Friday June 24, Poomully Mana, Kerala, India (in Monsoon time- the best time to be here unless you are only interested in going to the beach - the monsoon is soft and moist and it freshens nature and makes sounds soft. It is easy to think and muse.
It is monsoon here in Kerala where I have come to deal with the word incurable. Incurable is the word Doctors use to describe my medical condition. In the late seventies I had a medical procedure called a MYELOGRAM that was used in the days before Cat Scans and MRIs. It involved injecting a contrast agent into the holy of holies the spinal cord. The spinal cord does not have a mechanism for expelling foreign matter so when they ‘attempt’ to withdraw the oil-based fluid they of course can’t and in a majority of cases after some time has passed (usually around 20 years) it acts as an adhesive and sticks the nerves together and thereby hangs the problem.
When you try to use one of those nerves it will move all of the nerves that are adhered to it – this cause the brain to over react and send messages to all the parts served by those nerves, to go into spasm and/or pain. The magic word is ARACNOIDITIS – the word arachnoid as many of you may know refers to spiders and it is only when a cadaver is cut open that you can see the inside of the
spinal cord is decorated with what looks like spider’ webs. So this problem is more accurately known as an inflammation of the sub-arachnoid space. End result is pain, continuous pain that can only be treated by the recommended use of narcotic medications and ultimately morphine. Arachnoiditis is also known as Cancer without the release of death. So be wary of having a back operation heed
the early signs SERIOUSLY.
When one takes even the junior narcotics like I take one can get into a bit of a blurred existence. Two years ago I came to this Ayurvedic Hospital in the Palakkad District of Kerala I experienced a complete absence of symptoms and without symptoms I no longer needed medications. Unfortunately this only lasted about 2-3 months and then slowly my ordinary day-to-day life (driving, shopping, cooking going to the theatre or movies trying to write sitting up etc) took over and before long I was back working out the highest dose I could take and still operate in the world. After one year I decided to return to Poomully for the longest time I could manage and see if it made a more permanent change to my situation.
As I write the ancient temple across the track is finishing 5 days of reciting the Vedas twenty-four hours a day and the last guy sounded like a jazz-rock singer of the sixties.
Poomully runs a very strict regime where basically you have to agree to do anything they tell you and eat or drink every thing they give you including in my case 6 individually made medicines which they adjust every few hours a day. All medicines are made from leaves, bark and branches gathered in the time-honoured way by the hill tribe people from the forests that remain. Kerala is blessed in many ways - 2metres of rain a year therefore hydro -electric power, massive forest and fields, an ancient internal water transport system.
Out of a population of more than 60million, 20 million are catholics – catholocism started here when St Antony arrived after the death of Christ.
There is also a large percentage of Muslims and all appear to share schools and public facilities without a problem. The biggest asset this state has is a 95+% literacy rate and almost no corruption. Many of these wonderful things appear to exist because Kerala had a Communist Government for 50+ years since independence in 1948.
Ayurveda is about 3000 years old so far and translates as ‘ knowledge for a long life’ and has been offered to people free here at Poomully for over 650 years The locals can come to three free clinics a week for no fee but in most cases they must pay for the medicines. The accommodation is housed in the three-storey, 250 year old ‘bachelor quarters‘ that was attached to the 1650 sq ft palace that was demolished in the 1970’s due to lack of funds and a high Palace tax.
There are two resident Doctors and two visiting Senior Doctors and about 26 staff for a maximum of 9 patients (currently about 6.) The food is medicine here and is good but after a week or two you remember this is a hospital not a ‘spa’ . The cost is 100 Euros per day - that covers absolutely everything except transport to and from whereever you come from.
I have to stop now but for the next six Fridays I will write from here although the schedule is very busy from 5:30am till dinner at 7pm.
Good night to you Dear reader - it’s China for at least 3 weeks, then India, then the Arab world and onto 16th Century Europe (primarily England and Holland but touching on the Portugal, Africa and the Americas. Good Health to all and get a second opinion at least before letting the Doctors cut you.
China Part 1.
It has been said that most people’ s knowledge, and understanding of China is based on their local Chinese restaurant. Where I grew up there were no Chinese restaurants but Chinese New Zealanders ran many of the fruit and vegetable shops, in our city and market gardens.
The only time I focused on Chinese people being different to the rest of us was when I was about fifteen or sixteen, as a member of the school army cadets, I was taught how to shoot and care for rifles and machine guns and how then how to organise a squad so that individual protestors in the streets could be shot without anybody being able to identify the soldier who fired the bullet that killed the protestor.
In the film, the protestors were Chinese and so was the person who was killed. The Chinese were the enemy was the message I was left with.
My neighbor a very smart woman believes the Chinese may well have plans to invade Australia. China invaded Tibet in 1965 to re-establish direct control over what they see as autonomous region of China. They also attempted an invasion of Vietnam unsuccessfully for over a thousand years. I am not aware of China invading any country that was not on their borders in its 3,000 plus years of (known) history.It has rarely been to war with other societies except Tibet and North Vietnam. In Hanoi
you can visit the Ancient Temple, which is said to be the first University in the world or visit any of the pagodas and you can see China's legacy.
On the other hand China was invaded three times - first by the Mongols who in 127-1386 became the Yuan Dynasty and then the Manchurians in through Korea to become the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912). Then in the 19th century a coalition of European and American forces (partly in response to the Qing Government attempt to close down the British and European drug trade that at its peak had 40 million opium users taking the foreigner's opium that came from Bengal and Ottoman-controlled Turkey). The main reason, apparently, for this invasion (that included destroying the Emperor’ s palaces) was to force the Chinese to open 5 Ports, including Hong Kong and Shanghai, to the Westerners.
Societies could only fully develop when they were organized with a professional educated administration. Early societies were often based around the idea of the powerful man, family or clan who appointed people to take positions in Society. We can see that this led to great inequalities and ultimately to weakness through cronyism and nepotism.
China was not the first to become an organized state - Egypt and Tunisia had been organized states before China. The knowledge and management required to build the pyramids are signs that engineers, architects, managers and stoneworkers had been brought together to realize these buildings. When the Arabs invaded these countries as they expanded out across the top of Africa the organised states ware not there to defend then.
China on the other hand was unified from 7 kingdoms into one Empire in 221BCE and thus ended the warring states period that had plagued the seven societies. So the first Dynasty of unified China, The Qin, began as the organised society building on the benefit of the massive logistical planning that was required to defeat the six other kingdoms in order to create a unified China.