Disconcerting Realities
Mexico and Beyond

Dr David, Editor / Publisher

It is mildly disconcerting, the way the light bulb dims each time the washing machine agitates its load one sixth of a gyration. Still at 9:00am, at this season, the sunlight does not penetrate the house so far so well. My eyes, once my pride, need some artificial illumination, in addition to magnifying lenses, to easily read the book before me here in the bathroom.

Virgo, they say, rules (or should it be, is ruled by?) the bowels. Back in naturopathic school we questioned our physiology teacher about popular fads; should one eat such-and-such?... At one point in this ongoing process the professor replied with finality, "What difference does it make as long as it all comes out?" (Well, yes, but certain things, among them hydrogenated oils and pesticides, don't come out.)

The teacher in question was one George Block, who had retired from teaching physiology at Stanford Medical School. He was the head of the Gurdjieff movement for Northern California, living on their nearby commune, on the back road to Bodega Bay, where they made furniture. In what I assume was in keeping with Gurdjieff's philosophy George often replied to questions, "Why don't you struggle with that for a while." I prefaced my infrequent questions with, "George, I've struggled with this a long time and I need an answer." One of his final exams consisted of a solitary question, "You've just ingested a teaspoon of salt. Describe everything that happens in your body." I wrote for the full hour allowed and didn't encompass it all.

A carnivore's intestines are short. Human intestines are long. Meat elicits bile acids from the pancreas to digest the fat that it contains (whether or not you see it). After a short while these bile acids convert into carcinogenic molecules, which is why a carnivore has a short intestinal track. The average human transit time, how long it takes food to move from your mouth to your toilet, is 72 hours. You may move your bowels every day, but on average what you are moving has been in there for three days. This is why vegetarians don't get bowel cancer.

My transit time is less than 24 hours. Gracias a dios, with me there is no problem with it all coming out. Consequently, my bathroom reading lasts me a while. Soon enough, then, I've done my business and have turned off the disconcerting dimming light bulb. Mexico is a process of learning to live with the disconcerting: neighbors, beyond the reach of the law, who build their houses above the legal limit; the nearby hostel, which on certain Saturday nights, is strangely permitted to blare their rooftop music, well above the legal limit, well into the wee hours; cops shaking you down on your way back from Costco; 7,000 migrants painfully making their way up to the US border. I could go on, but won't, because I'm sure you've all got your own list of things that disconcert.

When I had cured my patients from their physical ailments by giving them the correct homeopathic remedy and so gained their respect, I was in the positon to give them advice, advice that, given my important role in their lives, they might actually follow; use meat as a condiment, drink fresh-squeezed (organic carrot) juice, eat slowly... Sometimes this advice turned into psychological counseling. Often I would cousel, "If you think that things shouldn't go wrong, then you've got two problems: the thing that went wrong and your sense of injustice that something went wrong.

This is true in politics as well. There is one political philosophy, which we might call Utopianism, that believes things ought to be right; that there is a just solution; that human beings are inherently good and potentially perfectable; that we can all share. There is another political point of view which holds that humans, however wonderful we may be at times, are generally selfish, lazy and violent; that we need the protection of the law; that constitutonal democracy, however tainted and imperfect our versions of it are, is under threat, is far from inevitable and is what protects us.

I'll leave you to contemplate that dichotomy. The sun is shining strongly now and I've got clothes to get on the line.

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photo: Alessandro Bo (cropped)

Dr David started this magazine because he could write and liked to communicate. He fully expected that in a town like San Miguel he could find authors to publish in addition to himself. Well, practically no one is submitting anything. Stubborn as he is, he continues, now publishing himself, and a faithful cadre of authors and photographers. His motto continues to be, "It's hard to be ahead of your time."

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