they were artifacts of the real world and of matter and they were readily and strongly believed.

What better proof then for my thesis that The mental Will might have started the war on all sides, but that it was The material World that actually won out in the end....?

Friday, January 3, 2014

Nature bowls last : Matter over Mind, 1939-1945

Sir Charles Lyell as intellectual godfather to Leni Riefenstahl's "Triumph of the Will".

Who would have known ?

But it was Sir Charles, in a 1863 book, who first summarily dismissed materialism as a philosophy with a single memorable phrase : "MIND OVER MATTER".

He opined that all the evidence from evolutionary progress ('ever onward to those broad sunlit uplands') indicated that the mind was gradually but steadily winning dominion over mere matter obstacles.

Oh yes, what Canadian can forget that 'dominion' was word de rigueur  for English language intellectuals in the sunny 1860s ?

'Mind over Matter' : Lyell's memorable catchphrase came to sum up Modernity's essence for the populations and leaders of the Allied, Axis and Neutral camps during WWII.

So, in its spirit, on the very first day of the war, headlines all the world over (incorrectly) blatted "German tanks maul Polish horses".

But in the dying days of the European phase of the war no such headlines came out, that by the Spring of 1945 , now "Polish horses haul German tanks".

The tanks were disguised as Polish peasant  haywagons, en route to their last role as hull down pillboxes in the battle for the German heartland.

The Germans had no more gasoline for the tanks and in any case had run out of engine spare parts to re-start them.

German morale was still high..... but motor oil supplies were very low.

In Japan : ditto, ditto.

There legions of schoolkids and grandmothers destroyed all the sacred pine trees they could find, all to extract the basis of very little, very crude, airplane gasoline from their roots.

The German tankers were desperate to get their tanks into hidden position before the Soviets arrived, but the Polish horses took their good old time, re-fueling along the sides of the road, eating the Spring's first tender shoots.

The war - for Germany at least - was no longer moving along at Man's Blitzkrieg tempo, but rather at Nature's own pace.

'Matter over Mind' , at last ....

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Nature bowls last , 1939-1945

Treat your enemy as subhumans ---- as the Axis regarded its Slav and Chinese opponents and as the Allies regarded the Japanese.

Regard many of your allies and colonies' citizens as not much better.

Combine that with regarding your national own working class in almost as dismissive terms.

All this certainly widens the scope of what the people who ran WWII from the top regarded as aspects of 'the natural world',  rather than beings fully civilized humans like themselves.

So when I say that Nature bowled last, Nature's bowling could run a very wide gamut indeed .

Not just freezing cold and machine-ruining dust, or harvest failures or microbial resistance to sulfa drugs.

Not just what five thousand of Nature's kilometres really means to an overtaxed human logistic system.

It moves onwards to include all those lowly Slav and Chinese peasants who turned into deadly partisans --- rather than simply turning turtle as predicted.

It is working class East Enders defying the uncaring 'Teflon Winnie' to turn Tube Stations into the effective bomb shelters he had failed to provide.

And it is immigrant and minority American patients and families,together with their GPs ,"acting up" to defy the penicillin-denying medical elite of the OSRD/NAS death panels.

In this six year long stage drama, the 'natural world' scenery ends up eating even the hammiest of 'human world' actors....