Alors survient la maladie

Then the illness comes

The vital impulses that arise through the symbiosis of the elementary components at the origin of life (Aux SOURCES de la Vie”, (2018), Eric Karsenti), then the life instinct in its emergence, are clearly perceived in the newborn, getting used to its lung breathing , cries for minutes while hearing himself scream. I wanted to mimic my first daughter (in her absence) to try to feel what she could feel herself. After two minutes I was exhausted.

This letter is primarily intended for parents. It is the result of a concern to awaken in the reader a sensual knowledge, that is, based on his feelings. You would evoke a feeling in him that is formulated like this: “I feel a certain truth in me in this presentation”, or even: “This presentation speaks to me! »


It is common to see children walking to the supermarket checkout line with their parents, throwing themselves on the floor when their craving for the treats laid out before their eyes is thwarted.

Yet another reaction, which I would describe as a “chaotic outburst of life,” occurred when a young 13-year-old boy in “Scribbled Rock” during a teenage camp in a hurry and through a crisis first qualified educators of the Reunionese culture, the “crisis of possessions”. It lasted three long hours. It took no less than three adults to contain and calm him down. Challenged by these facts, my interpretation was to evaluate this demonstration for me as similar to a life eruption aimed at epigenetically deprogramming the inhibition of this teenager in full puberty, in which many psychological conflicts suddenly resonated.

I limit here this enumeration of examples of reactive life movements which, in my interpretation as a clinician of psychology, would illustrate the difficulties for the organism to eliminate the non-self (in the first example, the chemical consequences of a frustration felt by the organism) since the molecular differentiations , which characterize the different phases at the origin of the élan vital, should avoid what weakens them. The emergences that organize the living are initially produced by the organism itself, and this since “ancestral” times. If the vital energy is permanently frustrated, inhibited, the energy build-up, which becomes a miasma, stagnates and attracts all kinds of parasites. Initially harmless, they can create inflammatory states by becoming pathogenic until they produce organ neuroses. This pathogenic process would plunge the organism into disease. This is how Wilhelm Reich (1897-1957) introduced himself and already asked the question of “deepering this process: How can the accumulation of energy in a tissue lead to the biological degradation of the cells? », work «Biopathie du Cancer», 1948, Ed Payot, 1975, p. 213

Hans Selye (1907-1982), author of the term “stress”, could say that “something is going out”. He will give it the name “adaptive energy” without being able to exactly define this adaptive energy. After all, in “The Stress of Life” (1975) he will specify that “one does not get used to the worst”. The vital impetus visible during fertilization and the “vital tumult” perceived in vivo today also erode during pregnancy. We prefer the expression “vital momentum” to “vitalism” which might have ideological connotations.

This preamble leads us to question research in immunology when it is then often about “autoimmune diseases” or immune depression, an ambiguous term to say the least, referring to etiologies that have not yet been scientifically validated.

The author we want to make known on La Réunion is Thomas Pradeu
. He defends the idea that the theory of “self and non-self” (the organism would fight the non-self) will have propagated this (false) notion of a self of the organism isolated from its endowment (or putative ) Environment Skills to face non-self. This theory sees in the organism “a homogeneous whole isolated from its environment, while recent data tends to show that it is a heterogeneous whole largely constructed by its environment”, p. 189, “Critique of the Self and Not-Self in Immunology”, in Life and Then, Passionate Debates Past and Present, (2013), edited by Jean-Jacques Kupiec. His criticism is radical when he writes that this vocabulary is “salesman”. The body naturally harbors amazing potential for responsiveness and even creativity, as we can clearly see from dreams, which can herald behavioral changes in the sleeper. But one does not get used to a (creeping, aphysiologically neurologically codified) habitus, a way of acting and being that has changed the physiology and weakened the immune system over a long period of time, often without warning.

This attractive “self and not-self” theory of which Thomas Pradeu makes history is considered “the vocabulary that would eliminate non-self and has been firmly entrenched in people’s minds for fifty years”. “It is undeniable that many scientists display a certain conceptual conservatism.”

———————— 1)

Eric Karsenti, At the Sources of Life, Flammarion, 2018 2)

Thomas Pradeu, The Limits of the Self: Immunology and Biological Identity, University Press of Montreal and Vrin – France, 2009.

Frederick Paul

Researchers at CEVOI


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