Riskin’s point is that the mission of science—the determinist science that arose in the middle of the seventeenth century—has been the elimination of the last vestiges of agency from the natural world.
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What’s the ROI [Return on Investment]?” answers its own question with what amounts to a firm “not much”—and for all the reasons I have given here: the frequency of false positives, the dangers of the tests themselves (such as radiation), and the unlikelihood of finding a problem in a still-treatable stage.
It was the existence of widespread health insurance that turned fitness into a moral imperative. Something seems to be going very wrong with the human mind, not in its emotional responses to the world, which have always been a bit unreliable, but in its ability to perceive and understand that world.
A more informative foundation for macrophage classification should be based on the fundamental macrophage functions that are involved in maintaining homeostasis [a state of balance supposedly necessary for the health of the organism]. We propose three such functions: host defence, wound healing and immune regulation.
Many historians have argued that the rise of self-awareness starting in roughly the seventeenth century was associated with the outbreak of an epidemic of “melancholy” in Europe at about the same time, and subjective accounts of that disorder correspond very closely with what we now call “depression.”
The immunologist Alfred Tauber wrote of the self as a metaphor for the immune system, but that can be turned around;the immune system is a metaphor for the self. Its ostensible job is the defense of the organism, but it is potentially a treacherous defender, like the Praetorian guard that turns against the emperor.
On his deathbed Bertolt Brecht wrote: When in my white room at the Charité I woke towards morning And heard the blackbird, I understood Better. Already for some time I had lost all fear of death. For nothing Can be wrong with me if I myself Am nothing. Now I managed to enjoy The song of every blackbird after me too.