December 7, 2016

Social inequality is a cause of disease in itself, scientists say

Macques

Photo Credit: Yodels

By Joe Perez

Despite thousands of years of prophetic religious teachings telling us to lift up the poor and identify with the outcast, and hundreds of years of Western Enlightenment teaching about that all people are created equal, we live in a world of massive social inequality. When we aren’t completely ignoring the problem, scientists research the phenomenon to shed light. In “Why Low Social Status Causes Health Problems,” on Big Think, comes word from the study of macaque monkeys that inequality leads to disease:

[S]cientists have determined that your social rank substantially affects your health, with those on the lower end being most prone to health problems. Using a population of macaque monkeys, researchers at the University of Chicago observed that social position caused different sets of genes to fire.

The traces of inequality are even visible in biological markers, with blood able to predict social status with 80 percent accuracy. Sensisitve to any misunderstandings that their research is implying that biology equals destiny, the scientists add:

While that smells like destiny, scientists also found that outside forces, such as a promotion in the social hierarchy, were enough to change those chemical compositions.

The democratization of Enlightenment — or, in theological terms, the wide-scale realization that every human being is a personal face of essence, the image of God — is our great calling. There are no status tiers in enlightenment teaching, though there are important distinctions help guide us to ever deeper realizations for ever wider spans of people.

Let’s not put off realizing our Unique Self another minute. Lives depend upon advancing awareness of our personal divinity.

 

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