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How Henry Ford Undermined Civilization: Series. Post One

How Henry Ford Undermined Civilization: Series. Post One

Let me admit right up front: I am a bit of a Luddite.  Not all “advances” are beneficial. Progress for its own sake isn’t attractive to me. The lesson of “Jurassic Park” isn’t that science is wrong: it’s not cautious. The Luddites always have a point, but the money-makers have the mic. They don’t share it, they drop it. Conversation over.

Today, I want to focus on the impact of “assembly line” thinking on human health.

Henry Ford transformed the auto industry – and all industry – by creating the assembly line system.  Make sure every carburetor is the same, and you can mass produce cars where parts are plug-and-play. Decrease your costs, increase your production, and make a fortune. 

While we haven’t reached the point, yet, where people are being assembled like machines, we are pretty close. A human ear is grown on a mouse. We can swap organs. Joints can be replaced by artificial ones.  Pretty cool, huh?

So, what is the downside? I’m so glad you asked!

This may surprise you, but human beings are not machines.  Our body is much more than the sum of its parts.  Our DNA is in every cell, and the body electric holds it all together.

“Cooking from scratch” is becoming a lost art because mass produced food is heavily marketed to us.

Our parts do not work separately. They are connected by blood flow, lymph flow, and electrical pulses. Our brain isn’t confined to our head; according to Johns Hopkins University, a system called the Enteric Nervous System connects our brain and our gut.

According to  Jay Pasricha, M.D., director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Neurogastroenterology, whose research on the enteric nervous system has garnered international attention, “The enteric nervous system doesn’t seem capable of thought as we know it, but it communicates back and forth with our big brain—with profound results.”

The more science digs into our “fearfully and wonderfully made” bodies, the more we realize we are much more complex than we thought. 

If the brain and gut are connected, what else is going on? In some ways, Traditional Chinese Medicine, with its charts and graphs and sayings, is closer to our everyday reality than some aspects of conventional medicine.  Every body system has complementary parts that take turns.  Why are we wide awake at 2am when we want to be sleeping, and sleepy at 2pm when we want to be awake? Because fatigued organs are trying to take turns resting, and one or more of them just can’t… quite… pick up the slack.  The thyroid says, “Hey, adrenals, could you take care of things while I reboot here?” and the adrenals says, “I’ll try, buddy, but honestly, I haven’t gotten what I need from this girl in years!” 

The impact of this non-holistic thinking is staggering.  You can’t just “plug and play” body parts or replace food with chemically-derived nutrients; there are unintended consequences.  The body works hard to reject the parts that don’t belong, while searching for the missing ones. The liver is looking for the gall bladder to work a little harder, but it’s gone, because removing a painful part is easier than changing a lifestyle.  The liver transplant goes well, only to have the patient discover that all the reasons s/he was drinking to kill the pain haven’t gone away.
A few people feel “as good as new” but are we really as good as we could be?

Please don’t think  I’m anti-organ transplant or against replacements in cases where it is indicated. I don’t want to go back to blood-leeching and eye-of-newt. But if our whole concept of how the body works is askew, if we are asking the wrong questions, then it is possible we are driving somewhere that we don’t want to go in our assembly-lined vehicle. 

A machinery-based model makes it all too easy to neglect our body, and the things that matter in our lives.  Our ancestors have always had a life rhythm that allowed for daily restoration and personal contact.  Matthew Kelly, author of The Rhythm of Life, said, “If you don’t break from the tensions of daily living, they will break you.”  The Rhythm of Life: Living Everyday With Passion and Purpose

Our pace of life is literally wearing our body out. But we don’t listen to its cries for help, because we have caffeine, painkillers, sleeping pills, and automation to help us out. Assembly lines all over the world churn out solutions to every problem. But the machinery is still getting tired. We replace a knee only to discover a hip that ain’t feelin’ it.

There is a lot of money to be made on our crises, and not a lot of money to be made on a content, radiantly healthy populace. 

When we see our body as a machine, we see a part that isn’t working, and think, “I don’t need that old thing! I don’t even know what it does! I haven’t needed it in years!” or we joke about our unhealthy lifestyles, because “If my liver breaks down, I can always get a new one!” We don’t nurture it and care for it. Then, little do we know that the problems we have in one part are impacting every other part. We see the toenail fungus and the urinary tract infections as two problems, when fungal growth in the gut may be the cause of both. We medicate the brain and undermine the digestion. 

Not only does this create long lines at the checkout counter in the medical system, but the long slow slide to a health disaster isn’t a pleasant way to live.


Next up: Henry Ford 2: Was women’s liberation more about automation than valuation?

Check out my book, Zombified! Everything I Need to Know About My Health I Learned From My Hangover