Philosophy of Medicine


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In my analysis, there can be no ‘Theory of Health’ without sharing ‘Theory of Man’. The question, “What is health?” cannot be asked without raising the question, “What is man?”

In my view, ‘existence of man always precedes essence of man’. For that reason, biological basis of man’s existence must be identified to define living entity called man.

Man’s existence in any condition, good health or ill health, at any age, at any given time and place, depends upon Mercy, Grace, and Compassion( Sanskrit. KRUPA or KRIPA) of LORD God Creator. Man does not exist in Natural World because of his physical and mental work. Man needs input of matter and energy, from an external source, from the moment of conception until conclusion of his entire life journey. Man’s existence is always conditioned as he cannot regulate either internal, or external factors that determine the fact of his existence.

I invite my readers to review article titled “What is health?” published in Microbial Biotechnology by Dr. Harald Brüssow. I took freedom to add few comments to his article to help my readers to examine the topic in a critical manner.

Rudranarasimham Rebbapragada


What is health?

Clipped from:

Microbial Biotechnology. 2013 Jul; 6(4): 341–348.

Published online 2013 May 6. doi:  10.1111/1751-7915.12063

PMCID: PMC3917469

PMID: 23647782

Harald Brüssow*

This article has been cited by other articles in PMC.


Medical Science fails to define the term ‘health’ for it fails to define the term ‘man’. To attach meaning to health, I must attach meaning to word called ‘man’.

Classical medical research is disease focused and still defines health as absence of disease. Languages, however, associate a positive concept of wholeness with health as does the WHO health definition. Newer medical health definitions emphasize the capacity to adapt to changing external and internal circumstances. The results of the 2010 Global Burden of Disease study provides keys for a quantifiable health metrics by developing statistical tools calculating healthy life expectancy. Of central social and economic importance is the question whether healthy ageing can be achieved. This concept hinges on theories on the biological basis of lifespan determination and whether negligible senescence and the compression of morbidity can be achieved in human societies. Since the health impact of the human gut microbiome is currently a topical research area, microbiologists should be aware of the problems in defining health.


Man represents biological community of trillions of individuals; independent, living cells with individuality. Man is also natural host to trillions of microbes. Human life must be defined in terms of biotic interactions; both intraspecific, and interspecific biotic interactions.

Science has its fashions. Suddenly the leading science journals are full of articles about a specific topical research area. Sometimes, this wave of popularity follows a technological break-through which permits asking questions that were previously impossible to tackle or at least very hard to address experimentally. At other occasions, this cumulating of top-level research reports is the consequence of large international research efforts where grant agencies provided large amounts of money, which attracted many scientists to the field. In still other situations, the scientific community realizes that a certain field of scientific inquiry has simply been overlooked or neglected and the view offered by the new insights is exiting theoretical interest and promising practical applications. The human microbiome is currently such a fashionable field. Novel DNA sequencing techniques combined with new bioinformatic tools and the general progress of ‘–omics’ technologies offer the methods; major research grants on both sides of the Atlantic provided the money and the field has been an eye-opener for microbiologists which might be compared with the time of Leeuwenhoek when microbes in our mouth were first seen in the microscope and the time of Koch when the first isolated bacterial colonies were seen by the naked eye and linked to human disease. We perceive the human microbiome metagenome as our second human genome, as a source of human genetic variability (Schloissnig etal., 2013) and as a factor influencing human health (Clemente etal., 2012). The human gut microbiome has been associated with health issues of central importance such as obesity (Turnbaugh etal., 2006), healthy ageing (Claesson etal., 2012) and most recently cancer (Arthur etal., 2012), to quote only the most prominent fields. Probiotic bacteria have also been fashionable for a while (Thomas etal., 2010) and were judged to have a scientific basis (Neish, 2009), but scientific reports aroused less attention than gut microbiota research. Probiotics carry in their definition as ‘live health-promoting bacteria’ the concept that microbes can influence our health. But what is health? If you want to boost health, you must know what it is and how to measure it.

Health: ask the experts

I ask Medical Science to apply principles of Clinical Medicine not only to diagnose ill health but also to diagnose good and perfect or ‘Whole Health’ for man is created by entity called God who is always Perfect and Whole.

At school we heard of Socrates who asked people who are supposed to be experts and to get an answer from a dialogue with them. Therefore, I first went to health authorities like medical doctors and their authoritative textbooks that guided generations of medical students like Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine (Longo etal., 2011). In the 18th edition you find ample material on pathogens, even a chapter on the human microbiome (Gordon and Knight, 2011), a chapter on women’s health, but no definition of health. Overall, one gets the impression that medicine deals with disease and not health. In a recent meeting, one of my colleagues said that the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) should correctly be called National Institutes of Diseases reflecting this disease focus of medical research. Health is currently fashionable as ‘Global Health’, but again scientists working at institutes called like this or in such programmes deal mostly with diseases. After this disappointment, the author turned to PubMed with ‘health’ and ‘definition’ as search terms and got less than 20 papers – a quite surprising outcome for such a central question of the human society. Clearly there is a problem with the definition of the term ‘health’.

Health: ask the languages

None of the living functions performed by man involve the use of any known human language.

When a term is so self-evident and at the same time so elusive that no definition is provided in the scientific literature, it is frequently helpful to investigate the words we use when speaking about it. Naming is the first activity of human beings when trying to make order of things surrounding us. Words reflect the experience of many generations and words constitute a collective subconsciousness that determines still today our unexpressed thoughts and actions, more than we are aware of consciously. In the Oxford Dictionary ‘health’ is defined as ‘the state of being free from illness and injury’. It is obviously a negative definition. Such a definition reflects the current use of the words in the spoken language, but not necessarily its development over time. The English ‘health’ derives from Old English ‘hælth’, which is related to ‘whole’ ‘a thing that is complete in itself’ (Oxford Dictionary) derived from Old English ‘hal’ of Germanic origin (the addition of the w in whole/hal reflects a dialect pronunciation of the 15th century). In Middle English ‘hal’ also became ‘hail’ with the meaning of health in greetings and toasts. ‘hal’ is related to the Dutch ‘heel’ and the German ‘heil’. In German the connections between health, wholeness and salvation becomes even clearer than in English. ‘Heil-kunde’ and ‘Heil-kunst’ are still common German words for medicine, ‘Heiler’ is a traditional or alternative health provider; ‘heilfroh’ means wholly happy and refers to a relationship between health and happiness. ‘Heil’ has also religious meanings as seen from the German word ‘Heiland’ for the Christ as Savior (or for false prophets as in ‘Heil Hitler’). The German word conserved clear links with the religious and cultic realm in ‘heilig’ (English: holy) where ‘Heil’ is equivalent with salvation in the religious meaning (‘Seelen-heil’). These connotations are still vibrating consciously or unconsciously in native speakers when using these words. In fact, from this quasi-religious context the constitution of the WHO adopted in 1948 becomes understandable when stating ‘the following principles are basic to the happiness, harmonious relations and security of all peoples: Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity’. The definition has not been revised but was variously challenged for its ‘complete wellbeing’ as reflecting a fundamentalist view, referring to an ideal world of messianic expectations. Some scientists have therefore asked for redefining health to make it a realistic, measurable quantity (Saracci, 1997).

Since this language approach turned out to be revealing, let’s follow the relationship between health and wellness (are they synonyms or do they express distinct concepts?) and between health and disease (are they antonyms?). Disease is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as ‘disorder of structure or function in an organism that produces specific symptoms and is not the result of physical injury’; ‘dis-ease’ derives from the Old French ‘desaise’ (lack of ease). Wellness and illness is clearly a pair of antonyms. Illr is a Norse word for evil and was taken into Middle English with the meaning of wicked, malevolent. ‘Well’ (German: wohl) derives from a word common to many Germanic languages and means ‘in a good way’, initially as a contrast to wicked. As an adjective one of the meaning of ‘well’ is specifically ‘in good health’ (Oxford Dictionary). In German ‘wohl’ goes beyond good health, it alludes to psychological and emotional aspects (‘Wollust’: English: lust, but in Old English as in current German still in the sense of ‘pleasure’ and ‘delight’) and material wealth (‘Wohlstand’). Wellness thus goes beyond physical health and has a strong connotation of happiness, but also of hedonism (where pleasure is the chief good).

One might argue that these are linguistic associations restricted to Germanic languages. However, this is not the case: the Latin word pair ‘salus’–’malus’ has very similar connotations which were transmitted into modern Romanic languages (French: salut–maladie). In Latin ‘salus’ means health, rescue, redemption and wealth. It derives from ‘salvus’, Old Indian ‘sarvas’, which meant initially nothing else than ‘whole’. We see here again the notion of completeness with health. Malus which leads then to malady shares with the Germanic word ‘small’ a common root and thus refers to incompleteness. Malus has also moral connotation (Eritis sicut deus scientes bonum et malum – the snake in Genesis: you will be like God knowing the good and the evil). Disease has long been regarded as a celestial punishment for moral failing. In many traditional societies, health surveys should not miss to ask about ‘the evil eye’, underlining the widespread magic concepts on disease.

