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Effects of a hyper-sterile environment

So the other night I couldn't sleep and I started thinking about the waste-spell and its variants in s-d because you know, what else would I be thinking about. I haven't been around the LJ parts for a while, but now I have some questions so I hope this is okay.

Indelicate questions under the cut:

Are there medical repercussions???


1. Sometimes as unpleasant as it seems with our OWN cultural taboo on body functions and such, symptoms of a variety of illnesses manifest in the character and contents of waste. For example, if someone's vomiting we know something's wrong, but if they're vomiting blood we know something is REALLY wrong or at least a different kind of wrong, but with the waste spell that kind of distinction would get lost in the throat. Other kinds of health issues also have symptoms that are related to waste, even hydration is a little easier to keep track of if one bothers to check the color of their urine. Does the trade of the hyper sanitized environment and cultural taboo of s-d end up with people being undiagnosed more or for longer?

1a. Same applies to animals, actually. Even though I know they cannot use the waste spell and the task falls to "wanders", it seems the cultural taboo would prevent animal-owners from paying much attention to the waste their wanding, which given that animals don't always signal something is wrong, their waste is one of the main diagnostic tools we have. My roommate's cat once ended up with a bladder stone and the ONLY symptom he was in any discomfort was his bloody urine, but it was a pretty darn important thing that needed to be treated.


I'm actually just curious how the modified waste spell for this works. Though depending on if it's like a one time don't worry about it after thing or based on time/quantity, that could also effect diagnostic questions regarding causes of anemia.

tl;dr: While the waste spells certainly provide convenience and protection against disease, I wonder if it has an impact on frequency and speed of diagnosing non-communicable health issues in both humans and animals (and the other races??)

((Also, I'm a little behind on s-d reading. Tragically right now the more I want to read a book, the more I put it off?))


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 15th, 2016 08:38 pm (UTC)
Interesting point
I have no idea regarding the answer -- but I'll be interested in any that turn up.
Sep. 15th, 2016 10:16 pm (UTC)
I figured out the waste spell when I was a teen, and then over the years, considered the repercussions and how they handled them. This seemed to me to parallel the mages' developments over the centuries. For example, when they first did the spell, it would be for solid waste, and it would go underground. But if too much went underground, it would feed into the water, and people got sick.

So mages looked back at custom patterns, like: night soil on crops. So . . . if the waste was transferred to gardens? And the what if it was broken down? And so one, until they got a balance.

Now, when that happened, it was centuries and centuries before medical technology ever considered looking at byproducts for signs of ill health on Earth, long before the world gate transfer, though they probably did in animals, who cannot describe their symptoms. You see references to writing about animal waste and what it might mean in farm animals, in old texts. They also did it with human waste but it seems to have been more like augury, even in the eighteenth century.

In Old Sartor, it was easier because the dyranarya could get below the surface of the mind and sift for anomalies in the physical self. But I think healers were also trained to do the same: look at tongues, ask specific questions, and then they had, in effect, diagnostic spells. All developed over centuries of trial and error. So a good healer can ask questions, then feel the way a really well trained sport doctor, say, can feel problems in tendon and muscle, the really good chiropractor feels bone alignment that is subtly off, etc.

Edited at 2016-09-15 10:18 pm (UTC)
Sep. 16th, 2016 08:38 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I am always delighted by how extensive your world-building is. And also how willing you are to share it.
Sep. 16th, 2016 11:12 pm (UTC)
Oh lord, the problem is shutting me up!
Sep. 16th, 2016 10:11 am (UTC)
Interesting question, thanks for asking it!
Sep. 26th, 2016 12:24 pm (UTC)
I'm reminded of a scene in the movie "The Last Emperor", where a servant took a sniff of the emperor's chamber pot. I've read that there are some expensive high tech Japanese toilets that do health monitoring. And I wonder about some of the high-tech chicken farms where waste gets shunted away.

High enough tech (or magic), could include some kind of health monitoring feedback. But it doesn't have to.
Sep. 26th, 2016 01:09 pm (UTC)
I think their magic detection went more in the direction of Dr McCoy's gadget, rather than poop sniffing!
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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