Are We A Cancer?

Unrestrained growth that damages the tissue it comes into contact with.

Driving home from work at 11 pm the other night, I was listening to Alternative Radio during my lonely 45 minute commute, and I heard a speaker whose theory is now stuck in my head. The only remedy for that is to stick it in yours. Sorry.

The episode was entitled The Human Cancer in the Covid-19 Era. It’s been several nights since I heard it, and since I was driving, I couldn’t take notes, so my apologies to Dr. Stephen Bezruchka if I get anything wrong. Having said that, the gist of the talk was that cancer, in essence, is unrestrained growth that damages the tissue it comes into contact with. And that pretty much sums up humanity.

Think about it. Our cities and villages used to be perfectly encapsulated inside walls, but now we’ve burst forth and taken over the countryside. We build right over the top of fertile land. We pollute our waterways and the very air we breathe. We send out tendrils in the form of highways so that we can continue to survive. We are responsible for the total annihilation of other species. We’re destroying our host, the planet.

We are also responsible for this pandemic, and the pandemics that will surely follow this one. By destroying animal habitat, we are forcing animals to live closer to us. We live cheek by jowl with the bats and the birds and the swine. And the closer we get to them, the more we will pass diseases back and forth. We’re doing this to ourselves.

Now, everywhere I look, I’m seeing cancer. It’s really depressing. It’s such a helpless feeling.

There is some good news, though. As sentient beings, we can cure ourselves if we want to. We can find gentler ways to live upon this earth. We can choose not to reproduce at this horrifying rate. We can protect undeveloped land. We can eat less meat. We can focus on green energy. There are so many things we can do.

I genuinely believe that change is coming. We really don’t have a choice if we want to survive. The scary part is that I have no idea what the world is going to look like after this pandemic. I only know that we are long past the point where we can take anything for granted.


Now is the perfect time to stay at home and read a good book. Try mine!

Author: The View from a Drawbridge

I have been a bridgetender since 2001, and gives me plenty of time to think and observe the world.

3 thoughts on “Are We A Cancer?”

  1. I’ve seen that metaphor, that humanity is a cancer, for many decades now. I do see the many parallels. But really, you could describe any ecosystem as a bunch of competing cancers. The bunnies are cancers to carrots and foxes are cancers on bunnies.

    And it happens even at the level of viruses and bacteria that they evolve over time to be less and less virulent for the simple reason that they prosper more by not killing their host. Over time I think that humanity has become less and less virulent in many ways, but at the same time our population and physical power has grown exponentially. There is evidence that the population is not increasing as fast as projected. Natural forces like the pandemic may actually accelerate that. And the power of our tech continues to grow, but the physical demands of the tech on the ecosystem are starting to shrink.

    The thing about humanity is that it doesn’t have anything like a ‘mind’ that can decide things rationally. We’re at the mercy of several levels of evolutionary pressure. And we’re learning how to push back by manipulating memes and selection pressure.

    I’m hopeful.

  2. The pandemic is just nature culling the herd because we’re out of control. We’ve always had those beneficial choices. The question is why we ignored them. Why did we choose self destruction? Even if we manage to survive, what’s to stop us from repeating a negative pattern if we don’t understand it? History is rife with examples of us not learning from past mistakes; i.e., Nero, Hitler, Trump, etc. We are perfectly capable of reason and restraint yet, here we are, ignoring the history, the signs and the science. We don’t need a cure for cancer, we need to cure stupidity. Cure that and we’ll drastically reduce instances of cancer and many other diseases (biological, political and social ones). We need to get to work on that now! Educate, educate, educate.

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