Redefining health: medical approaches

What is Spiritual Sickness? Lust, Avarice, Anger, Arrogance, Jealousy, Infatuation, and Miserliness are symptoms of Spiritual Sickness. Spiritual well-being is integral component of Whole Health.

Recently the need for a new definition of health was expressed by the British Medical Journal (Jadad and O’Grady, 2008). A discussion via global blog conversation was initiated on ‘How should health be defined?’ The participation rate was weak: only 38 communications were counted. In an influential blog, R. Smith (2008) confessed that this issue is for most doctors an uninteresting question since they are interested in disease and not health. Medical textbooks are a massive catalogue of diseases. Health is an illusion and according to the strict standards of the WHO definition, most people are unhealthy for most of the time, so far, his comments. Research-oriented doctors complained that the WHO definition has no direct operational value – it is so widely formulated that health outcome cannot easily be measured. Health like beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. It turned out that redefining health is an extremely ambitious and complex goal. A conference held in 2009 in the Netherlands (‘Is health a state or an ability? Towards a dynamic concept of health’) (Huber, 2010), an editorial by the Lancet (‘What is health? The ability to adapt’) (Anonymous, 2009) and an analysis in the BMJ (‘Health: how should we define it?’) (Huber etal., 2011) proposed a few conclusions. The preferred view on health was the ability to adapt and to self-manage. With respect to physical health the term of ‘allostasis’ was introduced – the maintenance of physiological homeostasis through changing circumstances. In the field of mental health, a sense of coherence was identified as defining criterion. Social health included people’s capacity to fulfil their potentials and obligations, the ability to manage their life and to participate in social activities including work. R. Smith summarized this into the phrase ‘health is the capacity to love and work’ attributed to Sigmund Freud. The Dutch conference highlighted a few important aspects. When applied to ‘successful or healthy ageing’ only a very small percentage of people would fit the WHO definition. When self-rating of well-being was used a much higher percentage rated themselves as successfully ageing and this rating was roughly constant over lifetime. With an ageing population chronic disease become a life condition to many people. The Stanford Chronic Disease Self-Management Programme uses strategies to enhance self-efficacy which resulted in fewer healthcare requests. Also, the WHO has added to this discussion. In preparation of the Ottawa Charter of 1986, the WHO defined health as the ability of an individual to realize aspirations and satisfy needs and to cope with the environment. Health was thus seen as a resource for everyday life. The WHO has also developed an International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health assessing the performance of a task in real life situation. WHO surveys assessed an individual’s health state by asking for mobility, self-care, pain, cognition, interpersonal activities, vision, sleep and energy and affect. The answers go into a single metric reaching from death (0) to perfect health (1). The abovementioned Lancet editorial quoted the French physician G. Canguilhem who perceived health in his 1943 book The Normal and the Pathological not as something that can be defined statistically or mechanistically. Health is the ability to adapt to one’s environment and its own limitations. At the Dutch conference, a participant asked for the concept of ‘salutogenesis’ (becoming healthy) and more concrete research work in a field dominated by studies of pathogenesis (becoming ill). In practical terms it means that instead of carefully observing the conditions that lead from the healthy to the diseased state, research should also be conducted for the opposite process, i.e. the transition from the diseased to the healthy state. In some diseases the transition from health to malady is a way of no return and its inverse process of ‘salutogenesis’ is obviously difficult to study. However, for microbiologists the situation is easier. Many acute infectious diseases show a transition from health to disease followed by a return to the normal. Here ‘salutogenesis’ is commonly studied and had practical outcomes. For example, understanding the immune response to an infectious agent which led to the resolution of the disease was often instrumental for designing vaccine strategies.

Scaling health levels?

Scaling of health fundamentally relates to experience of satiation, satisfaction, or contentment from living condition. Dissatisfaction or lack of contentment is absence of health.

A fundamental question not yet addressed in our discussion is whether health is a state as opposed to the alternative state of disease. There are medical conditions that allow only two alternative conditions; a frequently quoted example is a woman in childbearing age who either is pregnant or is not pregnant. There is no condition where a woman is a bit pregnant, pregnancy is an all-or-nothing event allowing only a ‘plus’ and a ‘minus’ state and no transitions between both of them. At first glance, one might also take ‘health’ and ‘disease’ as alternative ‘plus’ and ‘minus’ states. The self-perception of a subject is a relative reliable measure differentiating a healthy state from a diseased state. In a prodromal phase of an infectious disease, we feel lousy before any overt disease symptoms are evident. During convalescence we feel the reverse process of returning vigor and strength. This distinction finds expression in our outer appearance allowing not only an experienced physician, but even an attentive layperson to differentiate these two states with a single look at a person. This experience speaks for health and disease as two alternative states. However, medical doctors use scoring systems to assess the health and disease status of patients to decide on medical interventions. To quote just two examples: the Karnofsky score runs from 100 (perfect health) to 0 (death) in steps of 10 and assesses the independence or dependence of patients on assistance for everyday activity or survival; its main purpose was to quantify the capacity of cancer patients to cope with chemotherapy. Another score rates the status of newborns: the Apgar score attributes up to two points each for the appearance, pulse, grimace, activity, respiration of the baby (despite this mnemonic, Apgar is named after an anesthesiologist). Apgar expresses the need for medical intervention by the pediatrician. Apgar scores of 7 or higher characterize healthy babies. These scoring systems are interesting since first, they put health and disease into the same measurable category and second, they anticipate that both health and disease states can be graded. By their design as indicators for medical intervention, these scoring systems have more graded disease levels than graded health levels, but this point can be quickly remedied by introducing a scoring system that depicts in analogy with the number line increasing positive integers to the right as indicators of a graded health level and increasing negative integers to the left as indicators of graded disease levels.

Around 0 is an indifference zone where the subject feels neither particularly healthy nor definitively ill. While numerous scoring systems exist to describe severity grades for many diseases, less scoring systems exist for assessing health levels. This situation could quickly be corrected: Physical strength or mental fitness could be measured quantitatively by performance tests on the subject or functional reserves could be measured by physiological tests on individual organ systems of the subject. Such physical types of test are frequently used in geriatric medicine.

This grading concept – oversimplified as it is – has interesting consequences. When physicians speak about health interventions, they speak mostly about disease interventions where a treatment shifts for example a person from disease level −7 to disease level −3 to remain in the analogy of this fictive scale. Over recent decades medical treatments were also increasingly applied on apparently healthy subjects, who show, but do not suffer, from pathophysiological states (e.g. hypertension, hypercholesterolemia) in order to prevent for example a shift from health level +3 to disease level −7 when the pathophysiological risk factor transforms into actual disease (e.g. myocardial infarct or stroke) (again in this fictive scale). However, physicians and the pharmaceutical industries have much less considered the possibility to increase health levels from for example health state +4 to health state +7 which increases physical and mental performance of the person or the functional reserves of the person’s organs. These health interventions were largely left to fitness centers and sport clubs and private activities of the individual. The aim of such nutrition and health interventions would be a better performance in everyday life, more pleasure (quality of life), but not necessarily disease prevention. However, increasing the functional reserve of the body necessarily creates a buffer such that extrinsic factors decreasing the health level do not result that quickly in disease as without this intervention.

Health: ask the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) 2010 survey

Burden of Disease, and Rewards of Health must be estimated after stating Purpose of Human Existence.

One might argue that health of an individual or a population is to a certain extent a lip service of the medical profession and the true interest of medical doctors is to cure or to prevent disease. Language-wise this focus is expressed by the now frequently used term of ‘ill health’ in the columns of leading journals like ‘Nature’ and ‘The Lancet’, which is of course a clear contradiction in terms and reflects the disease focus of medicine. One might suspect that economists and sociologists have a greater interest in the health of a population when focusing on the productivity and social ‘functioning’ of people. However, such an evaluation does not do justice to the epidemiological, statistical and intellectual efforts of the medical community to come to grip with these terms. The Herculean effort of the medical research field is illustrated by a whole issue of the Lancet describing the GBD Study 2010 in a series of articles (Das, 2012). Over 5 years 486 scientists from 302 institutions in 50 countries have collected data on ‘ill health’ and evaluated the data by using the most sophisticated statistical data treatment methods (Murray etal., 2012a). The results are stunning. It is here not the place to review these studies, but I want to share with the reader some excitement. From 1970 to 2010 global life expectancy at birth rose by 3–4 years every decade. The resolution of the data set is astonishing: you can for example compare life expectancy per region and per sex. You see then that women in Bangladesh increased their life expectancy from 47.5 years in 1970 to 71.0 years in 2010 (not a printing error). Or you get global life expectancy per 5-year intervals for both sexes, e.g. 80-year-old men had in 1970 a life expectancy of 5.8 years compared with 7.2 years in 2010 (‘the older you get, the healthier you have been’) (Wang etal., 2012). Or you get information on 235 leading causes of death separated by age and sex based on files compiling vital registrations, verbal autopsies and various surveillance data from 187 countries. You learn that mortality from communicable diseases has decreased over this time following major ameliorations in mortality from diarrheal diseases, measles and tetanus, but less so for respiratory infections and increases for HIV/AIDS. When the global years of life lost (YLL) is displayed separately for the causes and individual years between 1990 and 2010, the data analysis was so well performed that you see the 1995 famine in North Korea as a sudden increase in global death due to nutritional deficiencies and the 1994 genocide in Rwanda as an intentional injuries increase (Lozano etal., 2012).

