The non-denial of the non-self

I read an interesting article in economist.

Viruses are believed to mutate every few generations. Hence developing a vaccine against even common cold is an unthinkable task. Human body does not go to Norton Anti-Virus website every week to get the list of the latest viruses. Then how do we manage to protect ourselves?

“In Hindu philosophy, to find out who you are, you ask what you are not. Then you are left with what you are.” Simple, we use the concept of negative list. Store the attributes of everything that is harmless/ useful and mark all the rest as “Potential Threats”.

In real life we also use the same philosophy. We make a positive list of friends, and view the rest with skepticism. We analyze these strangers and then classify them as acquaintances or must-avoid.

You can use philosophy to design better security systems. “All non-good agents [pathogens] are non-self”.

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