I’m sick. What does that even mean? Locally, yesterday I woke up fine and around 3pm noticed a very subtle sensation of bulbousness at the back of my throat that I associate withe first symptoms of being “the common cold”. Typically, I wrestle with it for a night before it finally starts rolling out the true feelings I associate with ‘sick’. This cold, however, did not dally. By 6pm my throat was dry and raspy and the beginnings of pain set in. I slept from about 6:30pm to 8:30am. I woke up feeling worse than I had when I went to sleep. I was achy, nose-runny, throat-raspy, eye-fatiguey.
What is all this? Is it necessary? Why do my muscles tighten up? Initially, I was going to try to deep dive into the phenomenology of the experience. But I’m too tired. Why? What is being sick? ‘Sick’ being? The answer probably boils down to some biochemical description of byproduct buildup and the activation of “flushing” systems. “Flush” it out. Like I’m a toilet for this virus, or whatever it is.
Although I don’t doubt the epidemiology of the movement of pathogens, I do doubt our primarily biochemical, causal explanations. I understand that some virus is moving along surfaces into me. But I also sense the movement of something else, perhaps, even, on top of that virus. Some mind outside of myself that draws me in. Difficult to describe what I’m trying to say, especially in my state.
Imagine if you will a human experience “popping out of” a human brain. It’s not hard to do. According to textbook science, this is what is happening both with us (reader/writer) and with everyone else. So, although we don’t quite understand the mechanisms of it, basically, subjective experience is the result of energy moving through that anatomical structuring known as the brain. Now, now, I know. There’s a lot more to it than that oversimplification. But that’s the gist of it. Mind out of matter.
So now I’m just extending that notion to say that maybe “experiences’ (albeit of a wholly different qualia) result from energy moving through ecological systems. And maybe viruses play a role in the movement of that energy. Maybe viruses have to do with “inhibition” of targetable subsystems of overarching systems that can contain the overall life cycle of the “virus”.
“Virus” then, is just a pathway, a mechanism, of some “other” logic. Probably the logic effected by “the common cold” virus could have been embodied some other way. But we’re DNA based lifeforms. So, there’s a natural order to things.
That’s about as close as I’m going to get to embodying that idea tonight.