In the context of our discussion another GBD 2010 report is even more interesting. Salomon and colleagues (2012) start their paper with the statement: ‘Improvement of population health means more than simply delaying death or increasing life expectancy at birth’. They continue: ‘With the trend of population ageing, the need to prioritize healthy ageing is increasingly recognized’. The authors of this paper focus on the description of ‘healthy life expectancy’ as a summary measure of population health. While this term has no philosophical or biological foundation, it is based on a lot of sound statistical reasoning. In fact, it goes back on a method developed 40 years ago by D. Sullivan. Healthy life expectancy is the number of years a person at a given age can expect to live in good health considering age-specific mortality, morbidity and functional health status. While health is here still largely defined negatively as the absence of disease, it becomes a measurable quantity and thus a simple logically appealing summary measure of population health. The GBD 2010 study goes even further by analyzing a composite metric that captures both premature mortality and the prevalence and severity of disease leading to the term of disability-adjusted life years (DALY) (Murray etal., 2012b). Health status was measured in other studies by the absence of disability expressed as activity restriction, or absence of dementia, or on a broader basis as a multidimensional expression of functioning. However, with a sufficiently large raw data set one can calculate the ‘healthy life expectancy’ in years. Then the difference between life expectancy minus healthy life expectancy can be interpreted as the average number of years of potentially healthy life lost to poor health. To get back to the above Bangladesh women who had in 2010 a life expectancy of 71 years, they had a healthy life expectancy of 59 years, for Canadian women the two figures were 83 and 68 years respectively. Despite different absolute numbers, women from both countries spent more than a decade with poor health. Interesting trends emerge: both for men and for women global healthy life expectancy has increased by about 4 years between 1990 and 2010 keeping with the overall trend of life expectancy increases. The gains in healthy life expectancy over the past 20 years have mainly been through reductions of child and adult mortality and not through reductions in years lost to disability (YLD). When looking into a study from member states of the European Union, larger variations were found for healthy life expectancy than for life expectancy (Jagger etal., 2008). These results are not just about statistics, they represent important elements for political decisions. The UN Millennium Development Goals have focused on the reduction of mortality from major killers like HIV, tuberculosis and malaria. With that focus life expectancy will (hopefully) increase, but it will have minor impact on healthy life expectancy. The computation of healthy life expectancy has changed over the years. Some used dichotomous weighting schemes categorizing people into either healthy or not. The new calculation accounts for the severity of disability calculated for 289 named diseases (Murray etal., 2012a) allowing thus a quantitative, gliding disability scale.

Ageing concepts

Every change or natural phenomenon such as aging is operated by underlying ‘Unchanging Principle’. For example, Chemical Compounds are operated by ‘Law of Definite Proportions’ or Proust’s Law of Definite Composition. Man, experiences aging changes while Chemical Elements and Chemical Compounds of his body remain unchanged.

The structure of the world population is dramatically changing with an increasing percentage of the human population living to old and very old age (Suzman and Haage, 2011). This phenomenon is not limited to the classical industrialized countries, until 2050 China is expected to reach 440 and 101 million inhabitants older than 60 and 80 years respectively (Shetty, 2012). This change in the population pyramid has not only important socioeconomic consequences (healthcare, pension funds), but affects also the health and disease discussion in an interesting way.

Like for health, everybody knows what ageing means, but definitions are again less obvious, and biologists have not yet developed a generally shared theory of ageing (Martin, 2011). Part of the problem might be that different organisms might have their own modes of ageing. Languages are not of much help: ‘age’ is something which can be very simply counted on a timescale. Different languages reflect a different attitude towards ageing: while in English ‘ageing’ implies deterioration, in Japanese it means just the advancement of age. A Japanese researcher has therefore defined ageing as a ‘regression of physiological function accompanied by advancement of age’ (Imahori, 1992). Medical doctors consequently differentiate a chronological and a physiological age of a person.

Medical gerontologists perceive ageing as a progressive decline in structure and function of the body (Ferruci and Studenski, 2011). Most prominent and very visible are the effects of ageing on body composition: lean body mass from muscles and visceral organs decrease steadily, muscle strength decreases (sarcopenia) and is a good predictor of mortality. Progressive demineralization leads to decline of bone strength that together with neurodegeneration induces unstable gait, poor balance and slow reaction times leading to falls and fractures resulting in increasing frailty. Memory decline and dementia are other neurological observations in some, but not all ageing persons. Decline of the sensory system is frequent (vision, hearing, taste). Another physiological change is declining resting metabolic rate with ageing, which is also a marker of illness. Homeostasis pathways (hormones, inflammatory mediators, antioxidants) change progressively with age inducing a lower resistance to stress. Normal ageing is also associated with a decline in food intake particularly in men which leads to malnutrition.

While ageing leads ultimately to death, great biological differences exist for lifespan and ageing process between different organisms. While the lifetime of fly’s measures in days, some ticks survive for decades and lobsters were reported to survive for more than 100 years without any apparent loss in fertility. Similar data have been reported for turtles, where older females lay more eggs than younger females, show no loss of vigor and no increase in mortality rate with increasing age (Finch, 2009). These observations led to the concept of negligible senescence and the Centenarian Species Project (Guerin, 2004). Negligible senescence contradicts Hamilton’s influential theory that natural selection shaped senescence (Hamilton, 1966) and ideas that late survival was sacrificed in evolution for reproduction (Kirkwood and Rose, 1991). Even today, Hamilton’s Forces of Natural Selection described in his 1966 paper were compared by evolution researchers to what is the Lorentz transformation for relativistic physics (Rose etal., 2007). Of course, working with long-lived animals which might have lifetimes longer than that of the researcher is not to the taste of geneticists who prefer short-lived animals like flies and worms or mostly mice where results are obtained within a grant period. However, negligible senescence would fit other theories, for example that of the French zoologist Buffon who suggested in the 18th century that the duration of life in animals corresponded to six to seven times that of the period of growth for the given animal. An animal which has undetermined growth like some reptiles (crocodiles for example grow as long as they live) could have a very long lifespan. Those zoologists might in fact be right who claim that lobsters die from predation, accident and infection but not as a consequence of ageing.

Many ideas have been developed by biologists on ageing: for example, Hayflick developed 40 years ago an argument that the finite number of cell doublings determines the lifespan of a species (Hayflick, 1968). Molecular biologists have added arguments to this idea by highlighting the importance of telomere length shortening with increasing cell divisions. Several other mechanisms and pathways have been revealed by molecular biologists and geneticists for the ageing process. Caloric restriction and longevity is another of the fruitful fields of ageing research. Whether it applies to monkeys as our closest relatives is currently the focus of much discussion (Mattison etal., 2012).

However, all what we have discussed so far fit more the fundamental interest of biologists than that of the medical doctor. For the present review let’s therefore focus on the human condition and the medical view on healthy ageing.

Healthy ageing

Man’s experience of time and its consequence called aging is operated by sensory experiences that are fundamentally false. Man’s existence demands influence of grand illusion that protects man from experiencing speed of planet Earth.

Thirty years ago, Fries (1980) published in The New England Journal of Medicine a seminal paper on ‘Ageing, natural death, and the compression of morbidity’ which heavily influenced the medical discussion on ageing. He starts with the statement that the length of life is fixed; speculations on immortality are rooted in human hope. The medical field assumes that death is always the result of a disease process, but due to his hypothesis of a set human lifespan, death might occur without overt disease when the normal span is lived. In his paper he depicted the ‘ideal’ human mortality curve in the absence of premature death: it is a sharp peak around the ‘naturally set’ human lifespan of 85 years. He arrived at this value from the extrapolation of life expectancy data at birth and at age 20 and 65 measured over the last century which intersect in his graph at 85 years. With that idealized model the survival curve of humans has a sharp rectangular form while the actual survival curve for humans at 1900 looked more like a triangle with a continuous decline of survival with age. In 1980 the survival curve took already a substantial rectangular form: much of the 1900-typical attrition over increasing age had been eliminated and the actual survival curve started to approach the ideal curve. He admitted that the average length of life was increasing, but he argues that this was due to a decrease in childhood mortality, not to a secular trend for an increase of life expectancy at age of 75 years. He highlighted that acute, usually infectious diseases determined mortality in the USA at 1900 and that chronic diseases have now superseded acute diseases. In his view health improvement must address chronic instead of acute diseases, morbidity and not mortality, quality of life rather than duration of life. Postponement of disease is more important than cure of a disease. Weight control, regular exercise, treatment of hypertension, elimination of smoking and alcohol over-consumption (today we would add an equilibrated diet) were the practical measures. With that focus of medical interventions, one could achieve what he called the compression of morbidity. A postponement of chronic disease would also result in a rectangularization of the morbidity and not only the mortality curve. Since loss of reserve function represented his operational definition of ageing, one could theoretically also achieve a compression of senescence. He postulated a plasticity of ageing against a non-elasticity of the human ideal lifespan.

