published in agnishatdal 1-agnishatdal-kartik-1423
The Thought hospital
Written by- sayak banerjee, 9th sem
Cartoons by- Sayantan Mukherjee, 5th sem
The name of the planet is “dystopia”. It has a soothing-dark atmosphere with a violet glow to see the area in close proximity. The wind has a fishy smell to it-not disturbing but not quit pleasing either. The planet is hurting-ly silent. The Earth, even in the absence of anybody’s attention, sings its own music- the vibrations of the roads, the friction of the leafs, the barking of stray dogs, the arguments of ‘the ladies’, the busyness of the bazar, the laughter of aged-tea-groups. A sound is a physical entity and noise a mind’s perception. The absence of noise soothes ones soul and the absence of sound makes it restless. The planet’s atmospheric o2 content is quit high- suitable for its inhabitants but toxic for humans (making it more suitable for their survival from human colonizing hands). In earth, man considers o2 to be quite a blessing but too much blessing can bleach one from the inside- apparently “blessing” is quite circumstantial than universal; at least in this case.
The people out here are typically small and from the human lenses their appearance its very similar to a human brain with little hands and feet grown. They don’t have any eyes, ears, mouth. Their communication uses a different wave, which humans can only understand using a translator. A human voyager has landed this planet and a representative of this brain-tribe has been appointed as his guide fora trip to their civilization.
The first thing they hit upon was the hospital.
The human asked, “what kind of diseases do you get?”
“all types, sir. Infections, auto inflammation, cancer, AIDS, accidents. What not, sir?”
“what happens when you get sick?”
“ our health issues are a lot like as in earth, sir.
We get infections, ‘ thought-infection’ as we call it, by the roaming‘ thought-viruses’. They infect the susceptible and then grows in various parts like the decision making centre, perception centre, expression centre etc and causes modification of normal function, gives rise to abnormal(!?!) functions and hampers the normal distribution of resources to different areas, causing overflow to the ‘ inflamed-areas’ and underflow to the other areas, modifying the flow of ‘ thought-stream’, sometimes even affecting the optic nerves and causing ‘blindness’. The common viruses are ‘views’, ‘crush’, ‘religion’, ‘political inclination’ etc. The last two can be commensal but sometimes becomes pathogenic due to mutation of the original virus.
Our body normally has a defence in the form of ‘ thought-phagocytes’ and ‘thought-antibodies’, which find and kill new, damaging thoughts, creates antibody-memory to quickly eliminate in reintroduction of similar antigens, also called ‘experience’. The nature of the MHC protein is unknown though as most ‘self’ stuffs can be traced to a foreign origin. Maybe clonal suppression plays a hand. Some people also has a first line of defence like ‘ego’ which prevents foreign thoughts from easy entrance – beneficial for defence against harmful viruses but also kills helpful ones as it is non-specific. Understandably the first line defence is better to be both potent and not too strong or the person has to have a very strong second line of defence.
Anyways the treatment is normally symptomatic as most are self-limiting and in some cases injection of ‘anti-thoughts’ are sufficient. There is also the problem of development of resistance against commonly used ‘anti-thoughts’ and demands development of newer ones.”
“your immune system is quite a blessing I have to say. It takes care of the most diseases otherwise only 1 hospital in the whole civilization!”
“yes and no sir. Infections are easily curable. But problems of the immune system are hard to cure. Sometimes it just goes nuts. Take for example ‘word-hypersensitivity’. The immune system just overreacts to certain previously exposed ‘word-allergens’ irrespective of the context, which causes the person to start screaming and yelling, getting mad for irrelevant reasons which is a serious debility to both the person and the people around him. The treatment here of controlled exposure is very tough sir.
Then again, this is not to say immune system is not a blessing. We learn about a blessing that is taken for granted in the absence of it. Sometimes overuse of ‘thought steroids’(mentioned later) or infection by ‘thought retroviruses’ (like prolonged slavery) causes ones immune system to break (‘thought-AIDS’ lol) and susceptible to be carried away by every presenting thoughts (or ‘advices’ as the people phrase it). The person just does this fora few seconds, then does that- in the end producing nothing at all. This vulnerability causes total confusion for both him and people around him. Its a very tragic scenario. The person needs ‘immune transplant’ and prolonged stay in ‘thought-sterile’ environment to recover, but he can recover though.”
“ and how does the care givers reach to him- won’t they contaminate the sterile environment with ‘otherwise-commensal’ thoughts?
“that is indeed quit a problem you see. As the person is very susceptible, there is high chance of developing dependence towards the ‘immune-donor’ (gurus or councillors or mentors as they phrase it) and the chance of getting infected by the opportunistic pathogens from the careless care- giver like ‘biases’ , ‘religion’ etc.”
“oww!! The care givers need to be very careful and conscious about themselves then.”
“yeah, and often they don’t (sigh).
