March 22

Cholera

March 22, 2017

Stress Management

Over the history of the world, uncounted millions of people have died of cholera, a bacterial infection characterized by severe diarrhea, vomiting, and serious dehydration that often leads to electrolyte imbalance, muscle cramps, shock, and even death—all of which can occur within hours of the onset of symptoms. 50 million died in India alone in a one-hundred-year period spanning the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

For thousands of years, cholera appeared and spread in unexplained epidemics, killing thousands to millions at a time. In 1849, British doctor John Snow published an article outlining his theory that cholera was spread when people drank contaminated water, but people were still slow to believe it until the theory was proven by possibly the world’s first true epidemiological study.

Finally, in 1883 Dr. Robert Koch isolated the bacterium that caused cholera and proved that Dr. Snow had been right all along. The cholera epidemics in Europe and the United States ended in the 19th century after cities finally improved water sanitation, and millions of lives are still being saved yearly around the world as clean water is becoming a priority.

Until Drs. Snow and Koch identified the cause of cholera, it killed millions of people each year. Only when the cause was known and taught could physicians and public health officials slow cholera’s unfettered march of death.

The world is presently in the grasp of a disease far worse than cholera, which kills only the body. Everybody has to die of something, and cholera is just one way to go. Far worse is that the vast majority of human beings never get the opportunity to truly live—to experience freedom and rich fulfillment—because of a disease we haven’t even named. We spend money, talk a lot, get angry, and launch campaigns for the purpose of eradicating racism, violence, illiteracy, sexual assault, and much more, but we’re not even close to a consensus on how all of those problems begin and spread.

The pandemic disease I speak of is unhappiness, which afflicts nearly every household in the world. And violence, racism, drug abuse, and more are nothing more than symptoms of this underlying disease. But we don’t even see the cholera of unhappiness, only the symptoms, and we haven’t a clue of the cause. We are as ignorant of the cause of unhappiness now as the people in the 1700s were when they drank water contaminated by adjacent leaky sewage pipes.

It was many years after the efforts of Snow and Koch before their discoveries really began to stem the tide of cholera death. So much unnecessary suffering, and so it is with the unhappiness rampant among us.

We must begin to wake up and see that we ARE suffering and that we have become so accustomed to unhappiness and all its symptoms that we have learned to accept it all as normal. We have to see the cause, that unhappiness is caused by the lack of unconditional love that nearly all of us experience from early childhood, that it is preventable, and that if we don’t wake up, the violence, marital discord, war, alcoholism, and endless other “problems” surrounding us will continue.

PCSD

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