It is interesting to compare the Fries’ model with the actual data set from the GBD 2010 study. Already in an analysis of demographic data from 2002, the WHO reported that precisely the very old age groups are growing the fastest worldwide. A cornerstone of Fries’ model is the lack in increase of centenarians over one century of observation. The WHO projects in contrast a 13-fold increase in centenarians over the next decades (Kalache etal., 2002). Better hygiene, nutrition and healthcare have increased life expectancy as also seen in GBD 2010. When the life expectancy of females in the most advanced nations is plotted against historical time, a straight line is observed showing a steady increase of 2.5 years longer life expectancy per decade between 1850 and 2000 (Suzman and Haage, 2011). Humans in some industrialized countries have now nearly reached the lifespan limits of Buffon’s formula, but the asymptotic behavior requested by a genetically fixed life expectancy was not yet observed. One central tenet of the Fries’ model is thus not confirmed. What about the compression of morbidity? GBD 2010 showed that countries with high life expectancy had mostly also lower age-specific disability than countries with low life expectancy. While an analysis of disability-adjusted life expectancy (DALE) with data from the GBD 1999 study (Mathers etal., 2001) showed still ‘some evidence to suggest that compression of morbidity may be occurring in some low mortality countries’, later analyses did not concur with this interpretation. According to GBD 2010, years lived with disability (YLD) rose despite a decrease in the prevalence of age-specific disability (Salomon etal., 2012). Simply, the decrease in disability did not keep pace with the increase in survival. A compression can only occur if healthy life expectancy would rise faster than life expectancy.

Globally, YLD rose from 583 million in 1990 to 777 million in 2010 (Vos etal., 2012). The main contributors at the global level were mental and behavioral disorders, musculoskeletal disorders, diabetes and endocrine diseases. The leading specific causes were the same in 2010 as in 1990: low back pain, major depressive disorders, iron-deficiency anemia, neck pain, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, anxiety disorders, migraine, diabetes and falls. Rates of YLD per given number of people did not change, but since YLD rise steadily with age, population growth and ageing were the major drivers for the increase in YLD (Vos etal., 2012). The health system is thus confronted with a rising number of individuals with a range of disorders that largely cause disability but not mortality.


John Milton in his epic poem of Paradise Lost, Book XI shared the golden principles of healthy aging. Nothing too much, the Law of Temperance helps man to live to his fullest potential.

I yield it just, said Adam, and submit.
But is there yet no other way, besides
These painful passages, how we may come
To Death, and mix with our connatural dust?

There is, said Michael, if thou well observe [ 530 ]
The rule of not too much, by temperance taught
In what thou eat and drink, seeking from thence
Due nourishment, not gluttonous delight,
Till many years over thy head return:
So may thou live, till like ripe Fruit thou drop [ 535 ]
Into thy Mothers lap, or be with ease
Gathered, not harshly plucked, for death mature:

In summary, GBD 2010 showed clear evidence of expansion, not compression of morbidity. An increase of the number of years lived in reduced health has implications beyond the person suffering from restricted health. Healthy ageing is a socioeconomic need since otherwise national health systems will not be able to stem the cost associated with managing increasing numbers of individuals suffering from various disease sequelae. If by preventive measures a healthy ageing could be achieved, the healthcare system could save cost and the individual could enjoy a greater quality of life for a longer period of life. This goal is quite ambitious though, but the incentive is great justifying the exploration of various associations with healthy ageing. In an accompanying review, I explore the data associating gut microbiota composition with healthy ageing and to what extent the gut microbiota composition can be changed by nutritional interventions (Brüssow, 2013).


I thank my colleagues Wolfram Brück for critical reading of the manuscript and Olga Sakwinska for stimulating discussions.


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The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.



Here’s an excerpt:


About 55,000 tourists visit Liechtenstein every year. This blog was viewed about 300,000 times in 2012. If it were Liechtenstein, it would take about 5 years for that many people to see it. Your blog had more visits than a small country in Europe!


Click here to see the complete report.


R. Rudra Narasimham/Rudra N. Rebbapragada, B.Sc., M.B.B.S.,


Ann Arbor, Michigan, U.S.A.


Organization: The Spirits of Special Frontier Force.


English: The border between Liechtenstien and ...
English: The border between Liechtenstien and Switzerland (Balzers – Trübbach). In the background the castle Gutenberg and the liechtenstein alps, Deutsch: Die Grenze zwischen Liechtenstein und Schweiz (Balzers – Liechtenstein). Im Hintergrund die Burg Gutenberg und die Liechtensteiner Alpen. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Regierungsgebäude (Government Building), Vaduz...
Regierungsgebäude (Government Building), Vaduz, Liechtenstein – Seat of Government and Parliament. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Impressive scenery in Liechtenstein, Europe.
Impressive scenery in Liechtenstein, Europe. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


English: Heliport in Balzers, Liechtenstein. I...
English: Heliport in Balzers, Liechtenstein. In the background the castle Gutenberg and Liechtenstein Alps Deutsch: Hubschrauberlandeplatz in Balzers, Liechtenstein. Im Hintergrund die Burg Gutenberg und die Liechtensteiner Alpen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Vaduz Castle, Liechtenstein
Vaduz Castle, Liechtenstein (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Deutsch: Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein, Vaduz
Deutsch: Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein, Vaduz (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Map of Liechtenstein in closer view
Map of Liechtenstein in closer view (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


English: Johann I, prince of Liechtenstein (17...
English: Johann I, prince of Liechtenstein (1760–1836) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)





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Spiritualism: Grief and Compassion at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown, Connecticut, Friday, December 14, 2012.
Spiritualism: Grief and Compassion at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown, Connecticut, Friday, December 14, 2012.

In U.S. history, the second-deadliest school shooting took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown, Connecticut during the beautiful morning hours on Friday, December 14, 2012. The killing of 20 school children and other adults will force us to reflect upon human nature.

The tragedy at Sandy Hook: 6-year-old Emilie Parker is one of the shooting victims. She is seen in this photo with her father Robbie Parker.
The tragedy at Sandy Hook: 6-year-old Emilie Parker is one of the shooting victims. She is seen in this photo with her father Robbie Parker.
This act of violence at Sandy Hook compels us to examine the Spiritual Basis for human existence.
This act of violence at Sandy Hook compels us to examine the Spiritual Basis for human existence.


Among animals, man has the ability to kill members of his own kind for reasons other than that of food, territory, and reproductive success. However, I do not consider that aggression is innate to human nature. The thought to commit an act of violence may enter the human mind because of an external, environmental stimulus. For an infectious agent to enter human body and cause a diseased condition would require a degree of susceptibility to that infection. A person who is not in proper relationship with his own self, and with others is susceptible to be taken over by harmful emotions such as anger that generates the desire to commit an act of violence. The gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary School could be described as a victim of his inability to formulate harmonious relationship both at personal level and interpersonal level. Mental Health involves the ability to develop harmonious social relations. In my view, the basis for external, harmonious, social relationships begins at a personal level; the ability to define one’s relationship with oneself.


This act of violence at Sandy Hook Elementary School illustrates man’s estrangement or alienation from his true or real nature. I would like to reinforce the fact of the spiritual basis for human existence. In life, or death, man needs the mercy, grace, and compassion of his Creator. Man does not exist in this physical world because of his intellectual, or physical effort. It is a good time to explain the dependent nature of human existence and invite peace, harmony, and tranquility in the living condition by accepting the Divine Providence with a sense of respect and humility. The act of acceptance  of Divine mercy, grace, and compassion generates the emotion called ‘devotion’ which provides a sense of comfort and makes the person stress-resistant, and imparts the ability to overcome the feelings of fear, and the sense of grief generated by the loss of life.



It is human nature to respond to grief with feelings of compassion. I describe, that human nature is constituted by the principles  called ‘spirit’, and ‘soul’. In ‘spirit’, man seeks freedom, and with ‘soul’, he establishes the dependence that supports the human existence. The violence, and aggression that we have witnessed is a response to an external environmental stimulus. Man betrays his own true nature or fails to recognize his real self; and this sense of estrangement or alienation from reality leads to behavior that destroys peace, harmony, and tranquility in man’s interactions with others in his environment. This gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary School had utterly failed to defend his own freedom as he got alienated from his own ‘spirit’ and had failed to recognize his own ‘soul’ that sustains his existence. This loss of freedom had caused him to end his own existence using the same gun with which he had attacked others.

Rudra N. Rebbapragada,

Ann Arbor, Michigan, U.S.A.

Related Articles:1. Spiritualism – Human Existence and Human Nature.


