While matter is made of atoms, life is made of processes. A process is like a stream, that originated in the past, heading into the future. Like a creek, whose water streams from a spring and ultimately reaches the sea. You may never find the spring, nor travel to the sea, still you know that they exist and belong to the history of this creek.

A process is like a stream

All processes in the body have one origin, the fertilized ovum. Fertilization initiated them, and since then they continually stream. Nothing in the organism is static, since streams carry matter and energy. Unlike a creek, processes may end (or die) in two ways. They either transform into one or more different processes, or lose their identity (structure), and dissolve into atoms, and molecules.

Emergence and normativity

All processes in the organism originate at fertilization. Then they then evolve, multiply, transmute, and interact, creating new properties and functions. The outcome is a growing embryo, then a child, and finally an adult. The organism grows, becomes more and more complex, and its properties emerge. Emergence is the modern counterpart of Canguilhem's "normativity".

Wisdom of the body

Emergence involves ever increasing complexity. Although we know the origin of the organism, we barely grasp how it emerges. Disease emerges from health, and vice versa, and since our mission is to treat, we wish to understand these transitions for the benefit of the patient. This is the sole objective of the WOB metaphor. To create a concept that aids physicians during treatment. The organism has an emerging wisdom that is essential for survival, the WOB. The two WOBs of sperm and egg bring them together. Both belong to processes that started in the past. Now they fuse, initiating a new process that emerges to become a human being.

Instinct and instinctive reaction

In order to control processes WOB requires information on their performance, or state. This information is called here instinct. Processes interact and interleave. Some are affected by the environment and induce WOB 's response. When it gets cold outside, performance of some process changes, and WOB may respond by shivering. Yet shivering can occur also due to internal causes, e.g. during fever. Generally, when an outside trigger induces a response it is regarded as instinctive reaction. Here we shall extend this definition to include inside triggers as well. Any information on the state of processes in the body is instinctive, and any outcome induced by it is an instinctive reaction. Like homeostasis, that requires continuous surveillance,and is an instinctive reaction.

Maximal gain with minimal effort

Beside control, WOB' s chief objective is to spare resources. When responding to an instinct, WOB will always select a performance (or solution), that requires minimal resources. By itself WOB never accumulates resources. Only an instinct drives it to accumulate them. When a microbe enters the body, it destroys cells (necrosis). Dead cells signal WOB that a threat has occurred. It then mobilizes defensive processes, e.g., inflammation and immune response that gradually rise until the threat has been eliminated. Inflammation is an instinctive reaction to dead cells (instinct) and microbe. WOB would never mount an inflammation by itself. It only maintains and responds, and does not initiate. Initiation is driven either by instinct or by a conscious wish, e.g., when touching our nose.

Touching your nose involves:

  1. A decision.

  2. Conceiving the task and imagining it.
  3. Execution by the WOB


WOB does not appreciate danger, and will not initiate a response to it. Neither will it prepare itself for dangerous situations, nor accumulate resource for averting danger (prevention). Only instinct notices danger and occasionally may signal this sensation to our consciousness. Since WOB spares resources, it may occasionally fail to handle a threat, and the organism dies. This may seem as a WOB inadequacy, but has a deeper meaning. Organisms are parts of processes known as food chains, where death of one trans-mutates it into different processes (or live forms). Survival in the food chain depends on the tolerance of an organism to inconsistencies of the environment, or its health. The greater tolerance the better its health and chances of survival.

The task of medicine

Ever since its appearance on earth, the human race continually improves is prospects for survival, that may be attributed to its culture, and to medical practice.

Medicine has two major tasks:

1. To improve health, which means raising tolerance, or WOB boosting.

2. To improve survival despite low tolerance.

Both tasks are mediated by WOB. Treatment has to support WOB during this endeavor.





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