There must have been a "Eureka!" moment back in the late 1800s when, investigating an infection in the French wine industry, Louis Pasteur happened upon the discovery of micro-organisms. He must have felt the jolt of a thrill of realizing that he'd stumbled upon something really monumental.
He was perfectly aware of the concurrent research being conducted by rival French scientists, including the extraordinary Antoine Bechamp and even his good friend, Claude Bernard.
The separator of the waters between them, something that came to be as contentious as the War of the Currents between Tesla and Edison, was that his scientific rivals had reached the opposite conclusion: the body does not get sick as a consequence of an invasion of microbes from outside, but is instead sick in the internal system of the organism. Microbes appear as a consequence, not as the cause of disease.
Pasteur's self-marketing won the day, however, and his discovery underlies all of the paranoia and fear around contagions.
Calming Pandemic Hysteria today on Thinking with Somebody Else's Head.
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