Then we have this auto-inflammations, another immune dysfunction where the immune system ( or the ‘thought-police’) causes inflammation (starts fighting) against ‘host-thoughts’. This causes the affected to start questioning“who he is?”, “what is he doing?”, “why he is doing whatever he is doing?”. While trying to find out ,the person suffers from thought-paucity, thought-excessivity, social-alienation, pathological introversion, self-alienation, sometimes even suicidal tendencies. The disease is sometimes self-inflicted or circumstance-inflicted. This disease does a good job though, it helps to get rid of the community acquired viruses (like beliefs) and increases the self-knowledge. The medical treatment is pretty much supportive including‘thought-physiotherapy’, sometimes along with ‘thought-steroids’ to treat over-inflammation. But when the patient gets cured, he develops a very thick meninges, a clear knowledge of ‘the self’, and absence of the fear of losing. In their minds (the mind of the mind!!) he has nothing to lose.”
“ahh!! Thought-physiotherapy is that what you call it?”
“ yes, sir, physiotherapy. It also has important roles in case of tragic accidents where parts of the brain gets destroyed or unusable (causing inferiority complex, helplessness)or phobia about similar circumstances. It is very common in physically exploited victims which completely changes their spectacles of certain experience. The physiotherapy includes rehab, controlled exposure, sharing etc. The main part of the rehab is modifying ones spectacles”
“like those +/- spectacles?”
“no. The colour-blindness spectacles. Imagine a candle lighting in a dark room sir. Some people see the patterns the light makes while some other the patterns the absence of light makes. One is called positive and the other negative. Some more differently getting out of this black and white scenario to a more complex coloured version. We use a shark-roaring test to diagnose and treat this colour- blindness/ colour-biasness.”
“can’t someone have a bit ‘neutral’ lens?”
“ that’s very rare sir, except in childhood. You might use neutral spectacle sir, but that just means you will see it in neutral and non-neutral view. Not necessarily the ‘absolute neutral’ sir, only a different light with its own shadow. The most esteemed brand of spectacles ‘zen’, ‘Upanishad’ promises to do that. But then again requirement of a spectacle proves that our eyes are somehow blind, not necessarily its a fault in the eye but commonly it is in the visual association areas. Only a child has no spectacles but unfortunately creating spectacles is an important step of growing up only matched by later attempts to remove the otherwise used-to spectacles. A new wearer can feel his spectacles, an used to one forgets he is even wearing one. A change to new spectacle causes initial uneasiness and apparent ‘clear vision’, but may not be the absolute one.
Actually what one is saying speaks more about his spectacle than the object he is seeing. To get an idea of what he is seeing he has to learn about his spectacles. Attempts to remove the spectacle is pretty futile and leads to change of spectacles rather than no spectacle.”
“and what is the most toughest disease you face?”
“ oh!! Its the ‘thought-cancer’. Sir.
What happens is, a normal thought has a fixed life span- it goes through ‘programmed thought forget-ation’. But when a thoughts apopto-genes (proto oncogenes) gets mutated, it becomes immortal(unforgettable). Initially it causes reversible behavioural change according to site and type of cancer(metaplasia). If the stimulus persists, the changes become permanent (dysplasia). Then it grows disproportionately bigger forming a ‘tumour’. After that it starts to spread to different areas modifying or suppressing their functions( metastasis), and ultimately death. Sometimes it also causes a few side effects, according to the chemical it produces (paraneoplastic syndrome)”
“wait wait. This is getting way over my head!”
“ lets take an example sir. Our teenage people commonly suffer from a‘thought-virus’ crush. Its origin is physiological hormonal stimulus. But sometimes it gets a bit modified due to the confusion of the patient (mutation). When the ‘other’ shows a bit of interest (often only a delusion of the patient), there is rise of reversible thought alteration (metaplasia). If it continues for long, the condition becomes a bit more serious and irreversible- an infatuation as we call it (dysplasia). Then he thinks unusually more about her often ignoring his other jobs (thought-tumour). Some, sometimes even develop a kind of unresponsiveness to other peoples of opposite gender(except the ‘other’), uninterested at his own well being, doing things that on his imagination is something she wants him to do (paraneoplastic syndrome-delusion). Ultimately, he starts to hallucinate her all the time, eating the way he thinks she wants him to, sleeping the way he thinks she wants him to, finding her influence in every normal chores.he confuses love with pity. If left he may even die by suicide as an expression of his devotion, or die due to lack of self care. The other common cancer is ‘religious extremism’,‘economic-extremism’.”
“you people seem to be very conscious about health, you people are quite over-cautious i would say. Why do you try to create this too-disease-free world. Don’t you think it will undermine the value of good health? Why not just let things go sometimes?”
“well, we consider health and the well-being of our people of utmost importance sir. Just as you people take financial and territorial dominance in your planet .Mind-ism is utmost importance to us as is extremism (and sometimes anti-extremism extremism) in your planet. And a diseased person spreads more disease. We want a world where health can be taken for granted, productivity an obvious thing- for that we might have to hold things a bit strongly than we should do. Everything is as important as we make it,sir.”