Posted in after the diagnosis, coping with chronic illness, coping with life threatening illness, living with chronic illness, Living with Illness

Are We Acting Like Cancer Cells?

There is no denying that we are interdependent with the Earth.  She is the mother of our existence and without her we wouldn’t survive as a species.  Life on this planet has certainly changed over time and with all the talk about climate change and changing environments is it any wonder that the number of people being diagnosed with chronic and life-threatening illness is on the rise?  Wouldn’t you think that our life as a species mirrors that of the planet?  I know there are some doubters out there, but that’s the position I’m putting forth.

I was reading Michael Dowd’s book,  Thank God for Evolution, and in the book is a comment made by an audience member at one of his talks.  This is what the audience member said,

 “I’m an oncologist,  I work with cancer patients every day.  From my vantage point we are inadvertently destroying our larger body because we lack evolutionary guidance.  We’re acting like cancer cells, rather than immune cells.” 

He continued, “A cancer cell is a normal cell that, for one reason or another, loses its genetic memory.  Cut off from the wisdom of millions of years of developmental guidance, it stops cooperating with the rest of the body.  It experiences itself as separate from the body, overpopulates, and proceeds to consume the very organism that supports it. 

The man pauses, and then asked rhetorically, “We call our society a consumer society, and to consume something is to eat it up, right?  I believe we are consuming the planet because, like cancer cells, we’ve been trying to live without evolutionary wisdom.”

Even if you don’t have cancer, there’s a bigger question.  Are you acting like an immune cell or a diseased cell?  This is an important distinction because it means that as an immune cell you’re engaged in activities that build resilience and foster an environment conducive to health and healing.  As an immune cell you would be engaging in activities that continuously and aggressively combat intruders that try to derail you from the journey to wellness.  It means you have to work hard because immune cells have a tough job keeping out the intruders.

As with anything and everything in your life you have choices to make.  You can go with the wisdom of the mind, body, and spirit and act like an immune cell or you can play the odds and be freewheeling and reckless.  You can give yourself every opportunity to engage in health and healing practices or you can abandon your body thinking or believing that your fate is already sealed.

Immune cells have a difficult job, but I believe we’re all up to the task of promoting health and healing.  There is an evolutionary consciousness that has gotten us (humans) to this point in our evolution and to abandon that knowledge and wisdom negates millions of years of evolutionary vision.  Be an evolutionary visionary and act like an immune cell.


I've lived my life in service to others. I'm focused on mental health and how it impacts our relationships, culture, and society. Through creative expression and narrative I believe we can impact change.

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