Then comes the disease

Then comes the disease

The vital impetus generated by the symbiosis of the elementary components at the origin of life (Aux SOURCES de la Vie”, (2018), Eric Karsenti), then the life drive in its emergence, are clearly perceived when the new -born, getting used to his lung breathing, cries for long minutes while listening to himself scream. I wanted to mime my first daughter (in her absence) to try to feel what she herself could feel. I was exhausted after two minutes.

This letter is primarily addressed to parents. It is the result of a concern, that of arousing in the reader a sensualist knowledge, that is to say, based on his feelings. They would provoke in him a feeling verbalized as follows: “I feel a certain truth in myself in this presentation”, or even: “This presentation speaks to me! »


It is common to observe children who, when going to the cash desks of supermarkets with their parents, throw themselves on the ground when their desire for the candies spread out before their eyes is thwarted.

Yet another reaction, which I would describe as a “chaotic burst of life”, occurred when a young thirteen-year-old boy had, at the “Scribbled Rock” during a teenage camp, a crisis initially qualified, in the rush and by educators of Reunionese culture, of “crisis of possession”. It lasted three long hours. It took no less than three adults to contain and calm him down. Challenged on these facts, my interpretation was to value this demonstration similar for me to a burst of life aiming to deprogram epigenetically the way of being inhibited of this teenager in full puberty, in which many psychological conflicts entered suddenly in resonance.

I limit here this enumeration of examples of reactive movements of life which, according to my interpretation of clinician of psychology, would illustrate the difficulties for the organism to eliminate the not self (in the first example the chemical results of a frustration felt by the organism), since the molecular differentiations characterizing the different phases at the origin of the élan vital should avoid what weakens them. The emergences that organize the living are initially self-produced by the organism itself, and this since “ancestral” times. When the élan vital is durably frustrated, inhibited, the energy stasis becoming miasma stagnates and attracts all sorts of parasites. Harmless at first, they can create the conditions of inflammation by becoming pathogenic until they create organ neuroses. This pathogenic process would tip the organism into disease. Thus Wilhelm Reich (1897-1957) imagined and already raised the question of “deepen, this process: how can the stasis of energy in a tissue lead to the bionous decomposition of the cells? », work « Biopathie du cancer », 1948, Ed Payot, 1975, p. 213.

Hans Selye (1907-1982), author of the term “stress”, could say that “something is running out”. He gave it the name “adaptive energy” without being able to define this adaptive energy exactly. He will specify all the same that “one does not get used to the worst”, in “The stress of life”, (1975). The vital momentum visible during fertilization and the “vital tumult” perceived today in vivo even during gestation are eroding. We prefer the expression “vital momentum” to “vitalism” which risks having ideological connotations.

This preamble leads us to question research in immunology when it is then often a question of “autoimmune disease” or immune “depression”, a term that is ambiguous to say the least which refers to etiologies that have not yet been scientifically validated.

The author we want to popularize in Reunion is Thomas Pradeu
. He defends the idea that the theory “of the self and the non-self” (the organism would fight the non-self) will have spread this (false) idea of ​​a self of the organism isolated in front of its environment endowed (or supposed) capacities to face the non-self. This theory sees in the organism “a homogeneous whole isolated from its environment, whereas recent data tend to show that it is a heterogeneous whole largely constructed by its environment”, p. 189, “Critique of self and non-self in immunology”, in Life and then, Passionate debates of yesterday and today, (2013), edited by Jean-Jacques Kupiec. His criticism is radical when he writes that this vocabulary is “seller”. The organism holds within it prodigious possibilities of reactivity, of course, and even of creativity, as we can clearly see with dreams which can announce changes in behavior in the sleeper. But one does not get used to a habitus (insidiously a-physiological codified neurologically), a way of acting and being which for a long time will have modified the physiology and weakened the immune defences, often without warning signs.

This attractive “self and non-self” theory, of which Thomas Pradeu makes the history, ranked as “vocabulary that would eliminate the non-self, has been well established for fifty years” in people’s minds. “It is undeniable that many scientists show a certain conceptual conservatism.”

———————— 1)

Eric Karsenti, At the sources of life, Flammarion, 2018 2)

Thomas Pradeu, The limits of the self: immunology and biological identity, University Press of Montreal and Vrin – France, 2009.

Frederic Paulus

Researcher at CEVOI

Expert outside the High Council of Public Health

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