I think that the answer is yes - provided you have a context for your life. Just as the new Protestants could read the bible as a family and so work out how to live their lives in order to save their souls, so today we can look at how our past has shpaed us to be healthy or not and also make informed decisions about how to live our lives to be healthy.
Here is my first shot at putting together a guide for living. We start with a metaphor - tomorrow we go to the rules for real.
The Rules for Human Health
Sometime when we think of something really new it helps to have a metaphor. Here is one that helps me think about myself and how my health really works.
I think of all the computers I own and use. We don’t need to be engineers to understand how they work from a systems point of view. Just as we don’t have to be evolutionary biologists to understand how humans work either. At a high level the rules are simple.
Here are the rules for your iPhone, or your Android, or your Windows laptop. And for you and me too.
It needs energy to work. Computers depend on energy for life. Most important is the quality of the source of our energy. It is best if it is stable and clean. Prolonged unstable energy and dirty energy will erode the performance and in the end lead to failure, or death. It is the same for us. We are electrical and so energetic beings. Our food is our source of energy. Might food quality might be an issue for us too?
The body of the device has environmental limits. Your device is designed to do a job within a specified environment. It has design limits for moisture, temperature and vibration. The further away we get from the design environmental limits, the worse the device will perform. If we get too far away, spill coffee on it or drop it on the road, it will stop working. We are like this too. Our evolution has set physical and environmental limits too. Maybe if we stray too far from our limits, we will not do well either?
How a computer is assembled will affect its performance. Mistakes can be made on the assembly line that will change the performance of the computer. These faults are now built into the device. It is the same with us. Our parents’ epigenome influences our own and our epigenome is formed by the environment that we have as a small child. Our epigenome will affect us for the rest of our lives. So the first 3 years of our lives, starting before conception are very important.
Computers have a set of social rules. Computers use sets of formal rules and routines to drive operations and to enable applications to work with each other. These rules create a “culture”, or a set of social habits and languages, that enable the computer to work. They have 3 levels. It has a foundation called the Bios. On top of the Bios is an operating system. On top of the operating system are the Apps. They all have to operate in harmony with each other. They all have to use common languages and use predictable responses to stimuli. Humans are cultural beings. We too have a 3 layered mind that has distinct rules that rely on each layer and on each other. They too all have to work in harmony for us to be healthy. When they clash, we have a problem.
Computers can get diseases. Computers are no longer stand alone devices. They inhabit a massive social environment. The more connected computers are, the more vulnerable they are to outside viruses and to hacks. The more popular the operating system, the more it becomes a target for viruses and hackers. The weaker the anti virus immune system, the more vulnerable. The less careful and less diligent the user, the more vulnerable. It is the same with humans too. Connection and concentration create vulnerability for disease. We too need a robust immense system and we too have to be careful and thoughtful about what we do.
A computer is all of these things. It is energy, it has a body, it has a culture, it has a social environment. All of these elements interact and iterate. The best fit with all the rules the better. The same is true for us. The difference is that we make the rules for the computer but it is nature that has made our rules. These rules have been created over millions and thousands of years.
Our rules are a product of our evolution over many years. We cannot change these rules just because we want to.
Tomorrow - the Rules of Nature and us