2. Spiritualism – The Key to Human Nature.




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Spiritualism – The Discovery of :

The Discovery of – Bhavanajagat is a private organization that is devoted to the study of discovering the purpose of man in this vast, universe of unknown dimensions.
SPIRITUALISM – THE DISCOVERY OF : Man’s home in the Milky Way Galaxy. Man is destined to live and seek existence on planet Earth as it is created with a purpose; the purpose of providing a home to the living entities.
SPIRITUALISM – THE DISCOVERY OF : Planet Earth is unique, distinctive, original, and one of its own kind of created celestial object. The feature that I use to determine planet Earth’s originality is that of its Rotational Spin; its Rotational Speed and its Rotational Axis which make the planet the home for all living things. is a private organization devoted to the study of discovering man’s purpose in this vast universe of unknown dimensions. Please note that the word ‘man’ is being used in this conversation to refer to the human organism which is constituted by trillions of individual, independent, living cells that have formulated an association, a partnership, a relationship and bonding that is beneficial to the existence of the ‘subject’ called ‘man’. If man has a purpose in this universe; it will not be possible to discover that purpose by physically exploring the limits or boundaries of the universe. Man’s physical abilities and capacity to directly explore universe are extremely limited. Man needs the safety and comfort of his terrestrial home to perform his life’s journey. The word “JAGAT” refers to planet Earth, this entire known and unknown limits of physical universe. The word “JAGAT” also refers to things that are constantly moving and hence changing. Man exists on planet Earth which is never at the same position as it partakes in the motion of Sun in the Milky Way. It is observed that the galaxies in our universe are not stationary objects and are moving all the time. Man may never know his precise location in this universe at any given instant and his existence is conditioned by an unknown factor called change. Since man’s existence is conditioned by constant change, it faces several challenges from known and unknown directions. The purpose of my study and investigation is that of promoting the well-being of all people without any distinction based upon race, ethnicity, country or nationality, culture, religion, language, age, gender, sexual orientation, educational qualification, occupational status, social ranking and participation in social or political organizations. There is a fundamental need to defend, and to preserve human existence as such ideas are always inspired by true or real human nature.

Man is a Rational Being :

Vitruvian Man, the creation of Leonardo da Vinci – Spiritualism – The Discovery of : What is the purpose of Man in Life and What is His purpose in the World and in the Universe where he exists???

Man has no choice other than that of dependence upon his reasoning abilities to arrive at a rational understanding of his purpose in life and its existence in this universe. A tool that man can use to know and understand the world and the universe is called “BHAVANA.” The Indian language term “BHAVANA” refers to a mental function or activity called thought or imagination. Man has the ability to use sensory information and combine it with his reasoning skills to make inferences about things that he may not be able to directly experience. Man uses a verification process to validate his mental concepts and ideas to find some correspondence between the mental concept and an external reality. The word “BHAVANA” could be used in several contexts such as  1.Originating Principle, 2. Prime Cause, 3. Devotion, 4. Meditation, 5. Mental Reflection or Contemplation, acts of thinking or imagination, 6. an act of Remembrance, 7. a proof or evidence, 8. recognition of things using the olfactory sense perception, 9. the mental preparation prior to performance of acts such as procreation and others,and 10. the use of a fluid medium like honey or fruit juice to dissolve medicinal agents. Using the principles of valid reasoning, it can be suggested that the universe had a beginning and it appears as a creative beginning as the products or things that came into existence appear like original, distinctive, and one of their own kind of objects. As of today, planet Earth appears like one of its own kind of object that is known to be supporting human existence. If planet Earth and the universe are created entities, the beginning implies a creative thought, imagination, or “BHAVANA.” I will be using ‘’ to share those ideas and mental concepts that may have practical application to provide therapeutic relief to the problems of human existence in this world and in this universe. I would also use ‘’ to communicate several aspects of the term “BHAVANA” as it relates to a “JAGAT’, planet Earth and universe that are subject to constant change.

Man is a Created Being : The Subjective Reality of Man :

SPIRITUALISM – THE DISCOVERY OF : Man is a created being and this fact does not demand the Discovery of the Lord God Creator. Man is a rational being who uses sensory information, applies a reasoning process and makes inferences about existence of things that he may not be able to directly experience.

Bhavanajagat recognizes man as a created being. Man comes into his state of existence as an original, unique, distinctive, one of its own kind of object or thing that has not existed in the past, and will not exist again in the future. This uniqueness is related to the nature of the human genome that always establishes man as an Individual with Individuality. Man has no choice other than that of existing as an Individual with Individuality. This fact of being an Individual is explained by the individualistic behavior of the DNA molecules which determine the morphological appearance, the structure, and functions of the human organism the DNA and other organic molecules create. The human person who describes himself as “I” comes into being and declares the fact of his existence by using the two words; “I AM.” The person called “I” has no independent existence at any stage of his existence. The condition called human existence always demands a connection with an external source of energy. In good health, or ill-health, at any given age, under any given circumstances, at any given place and environment, and membership in a social community, man needs to use energy and replenish the used energy. Man can maintain the Subjective Reality of his existence if he is connected to an external source of energy that derives its energy from Cosmic or extraterrestrial source of energy. Man does not establish this connection or partnership because of his physical, or mental efforts and work.

Man is a Spiritual Being : The Objective Reality of Man :

SPIRITUALISM – THE DISCOVERY OF : What is the “Connection” between man and Sun??? Does man have the physical and intellectual ability or capacity to harness Solar Energy to maintain his living functions???                                                                                                Man is a spiritual being as his existence demands the presence of a vital, animating, Life Principle that can be named as soul, or spirit. The purpose of soul or spirit involves the use of awareness or consciousness to obtain energy from an external source to maintain the fact or condition called living. Man has no ability to directly rule or govern the individual, independent living cells of his body that display functional autonomy. Man, to support his existence needs the integration of functions of the cells, the tissues, and the various organ systems that constitute the multicellular, complex organism. Soul or spirit is the agency that operates the guiding or controlling mechanisms to provide mutually beneficial relationships and interactions that have characteristics such as mutual assistance, mutual tolerance, mutual cooperation, and mutual subservience for the benefit of the person who exists because of those functions.

Man is a Spiritual Being as his existence demands the presence of a vital, animating, Life Principle. While most people agree that there is a fundamental distinction between living, and non-living matter, there is no consensus about the meaning of the term ‘soul’, or ‘spirit’. Bhavanajagat. org would use the term ‘Soul’, or ‘Spirit’ to describe it as a living principle and the term will not be used to describe any kind of immaterial principle which may have an independent existence while it is not attached to a living human being.

Man’s Essence and Man’s Existence :

SPIRITUALISM – DISCOVERY OF : The Pencil in Water Illusion: Man leads a ‘conditioned’ existence, just like the Pencil in Water. The Reality of the Pencil can be easily demonstrated by simply removing the Pencil from Water. In case of man it is not easy to conduct such a demonstration as man needs the help of an Illusion and not the experience of Reality. Science can explain the reason for this Illusion, but Science has no Power/Force/Energy to alter the properties of Light rays that produce the Illusion. While being conditioned, man has no choice other than that of Ignorance; the Reality of planet Earth’s motions are not needed as direct sensory experience.

Man’s Essence has two aspects; 1. An External Reality that can be known to others and is recognized by others, and 2. An Internal Reality, known to the man or an entity that can be called “The Knowing-Self.” Man’s physical identity, actions, and behavior are variable and are influenced by variable, external, environmental factors. Man defines his Essence in his thoughts, in his speech, in his actions, and behavior. But, to display this Essence, man needs the help of an unchanging nature of his living substance or living matter. Soul, or spirit is that unchanging principle that is unaffected by the influence of time or the variable, external, environmental factors. Man’s thoughts, speech, actions, and behavior will reflect this true, or real unchanging spiritual nature when he understands, and knows that his Existence demands the experience of an Illusion. Man exists on the surface of a fast-moving object and man is blissfully ignorant of the reality of Earth’s motions.Man recognizes Sunrise, Sunset, the alternating periods of Light and Darkness, and the changing Seasons. But, man has no direct, sensory experience of the fact of a moving object that causes the changes that he experiences as Day and Night. In other words, man lives because of his ignorance of the changing world. The speed of planet Earth if experienced, is not compatible with human existence. Man exists as he has no direct experience of the Reality of this World and the Universe. Man can recognize the operation of a Fundamental Force called the Force of Gravitation. But, if man’s Essence, and Existence have to come together, we need a Power/Force/Energy that can be called Mercy/Grace/Compassion. To know the existence of this Power/Force/Energy called Mercy/Grace/Compassion, man is endowed with an intellectual ability called ‘Devotion’. intends to explore the purpose of man in this universe using a reasoning process directed by ‘Devotion’.

Kindly join me in this effort and visit my Facebook page I would really appreciate if you click on the “LIKE” icon on my Facebook page.


Rudra N Rebbapragada,

Ann Arbor, Michigan, U.S.A.


