Biology Scientific Speculation Systemic issues of India Systems

Systems-formation: Most powerful survival tool evolved by life on Earth

Systems-formation is the most powerful survival tool evolved by life on Earth during its 4 billion year long journey on this planet. In nature, systems go through a process of evolution by interacting with reality. As these systems constantly pass through feedback-based restructuring, if they survive, they end up being extremely robust over time and thus can serve as inspirations for designing artificial systems.

As introduction of AADHAR – a unique ID number (UID) – has unruffled feathers of many, I am tempted to explore a natural parallel of it to validate it.

UID number is an omnipresent feature found in natural systems. As raison d’être of every natural system is to offer collective gain in the form of common facilities to its parts, for equitable distribution, every system needs to know who its members are; and as a corollary, identify free-riders and prevent them from stealing systemic gains.

Our body is a nation of trillions of cells working together under a system. This system ensures that each body cell receives common facilities like oxygen, nutrients, protection from attack etc. in exchange of serving in a specific role it is assigned.

To ensure equitable distribution of common facilities only to the “self” and not to hostile or parasitic aliens, human body is armed with a highly specialised UID system. Every cell that is “you” carries a molecular ID card made of a protein marker. If a cell fails to produce its biological ID, it is attacked by an immune system designed to destroy all aliens without showing any mercy.

As UID system is common across life on Earth, it has its exploiters too. Parasites make a living by hacking UID system of host using amazingly brilliant ploys, each worthy of a separate story, but there is yet another type of cells that we, as a nation, need to look at with greater interest.

As a UID system is essential for a cell to get its rightful share in systemic gains, it makes no sense for a cell of a body-like system to find it disadvantageous. But, what if there are cells who are not interested in limiting their gain to what is equitable?

What if there are cells that want to cheat, usurp and divert the systemic gains for personal selfish growth?

Unfortunately for us, cancer cell that develops inside our bodies match the above description exactly. They are mutant cells that refuse to participate in body functions. The only agenda they serve is towards their self-gain and growth.

As cancer cells are armed with same UID marker as rest of the normal cells, our immune system has no way to identify and destroy them. So, cancer cells can go about exploiting systemic resources with immunity.

It is not difficult to grasp that the cancer cells have an exact parallel in our nation. Common law-abiding citizens are like normal cells who are happy to carry an UID if it means that it will help them get an access to the equitable gain. So, they have no objection in becoming visible to the system. But, there are individuals who are interested in usurping systemic gains for personal growth, who are bound to get uncomfortable with being identified by the system.

This poor nation is full of large tumors that have developed over the years in the form of empowered individuals who have diverted systemic gains of this massive nation to their pockets by escaping detection from the system using the weak UID system India has. So, they enjoy the status of being citizens but access far more than equitable gains by remaining invisible. They are just like cancer cells that are observed to even manipulate body into building specific blood vessels dedicated to them.

As we are in dire need of finding a cure of this systemic malaise before it destroys us, we need to return to human body and look at methods used by medical sciences to deal with cancer cells to see if they can be applied to cure India that is suffering from cancerous growths.

It is every oncologist’s dream to find a way to provide specific ID as hostile aliens to cancer cells, so they can be isolated and dealt with by immune system. As these cells are already carrying existing UID, one interesting possibility is in finding a way of tagging them with an additional ID so they will become visible to the immune system and can be destroyed by it.

Immunotherapy is a recent idea that hopes to use body’s own immune system to destroy cancer cells. One of the methods it uses is oncolytic virus therapy that is looked upon as a great hope if it works.

Scientists are modifying some of the viruses found in nature in a way that they infect cancer cells only. An oncolytic herpes simplex virus type-1 is now approved a cancer drug in USA and EU. This simple brilliant idea can be looked at using an infection to make a cancer cell visible to immune system.

Just as scientists need to lift the ID veil that cancer cells are hiding behind, India needs tools to unveil those who are extorting the system far beyond what they equitably deserve as citizens.

It is not difficult to see that we are a nation teeming with masses, unable to access what is rightfully theirs, and privileged citizens who have usurped a lion’s share from what the nation collectively generates.

For the system to be able to distribute its resources equitably, a UID system is absolutely mandatory; but, before it can work, we need to flush out the cancer cells by identifying them. So, each of us need to retrospect and understand where the discomfort for AADHAR is stemming for.

AADHAR is may be an immunotherapy experiment that is not well designed in context of privacy, but elitism cancer has now taken us to almost a terminal stage. So, the nation desperately needs to identify the system-exploiters at any cost, including that of privacy.

I am happy to admit that I have managed surviving till now with minimum effort as all my intellect has be used to avoid doing anything meaningful. As I needed to while all the free time I generated in course of being lazy, science has been my favorite muse that I have enjoyed company of. As an effort to kill time (in a way, to get even with it) one fine day I decided to write a science column, more for my personal amusement than to attract readers. After getting educated about the attention span of modern readers from my editor, it became more like a challenge to tackle esoteric subjects in 600 words that I have managed to remain interested in for more than a year now. I do not want to add my worldly profile here as these are ideas that need to be considered only on the merits they carry and not as an opinion of a certain human being.

0 comments on “Systems-formation: Most powerful survival tool evolved by life on Earth

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: