Prepare for the polemic, a challenge to your beliefs. Some may find this list disagreeable but present-day perception is not its prism. Viewed through the perspective of time, it may become clear.

 Unless one can identify the problem, a solution is impossible. For their untold effects on health and wellness, we offer history’s Top Ten Most Disastrous Inventions. These have wrought havoc on the human race. Of course, there will be those who point to them as boons to mankind. For your consideration:

The Internal Combustion Engine When time has run its course and clarity prevails, the damage done to the earth and its inhabitants by this once-believed good idea will be tallied. We could have found a better way to move from place to place than to burn things up and put out dirty air. The millions and millions of lungs that paid the price are legion. Not to mention 40 or 50 thousand killed in crashes each year in the U.S. alone. In existence for but an infinitesimal pinch of our time on this planet, the internal combustion engine may end up being the single most destructive device in human history.

Electric Light Bulb To many, it’s a beacon of civilization. And what harm could it do? Well, it’s a major factor in our disassociation from nature. Humans now rule the night. That’s not on our evolutionary map. At night, the human animal is supposed to sleep, safe, secure and restful. The light bulb overrides our diurnal and circadian clocks. Our health pays the price. In fact, we’ve ruined the night for nature, too. An overflight of the planet shows that the amount of landmass remaining untouched by artificial lighting has shrunken to unbelievably small proportions. And why, oh why do we feel compelled to leave millions of lights on in unoccupied office buildings all night long? Like energy use isn’t a problem?

Agriculture Oh, boy, I can hear you from here. Okay, maybe the disaster isn’t agriculture per se, but what we’ve done to agriculture. Corporate agribusiness and mega-livestock-production are fully capable of ruining the planet and destroying our health without any other influences involved. What agribusiness passes off as “food” doesn’t nourish, it kills. And the resources the livestock industry consumes have bankrupted the planet.

Techno-pharmaceutical Medicine The paradigm of pill-popping at a whim or nudge arguably kills more people than it heals. Not only have we become a society addicted to prescription drugs, every time we pee, we pollute the water table and drug our planet’s animals. Antibiotics and their overuse could likely spell the end of the line for our species. Human evolution is no match for the rapid evolution of drug-resistant pathogens. The very thing we try to kill has become stronger because of us.

Timekeeping Yes, humans have been keeping time since before Stonehenge. But when we became obsessed with it as an economic lever, the demands of time became a doomsday device. We move further beyond nature and respect for the natural flow and ebb of energy when we lock into regimented time to the degree we have. Manipulating time, applying time zones, shifting it arbitrarily with “savings time” and more have put us in a very unfavorable position with regard to our natural cycle.

Democracy Even Plato wrote that democracy ends up failing and concentrating power in the hands of a small number of elite rich. Sound familiar? Occupy Athens. Here we are, nation-building and trying to install democracy in every third- and fourth-world country we can. Hey! Democracy is only one of many types of government. And it’s likely not the best form. Forcing democracy on people obviously doesn’t work. Maybe some cultures are best suited for tribal rule. And our democracy? Where did it go? I don’t recall voting for a Patriot Act or SOPA or Obamacare or bombing Libya. Or bailing out foreign banks.

Corporations “…unless you become more watchful…and check this spirit of monopoly and thirst for exclusive privileges, you will find that the most important powers of Government have been given…away, and control over your dearest interests has passed into the hands of corporations.” The utterance of an Occupy Wall Street anonym? It could have been. But in fact, those words of warning about the heinous evil corporate power could wield if left unchecked were spoken by President Andrew Jackson almost 200 years ago. Corporate influence, indeed, corporate rule, is the oligarchic truth of our current democracy. Follow the money and you’ll find why government rolls they way it does. The aggregates for economic leverage date to early Rome. It was only in the era right after the Civil War that corporations were moving toward controlling currency and the monetary system. President Jackson vetoed the formation of a national bank that would print money but that was only a temporary victory for Jeffersonian ideals.

Religion Organized religion gets a lot of flack. There is no doubt many would claim that fraternal deism prescribed by human directive provides ample benefits. But by virtue of the many errors committed and killings caused in the name of religion, from Crusades to witch hunts, Inquisitions to jihads, organized religion deserves a place on this list.

Computers If autonomous “smart” drones begin targeting humans who exhibit what the drones’ self-propagated software determines as “aberrant” behavior then we’re all in for the doomsday scenario of Terminator and the war between machines and humans. That will place computers at the top of the list of most disastrous inventions of humankind. Since autonomous drones already exist we at least know where to watch.

I’ve left one slot open for your own contribution to the list. Bring it on.

Remember, in order see a solution, the problem must be recognized. If we don’t know the problem, then, even when a solution is revealed we wouldn’t know it. Healing and wellness are just around the corner if we just get out of our own way.

Be well.

Heartland Healing examines various alternative forms of healing. It is provided as a source of information, not as medical advice. It is not an endorsement of any particular therapy, either by the writer or The Reader. Access past columns at

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