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Gautama Buddha had observed that whatever is born, produced, conditioned, contains within itself the nature of its own dissolution. The greatest miracle is that of explaining the truth and to make man realize it. What is the Truth? To know the truth about Life, we have to understand the influence of Time. Individual living entities exist during their own LifeTime while the vital principle that animates all Life remains imperishable, immortal, eternal, and unchanging. Time is defined as the duration in which things are considered as happening in the past, present, or future. Time is the measurement of duration, the period between two events during which something exists, happens, or acts. This concept of Time demands that we must make a fundamental distinction between static and dynamic events. Static is the term used to describe a body, mass, or force that is at rest or in equilibrium and hence it is inactive, stationary, not moving, or progressing. Life is a dynamic event in which the object called the living thing exists by a tendency towards change or productive activity. Life requires the presence of a vital, energetic, animating principle that maintains the equilibrium called existence while responding to a flow of events that measure the duration of the existence of that living thing. In my view, Death is also a dynamic event and it is not a static event as the change called Death inevitably flows to cause Rebirth. The flow of Life  must be synchronized with the flow of Time for both of them to proceed until Eternity. I describe Spiritualism and Spirituality as the potency that generates Peace, Harmony, and Tranquility in the Time and Life Interactions to provide the Living Experience that is dependent upon Peace, Harmony, and Tranquility. To know this, we may have to know about  the Cyclical Changes of Matter, and the Cyclical Flow of Time. Chemistry is the Science that would give us the understanding of Living Matter and the Cyclical Changes that are caused by Chemical Reactions. In the study of Life, Chemistry is the Science that describes the nature of ‘Spiritual Interactions’. The ‘Spiritual Interactions’ between Time and Matter  establish, support, and preserve the existence of Life on this planet Earth.





ROBERT BOYLE (1627-1691)THE FATHER OF MODERN CHEMISTRY. Anglo-Irish Physicist and Chemist who separated the Science of Chemistry from Alchemy. He gave the first precise definitions of a Chemical Element, a Chemical Reaction, and Chemical Analysis. He discovered Boyle’s Law(Gas Laws).

All ‘Matter’ is composed of fundamental materials called Chemical Elements. A substance that cannot be decomposed into simpler substances by ordinary chemical processes is by definition an Element. There are about 88 ‘naturally’ occurring Elements, and about 20 Elements are used in measurable amounts by most living organisms. Phosphorus is an essential Element to all Life as it is a component of DNA and RNA that make up the genetic material of all cells and control reproduction of both the cell and the organism. Phosphorus  is part of the energy storage and utilization system at the cellular level. In addition, Carbon, Hydrogen, Nitrogen, Oxygen, Iron, Calcium, Potassium, Magnesium, Cobalt, Cadmium, Copper, Manganese, Zinc, Molybdenum, Boron, Sodium, Chlorine, Fluorine, Iodine, Sulfur, and Chromium are all essential to one form of life or another. Elements can combine with one another to form a wide variety of more complex substances called Chemical Compounds. A Chemical Compound is a substance in which two or more Elements are joined by Chemical Bonds. A Chemical Compound can be created or broken down by means of a Chemical Reaction but not by mechanical or physical separation techniques. It helps to make the distinction between Mixture and Compound. Most naturally occurring Matter represents Physical Mixtures of Chemical Compounds that could be separated using simple physical techniques. While the number of known Elements is small, the number of possible Compounds is almost ‘infinite’; perhaps a million or more Chemical Compounds are known to exist. When two or more Elements combine to form a Compound, they lose their separate identities, and the product called Chemical Compound has characteristics quite different from those of the constituent Elements. For example, the Common Salt or Sodium Chloride is a combination of the highly reactive metallic element Sodium(Na) and the poisonous gas Chlorine(Cl). The unique taste and flavor imparted by Salt cannot be discovered by studying the physical and chemical properties of Sodium or Chlorine. Elements in Compounds always are combined in definite proportion. For instance, a molecule of Water is always made up of two Hydrogen(H) atoms and one Oxygen(O) atom. Again, I would like to pay attention to the fact of two gaseous elements, Hydrogen, and Oxygen with quite different physical and chemical properties can combine to form the Compound Water which has altogether different properties from either Hydrogen or Oxygen. The simple, pure, original, and sweet taste imparted by Fresh Water cannot be discovered in its constituent Elements. I have mentioned that the Element Phosphorus is basic to all Life. Phosphorus is discovered in c.1674 by Hennig Brand. It is an extremely poisonous, yellow to white, waxy, solid substance. When exposed to air, Phosphorus ignites spontaneously. Some of the commercial uses of Phosphorus include the making of detergents, toxic nerve gases and explosives. We have to learn to make the distinction between Chemical Elements and Chemical Compounds and apply this understanding to know the nature of relationship between things. Calcium Phosphate is the principal material found in bones and teeth. Adenosine Triphosphate or ATP is the fundamental energy source in living things. It is very understandable that all Matter is composed of units called Atoms and the physical structure of Atom is well-known. We have to be very careful and avoid deriving understanding about Life and Living Matter from the descriptive knowledge derived from Quantum Physics. To understand the nature of living experience, we need Chemical Molecules and Chemical Compounds whose qualities and characteristics may not be discovered from the study of Nuclear Physics. The phenomenon of creating and breaking down Chemical Compounds in living organisms is known as Metabolism. A Chemical Compound’s smallest units are, Molecules, and Ions. A Molecule can exist in the free state and still retain the characteristics of the Element or Compound; a Molecule can be formed by an Element when it consists of one Atom, or two, or more similar Atoms; a Molecule can be formed by a Compound when it consists of two or more different Atoms. The term ‘Ion’ is used to describe an Atom or Molecule bearing an electric charge as a result of having a number of negative electrons unequal to the number of positive protons in its nuclei. ‘Ionization’ is the process that describes the formation of ‘Ions’ from neutral Atoms or Molecules. ‘Ions’ that are positively charged are known as ‘Cations’, and that are negatively charged are known as ‘Anions’. Simple ‘Ions’ consist of a single charged Atom; double, triple, or even higher positive or negative charges are possible. Oxidation of Hydrogen removes its single electron and gives H+ or cationic Hydrogen which contains no electrons and it has a nucleus which is composed of one proton. This cationic Hydrogen plays a particularly important role in the Acid-Base Chemistry of the human organism with many reactions exchanging protons between soluble molecules. The internal environment of a living cell includes Hydrogen, Potassium, Sodium, Magnesium, Calcium, Chloride, Sulfate, Phosphate and several organic acid ‘Ions’. The chemical events collectively called ‘Metabolism’ require the concentration of Hydrogen Ions and electrolytes to remain within narrow limits in the tissue cells and in the fluid which bathes them. The term ‘pH’ or ‘Acidity’ is a measure of the Hydrogen Ion concentration and a reading level of 7 indicates ‘Neutral’. Human life is possible only if the Hydrogen Ion concentration of body fluid is kept within a narrow range. In health, a blood Hydrogen Ion concentration of 36 – 44 nmol/Liter or pH level of 7.37 – 7.45 is maintained by several closely integrated but widely differing mechanisms.



HENRY CAVENDISH(1731-1810), British Chemist and Physicist noted for his discovery of Hydrogen, a gaseous Element during 1766. French Chemist Lavoisier named the gas Hydrogen in 1783. Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe and it is the major fuel in fusion reactions of the Sun. However, this gas in its free state is very rare in our planet Earth.


Hydrogen, the most abundant Element in the universe is present in its diatomic, molecular form. Hydrogen is important for the formation of Stars. In this photo image, NGC 604, a giant region of ionized Hydrogen in the Triangulum Galaxy is seen.


Hydrogen makes up most of the mass( over 90%)of the universe and about 75 % of natural Matter by number of Atoms.Naturally occurring atomic Hydrogen is rare on Earth because Hydrogen readily forms covalent Compounds with most Elements. Hydrogen is present in the Water Molecule and in most Organic Compounds found in living organisms. Hydrogen forms a vast variety of Compounds with Carbon that are called Hydrocarbons.

To understand Life, we have to know about Hydrogen as it is the fuel that Sun expends in its role as the Cosmic source of Energy that supports the biological existence of all terrestrial organisms. Man exists on the surface of planet Earth not on account of the merit of his physical, or mental work and effort. Man has no direct access to this source of energy produced from Hydrogen fuel. If Hydrogen is important to support the existence of Life, we have to understand the nature of ‘Spiritual Interactions’. Secondly, Hydrogen is important as it is required to form the Water Molecule. However, Oxygen, a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas, is the most abundant Element at the surface of the Earth. In the terrestrial environment, Oxygen accounts for about half of the mass of the Earth’s crust, 89% of the mass of the oceans, and 23% of the mass of the atmosphere or 21% of its volume. Oxygen makes up about two-thirds of the human body. It is a vital substance which supports vital functions. Among Chemical Elements used by human body, Oxygen has the highest electronegativity and electron affinity. Oxygen can form ‘Anion’ with a double negative charge by accepting electrons from a donor like Hydrogen. Most of the Earth’s rocks and soils are principally compounds of Oxygen with Silicon and other metals. It is well understood that most organisms depend on Oxygen to sustain their biological processes. Biological Oxidation-Reduction Reactions are ultimately the sources of energy for the higher plants and animals. While speaking about the importance of Oxygen in the biosphere, we must recognize that Oxygen is responsible for natural decomposition of all organic material. Waste products from the activity of the living organisms, dead plants and animals decompose or oxidized through the agency of microorganisms. Thus,  Oxygen plays a key role both in its support of important processes of Life and Death. Organic decay and decomposition is of fundamental importance for Life to renew itself and to be reborn and to cause rebirth. The study of ‘Spiritual Interactions’ must include the study of Life and Death.


Joseph Priestley and Karl Scheel were the first to isolate the gaseous Element during 1773-74 which was named by Antoine Laurent Lavoisier as Oxygen. It is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas, and is the most abundant Element found on planet Earth.


Oxygen makes up about 90% of Water, two-thirds of the human body, and 20% by volume of Air. Normal atmospheric Oxygen is a diatomic Molecule.
The common Chemical Reaction in which Oxygen unites with another substance is called Oxidation.Combustion or rapid oxidation, the burning of s substance may generate light and heat. The process called Oxidation need not involve the generation of light and heat. Oxygen itself does not burn. The Respiration of plants and animals is a form of Oxidation that is essential to the liberation of the energy stored in such food materials as Carbohydrates, Fats, and Proteins. Oxygen is necessary to sustain Metabolism which primarily involves the Oxidation-Reduction Chemical Reactions. If the Oxygen concentration were to drop to about half its value in the atmosphere, humans could no longer survive. The loss of Oxygen is critical as the human body has no means of storing Oxygen. Because the human body stores no Oxygen, any interference with breathing and ventilation that lasts more than a few minutes can cause Death.
Dr. Daniel Rutherford(1749-1819), Professor of Medicine & Botany, Edinburgh University, Scotland, discovered Nitrogen in 1772. Joseph Priestley and Henry Cavendish in England, and Carl W. Scheele in Sweden also get credit for the discovery of Nitrogen. The French Chemist Antoine Lavoisier proved that it is an Element.
Adenosine Tri Phosphate or ATP is a Nucleotide; the monomeric unit of Nucleic Acid,contains a Purine or Nitrogenous base called Adenosine, a Sugar called Ribose and three Phosphate groups.In most Chemical Reactions of all cells in which transfer of energy occurs, the nucleotide ATP is involved. It functions as a Coenzyme in many enzyme-catalyzed reactions and helps in the performance of chemical, electrical, and osmotic work in animals, plants, and microorganisms.
Cyclic Adenosine Mono Phosphate or cAMP is formed from ATP by the catalytic action of the enzyme Adenyl Cyclase. It controls many important functions in the cell including the ability of the cell to generate electrical impulses and is called “Second Messenger.”It is responsible for the intracellular mediation of hormonal effects on various cellular processes; e.g., Lipid Metabolism, Membrane Transport by opening Ion Channels, and Cell Reproduction.
All living organisms need organic nitrogen compounds such as Proteins, Vitamins like Thiamine and Riboflavin. In nature, Nitrogen from the air is ‘fixed’ by some bacteria and plants. It is then made available to all organisms through ‘Nitrogen Cycle’.
Plants incorporate Carbon into Carbohydrates and other complex organic molecules by means of Photosynthesis. During Respiration or Cellular Oxidation, living organisms combine Oxygen with portions of Carbohydrate molecule, releasing Carbon in the form of Carbon dioxide and water.
ANTOINE LAURENT LAVOISIER(1743-1794), French Chemist and Physicist. He discovered the Composition of Water Molecule and of various other Organic Compounds.
Water Molecule looks very simple and yet it plays a mysterious role inside all living cells. It is essential to Life and its propagation. Its Spiritual nature is revealed by its pure, original, and sweet taste it imparts apart from its role as a Chemical Compound. It is the main mode of transport of many Elements that are needed by the living organisms. Water is the Agent that leaches Nutrient Elements and Compounds from rocks and soils and makes them available for use by plants ,and animals.
The Flow of Time is measured as the duration or the interval between two events; Time exists for man and other living organisms as the measure of the period of duration from Sunrise to Sunset that causes an environmental change; the alternating periods of Light(DAY) and Darkness(NIGHT). Earth’s Rotational Spin transforms the instant called ‘FUTURE’ into an instant called ‘PAST’ without giving man any choice to know the instant called ‘PRESENT’. Earth’s Revolution brings Seasons that man experiences at regular and constant intervals of Time while man simply exists on the surface of planet Earth with no physical experience of Earth’s Motions through Space.
The Biological Clock: Every Living System behaves as if it contains a highly dependable ‘CLOCK’. It is a self-sustained internal timing mechanism that controls the ability of an organism to synchronize its existence with events in its internal and external environment.Such Time-Dependent variability in Function is called a Biological Rhythm.
The Water Cycle or Hydrologic Cycle is necessary to the operation of all Nutrient Cycles. The energy for the transportation of Water Molecules is provided by the Sun and it is the Fundamental Basis for all other Time-Life Spiritual Interactions.
The Carbon Cycle clearly illustrates the complexity of relationships involved in the processes of Recycling Nutrient Elements in Nature. Life depends on the interwoven and interdependent relationships of green plants and animals, supplemented by the activities of bacteria, and the constant transport of nutrients within the Ecosystem and within organisms.
Photosynthesis and Respiration are complementary functions and drive the Oxygen Cycle.Oxygen is necessary to sustain Metabolism. Oxygen is also important and is responsible for natural decomposition of organic material, waste products of Metabolism, oxidative decomposition of dead plants and animals through the agency of microorganisms.
All living organisms participate in the Nitrogen Cycle. It includes the processes and Chemical Reactions involved in producing organic Nitrogen from inorganic Nitrogen and subsequently breaking down organic Nitrogen back to the inorganic form.
Phosphorus recycles more slowly than other Nutrient Elements. Phosphates are taken up by the roots of green plants and used in organic synthesis. They are passed to animals through ‘Food Chains’. Ultimately, Phosphates are released to soil through bacterial and fungal decomposition after the death of an animal.
We need to make the distinction between the Chemical Element Phosphorus and Phosphate the Chemical Compound that supports Life. The Phosphate mineral found in the rocks may have taken millions of years before it became available to plant Life.
Life depends on the interwoven and interdependent relationships between living organisms and the environment. No organism leads a truly independent existence of its own. Each organism lives by either consuming other organisms or the products from other organisms. In a Biological Community, Life and Death have a relationship which has a Spiritual Basis.


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HMS Beagle at Tierra del Fuego (painted by Con...
HMS Beagle at Tierra del Fuego (painted by Conrad Martens). HMS Beagle in the seaways of Tierra del Fuego, painting by Conrad Martens during the voyage of the Beagle (1831-1836), from The Illustrated Origin of Species by Charles Darwin, abridged and illustrated by Richard Leakey ISBN 0-571-14586-8. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Natural Science is the systematized knowledge of Nature and the physical world. It gives us the information to show change as the pervasive natural phenomenon. I seek to establish Spiritualism as the relationship between a changing object and its unchanging Spiritual Nature.


Richard Leakey, the leading Paleoanthropologist who conducts research at Turkana Basin Institute, Kenya believes that humanity will soon embrace the Theory of Evolution. He finds evidence for Human Evolution from the collection of Hominin fossils found in Africa.


Richard Leakey, a leading Paleoanthropologist who conducts research at Turkana Basin Institute, Kenya and teaches at SUNY, New York, has stated: “Extinction is the most common phenomena” …..”Extinction is always driven by climate change.” He believes that he has gathered enough fossil evidence to establish that man has evolved in Africa and that man in the next 30 years or so would fully embrace the Theory of Evolution as the basis for man’s origin.



Things in Nature change under the influence of time. Charles(Robert)Darwin,1809-92, English naturalist originated Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection which holds that all species of plants and animals developed from earlier forms by hereditary transmission of slight variations in successive generations and that Natural Selection determines which forms will survive.


I would like to respond to the view shared by Charles Darwin and other evolutionary biologists by suggesting that the Unchanging Reality supports the biological existence of a changing reality called Life. Human Life depends upon alternate periods of Light and Darkness. Each human being has a life span or LifeTime of its own as the organism measures the time interval between the moments of changing day and night while the source of Light remains the unchanging Reality. The reality called Life is not possible without this environmental change called day and night and the change called day and night will not happen unless it is supported by the unchanging nature of Reality. That is why, Life is a conditioned experience. Life is conditioned to exist by depending upon a change that is supported by unchanging Nature. While the Laws of Conservation of Matter and Energy would not allow matter( or mass ) and energy to be created or destroyed; living things are born and die because of the unchanging nature of Reality. Every change happens because of the unchanging nature of what we describe as ‘Nature’. Things in Nature change and yet Nature remains unchanged. Days alternate with Nights, Seasons change with regularity and consistency. While environment, and climate tend to show change and variation, we tend to notice change in the shape, size, or appearance of a Life Form while the nature of Life remains unchanged. In the fossils, we find the evidence for extinction of life forms and yet there is Life on planet Earth as the living substance, living matter, and living ground material remains unchanged. The unchanging ‘Spiritual’ Nature of Life and living matter allows the simple form of life called Egg Cell to change in size, in shape, in complexity, and in its morphological appearance and arrive as a newborn baby. At a fundamental level, this natural change from a simple to complex form of Life is possible because the elements of Nature have unchanging properties and the celestial objects move in Space in consistent, and expected regular orbits to support the existence of Life. Time flows, brings changes and yet Time flows in a cyclical manner. The Cyclical Flow of Time brings changes called Life and Death and Life after Death/Extinction.

