Article by Gustáv Murín (Slovakia)
Translated by Viktor Pomichal
Published in The Ofi Press issue 38.
The Virus as a Principle
Science defines a virus as the smallest and simplest form of life. Without its own enzyme system a natural virus is reliant on a parasitic way of life. As such, the pathogenity of a great number of known viruses is just a logical consequence. They master the nucleus of the host cell with their genetic information and force it to produce up to a hundred thousand copies of the initial virus. The result usually being the disintegration of the host cell, release of the newly created viruses into the surroundings and the repetition of the whole cycle. From a human point of view the existence of primary viruses in nature is an oversight in the Creator’s grand plan. Without them the world would be much safer - and, most importantly, much clearer. It seems that they are here so that we have something to fight when we manage things that are visible, recognizable and thus defeatable. Viruses in nature could also be interpreted as an annoying, yet often deadly redundancy worsening our lives regardless of our intervention. And now let us consider that we, being rational creatures, have succeeded in creating our own world in this century. It is a world of computer programs. A world that is only dependent on our best resolutions. And as soon as we created this world, the virus appeared too! But this one is not supplied from somewhere just to annoy us. On the contrary, it is our product! We can put an exception into the world of our rules straight away, deadly viruses of our own production! And such that they can reversibly destroy the results of our computer work or, lately, the computers themselves. This time it is not nature that is against us, it is just ourselves! It is a uniquely clean experiment that did not work out. Or vice versa - it did work out, as evidence of anxiety that any world without viruses and parasites generally would be imperfect?
Image: "Ebola Virus Particles" by NIAID.