Cells can do it. They can disassemble, then recycle, dysfunctional components through a regulated process to stay healthy. They do it all the time, and they do it well, especially when under stress. In extreme cases, they can use the decomposed components as sources of energy to survive.
But do we, as individuals (aggregates of these cells) or as societies (aggregates of individuals) do it as often or as well as our component cells do?
We are living organisms, and as such, we age with time. Our bodies, and our thoughts and feelings, grow old. At some point, they begin not to function as well as they used to. But can we deem them as waste and discard them?
Maybe yes, to some extent.
Maybe we can remove by medical procedures parts of our bodies that have become unhealthy, and have revelations through catharsis that lead us to leave behind negative thoughts and feelings.
But maybe, it is more likely that the ill parts of our bodies cannot be easily replaced and the maladies in our thoughts and feelings cannot be reinstalled at will.
And maybe for humanitarian reasons, those who have difficulties taking part in our societies due to physical disabilities or mental impairments or ideological deviations cannot and should not be disposed.
Maybe if we keep taking to the waste dump what we claim to be “dysfunctional” in us, either as individuals or societies, we will soon be filled with unusable components and become crippled.
Maybe if we are to stay reasonably healthy, at any level, the same principle under which cells operate, to disassemble and recycle dysfunctional components, needs to be applied.
It will take much more time and effort to turn waste dumps into recycling plants, but it is far more (re)constructive, and possibly energetic, to promote lively lives, than to simply let parts of us that do not work degrade and disappear and die a slow death.
Maybe we as aggregates have a lot to learn from our component cells on self-checking and self-cleaning.
Congratulations to my countryman biologist Dr. Y.O. for winning the Nobel Prize in medicine or physiology for his discoveries in autophagy!