Dr. R. Rudra Narasimham, B.Sc., M.B.B.S.,

Kurnool Medical College, Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh, India,

M.B.B.S.  Class  of  April, 1970.

Biographical Information :

1. Place of Birth : Mylapore, Madras City, Chenna Patnam, Chennai, Madras State, Tamil Nadu, India. Born Hindu, Brahmin(Niyogi-Smartha), Telugu Speaking.

2. Date and Place of Marriage : January 29, 1973, Congregational Town Church, Cuddapah, Kadapa District, Andhra Pradesh, India.



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Man is a Physical Being with matter and form. Materialism is a system of thought that explains the nature of the world as entirely dependent on matter, the final reality. Man must understand what it is to be a substance and what it is to exist. I use a method of investigation or inquiry called ‘Dialectic’ which deals with the nature and relation of things – what each is, how it differs from others, what common quality all have, to what kind each belongs, and in what rank each stands in its kind, and whether its being is real-being, and how many beings there are and how many non-beings to be distinguished from beings. Life is characterized by the presence of complex transformation of organic molecules and by the organization of such molecules into the successively larger units of protoplasm, cells, organs and tissues. Life comes into existence only when matter has the ability to acquire energy from its external environment. I would like to begin this dialectical inquiry by paying a tribute to people who have significantly contributed to the understanding of matter, and energy transformation in living matter.



Antione Laurent Lavoisier(1743-94), French Chemist and Physicist, a Founder of Modern Chemistry. He was one of the first to use effective quantitative methods in the study of chemical reactions. His classification of substances is the basis of the modern distinction between chemical elements and chemical compounds and of the system of chemical nomenclature. His work established the Law of Conservation of Mass(or Matter). He was guillotined during the Reign of Terror unleashed by French Revolution.


Chemistry is the science that deals with the composition and properties of substances, and with the reactions by which substances are produced from or converted into other substances. The name Organic Chemistry originated to differentiate between those substances derived from plant and animal(organic) sources and those derived from inanimate(inorganic) materials. It refers to the Chemistry of compounds containing Carbon, or chains of connected Carbon atoms. The science called Biochemistry involves the study of the large organic molecules found in living systems and their reactions which make up the life processes. The science called Molecular Biology explains biological events by studying the molecules within cells.


Joseph Priestley(1733-1804), English Theologian, Philosopher, and Scientist. His techniques for studying gases led to his discovery of Sulfur Dioxide, Ammonia, and “Dephlogisticated Air”, the gas that Lavoisier named Oxygen. He had studied Photosynthesis in Plants and Respiration in animals. The most important equations for living things are mutually inverse.Respiration represents the reverse of Photosynthesis in Plants.


The Living Cell is a thermodynamically unstable system. This means that without continuous input of energy, a Cell will degrade spontaneously into a non-living collection of molecules. However, we have to be careful in using the term ‘perishable’. The Law of Conservation of Mass or Matter states that matter may change its form or shape; its mass always remains the same. Mass is the quantity of matter in a body regardless of its volume or of any forces acting on it. The Conservation Laws of classical Physics apply to certain physical properties of an isolated system that remain constant with time. These basic Laws of Physics maintain that the total value of certain quantities like mass and energy remain unchanged during a physical process. Laws of Conservation signify that nature does not change with passage of time. Conservation of Mass implies that matter can be neither created nor destroyed; that is, processes that change the physical or chemical properties of substances leave the total mass unchanged. The Law of Conservation of Energy implies that energy can be neither created nor destroyed although it can be changed from one form into another. The Laws of Conservation of Mass and Energy could apply to both living systems and non-living physical systems. To maintain life, a living system not only repairs or replaces( or both ) its structures by a constant supply of the materials of which it is composed but also keeps its life processes in operation by a steady supply of energy. Living systems must be supplied energy for continual synthesis of new organic molecules and to replace or to repair broken organic molecules. Life is a consequence of successive and coordinated chemical reactions – the most important being the Oxidation-Reduction or Redox Reactions.



Most important biological processes involve Oxidation-Reduction or Redox Reactions to acquire Oxidative energy from other substances termed nutrients. The burning of a substance in air is rapid Oxidation or Combustion which is not of much use for living systems. Plants and Animals use a form of Oxidation called Respiration to liberate energy stored in food materials.


Oxidation-Reduction reactions are complementary chemical reactions characterized by the loss or gain, respectively, of one or more electrons by an atom or molecule. When an atom or molecule combines, or forms a chemical bond, with oxygen, it tends to give up electrons to oxygen. Similarly, when a molecule loses oxygen, it tends to gain electrons. Oxidation is a reaction involving loss of electrons, and Reduction is a reaction involving the gain of electrons. The two processes, Oxidation and Reduction, occur simultaneously and in chemically equivalent quantities; the number of electrons lost by one substance is equaled by the number of electron gained by another substance. The substance losing electrons or electron donor undergoes Oxidation and is called Reductant. The substance gaining electrons or electron acceptor undergoes Reduction and is called Oxidant. Common Reductant substances are Carbon and Hydrogen( readily oxidized ). Common Oxidant( substance readily reduced ) is Oxygen. Respiration is the process by which an organism exchanges gases with its environment. Organisms that utilize respiration to obtain energy are called aerobic, or Oxygen-dependent. In Biochemistry, respiration refers to the series of biochemical Oxidation-Reduction reactions in which organic molecules such as carbohydrates( sugars ), fatty acids( fats ), and amino acids( proteins ) are converted to carbon dioxide and water. The chemical energy thus obtained is trapped and stored for later use by the cells.



Chlorophyll molecule is the green pigment found in the Chloroplasts of plant cells is uniquely capable of converting active light energy into a latent form(Glucose or Sugar)using the photosynthetic mechanism. Carbon is the central or key element in the compounds of which organisms are composed; the Carbon is derived from the Carbon Dioxide found in atmospheric air or dissolved in water. Plants incorporate Carbon into Carbohydrates and other complex organic molecules. During Respiration or Oxidation, Oxygen combines with portions of Carbohydrate molecule, releasing Carbon in the form of Carbon Dioxide and Water.


Energy Transformation in Living Matter. Oxygen is released as a byproduct during Photosynthesis and it is vital to Respiration in Plants and Animals. This relationship is very important for existence of Life.


Sir Hans Adolf Krebs(1900-1981), German-born British Biochemist who received the 1953 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for the discovery in living organisms of the series of chemical reactions known as the Tricarboxylic Acid Cycle/Citric Acid Cycle or Krebs Cycle.


Substances formed by the breakdown of Sugars, Fats, and Proteins are converted into Carbon Dioxide and Water, and energy-rich compounds(Adenosine Tri Phosphate or ATP) in a series of chemical reactions. It is the source of two-thirds of the food-derived energy in higher organisms.


Mitochondria are organelles found within most cells which provide the cells with energy by converting Oxidation energy into Chemical energy. They have extensive internal membranes or cristae where Cellular Respiration or Oxidation takes place. They provide energy oxidising Sugars, Fats, and Amino Acids using the Kreb’s Cycle. They have their own DNA and replicate autonomously.


The  process by which a living cell acquires energy to perform its living functions is called ‘Nutrition’, the power by which living matter attracts or obtains materials necessary for its growth and maintenance from surrounding matter or environment. The cell takes in nutrients and excrete waste products. The nutrients are either used as building blocks in synthesizing large molecules or they are oxidized producing energy for powering the cell’s activities. Life may be stated as a relationship between energy-yielding substance and energy-demanding substance.


Irrespective of the size, shape, and external appearance, Consciousness is the fundamental characteristic of Living Matter. Consciousness has a set of defining features; it is the principle by which a Living System knows the fact of its own existence; it knows as to where it exists and knows as to how it is existing. Consciousness is the awareness of energy-dependent existence in a given environment and this characteristic is common to all living cells. The term ‘Spiritual’ describes the nature of a relationship, a partnership, an association, bonding, or connection between living molecules to provide some benefit to the existence of a living, individual entity. Hence, I describe Consciousness as a ‘spiritual’ function as it establishes a relationship between the energy-dependent and energy-yielding substances. Human Consciousness is fundamentally related to the Subject called “I AM” both at the level of the entire organism and at the level of individual living cells that constitute the organism displaying complex structural and functional organization of molecules which acquire, manipulate, transform, and utilize energy for the benefit of the existence of the Individual whom we recognize as a Human Person. Life has to be studied as structural and functional organization of matter in which knowledge is implanted, the presence of this knowledge is reflected in its living spiritual functions of consciousness, intelligence and use of information to manipulate and transform energy to support its own existence in its given environment.

Dr. R. Rudra Narasimham, B.Sc., M.B.B.S.,

Kurnool Medical College, Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh, India,

M.B.B.S.  Class  of  April, 1970.

Biographical Information :

1. Place of Birth : Mylapore, Madras City, Chenna Patnam, Chennai, Madras State, Tamil Nadu, India. Born Hindu(Brahmin-Niyogi-Smartha), Telugu Speaking.

2. Date and Place of Marriage : January 29, 1973. Congregational Town Church, Cuddapah, Kadapa District, Andhra Pradesh, India.