The idea of our bodies being symbiotic communities of ecosystems has become more mainstream now, but still intriguing to me. That's especially true as it relates to our minds and behaviors. A few odd and often unrelated ideas occurred to me as I read this short story:
- Rodents infected by toxoplasmosis from cats are said to lose their fear of them and thus more likely to become their victims.
- There seems to be some correlation between the microbial colonies in our gut to our physical health, as well as to our mental and emotional health (e.g. chronic depression).
- If social ills are caused by communities of humans not working well together for the optimal benefit of all, is individual ill health essentially caused by a similar benefit vs burden disparity among all the systems of our bodies?
- Good scientist vs bad scientist stories remind me of other archetypal good vs evil stories. This one weirdly made me think of the fall of the mythic Lucifer (from the most angelic to the perceived most evil) to become (with and against God) the most protective of the notion of free will. Their relationships are ultimately a spectrum/symbiosis (and not a binary/dichotomy)?
- How is free will affected by knowledge of the factors that consciously or subconsciously influence choice (.e.g addictions, compulsions, empathy, fear)? What is really a free choice in various circumstances under a variety of systemic pressures?
-Is it better to have good will and intentions (but not act well on them) vs having scurrilous intentions that somehow result in good actions? And if so, should we add a twist to the philosophical notion: if there were no devil(s), would it be necessary to invent one? (Which I suppose we already do, early and often.)
That's a lot of stray thoughts to be thinking while reading one very short story, but perhaps that's what made it so enjoyable for me. All in all, a nice archetypal sci-fi tale written ahead of its time decades ago and re-released as an ebook.
(review of free book)