May 01, 2011

There is much we don't understand about how our bodies work -- far more, if we are honest, than yet we do understand. It is entirely possible that we never can understand the processes involved in their entirety. Systems of sufficient complexity breed additional complexity at a more rapid rate than the additions can be understood and categorised.

Many times, treatments work as we expect and hope. At least as often, treatments fail. Nothing we have yet imagined is as effective as our own body's immune system. Even with all our modern knowledge, the very best we can do is still to support a healthy immune system. It is still the most effective line of defence against disease -- until it falls short, overreacts, or fails utterly.

We have never learned to create or duplicate anything even close to this. The closest we can come is a bone marrow transplant: to replace malfunctioning substances we don't fully understand with the same substance, hopefully healthy this time.

Sometimes, against all our knowledge, the body rallies. We don't know how, we don't know why. Maybe what we so casually dismiss as the placebo effect can sometimes go far beyond what we commonly assume. Maybe we can never know for certain.

So where is the harm in ascribing an extremely rare, otherwise inexplicable remission to the power of belief? Why not call it a miracle, and be grateful for that miracle?

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