CIRS – It’s not a bug, it’s a feature.

Not Bug Feature

March 7, 2019

In the world of computer programming, it’s not uncommon for lengthy computer code to behave in unexpected and less than desirable ways – to have a “bug”. Clients that then used the software would complain. In response, programmers would lightheartedly try to “dress up” the bug by saying that it wasn’t actually a bug at all but instead, was a “feature”. The suggestion being made was that the programmers actually intended for the software to behave as it did and that the client should be thankful for the aberrant behavior – wink, wink. It was sort of an outstanding joke that programmers used to bring a bit of humor into the stressful realization that their code needed more work.

As it relates to Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS), I have occasionally opined about having the misfortune of being endowed with genes that make me susceptible to biotoxins. The whole experience was quite brutal and its only many years later that I’m able to step back and reflect. For the longest time, I viewed CIRS as a “bug”. In other words, there was a problem with my genetic makeup that caused my immune system to freak out from miniscule mold toxins. Who the heck wrote that genetic code because I wanted to have a word or two with them!

The bit of insight that made me chuckle to myself the other day was that maybe CIRS wasn’t actually a “bug” at all but instead, really was a “feature” by design. In other words, unlike when a programmers would say “it’s not a bug it’s a feature” as a way of covering up the shortcomings in their code, CIRS is just the opposite. CIRS is actually a feature that looks like a bug! in other words, CIRS was intentionally built into the our genetic code and plays an important roll. From this perspective, it gives a new twist to the bug/feature quip. It made me laugh.

So why would Divinity make about a 20% of the population so susceptible to biotoxins? At first glance, this doesn’t make sense. Why would this seemingly faulty design persist in the genome? The reason for this becomes apparent once a person understands that biotoxins are extremely harmful to all living beings. Evidence shows that even those people that are seemingly fine hanging out in moldy environments, in fact, suffer adverse health effects too. It just takes longer and manifests in seemingly unrelated forms like cancer, Lupus, MS, and the like.

So biotoxins are harmful to everyone. When one understands this, then having a percentage of people much more reactive when exposed to toxins makes sense. I suspect that in the past, folks with CIRS protected society at large from toxic exposures. To get a sense for this, remember that not until very recently in our history have Homo sapiens set up permanent homes. Until then, people moved about a lot.


Think about it. If a nomadic group happened to decide to set up camp in a low lying bog with mold issues, a percentage of the population would begin reacting at various rates. I speculate that those that were particularly afflicted with CIRS became the seers/visionaries of the group. Reacting almost immediately, they would just “know” that a place wasn’t good, had evil spirits, or the like. From experience, the group would have learned that it was important to heed the prognostications of these seers. From experience, they would have learned that when the seers say a place is not safe, that all sorts of craziness would ensue should they decide to listen to the roughly 80% that didn’t have the same susceptibility and argued against moving.

The nomads would have learned that staying in a place that the soothsayers spoke poorly of meant inviting all sorts of mishaps onto the group. Those more susceptible would progressively behave in more and more deviant ways. Anxiety, fear, and depression would begin afflicting the more susceptible first but eventually would permeate the entire group. With time, the situation would get more and more confused, angry, and even violent. No, no; when the seer says a place has evil spirits, the group would have learned to move on.

Unfortunately today, attempts to quantify everything within the scope of the scientific method coupled with greed has made society sicker. We don’t listen to our guts anymore. We don’t honor the exquisite and incomprehensible complexity of Life. Nowadays, if we’re feeling anxious or depressed, we’re told it’s because we have a neurotransmitter imbalance in our brain and need to take SSRI’s (drugs). Living in a moldy house has nothing to do with it. After all, the insurance industry has a bogus study it commissioned that says so.

If the more sensitive persist and speak out too loudly or coherently about what were initially gut feelings, that through study, they were able to precisely quantify in ways that challenge the status quo, they are first ignored, then labeled as quakes, and later actively censored and attacked by the existing power structure.

So we’re really just at the beginning of learning about how to navigate this experience called Life. The scientific method has helped demystify a portion of our experience. At the same time, the exquisite and infinite complexity of the Universe becomes more and more apparent the deeper we dig. Coming from an engineering background, my tendency has always been to quantify my experience and discard the inexplicable. Today, I’m learning how shallow this approach is. CIRS is not a bug, it’s a feature. Suffering has purpose and in the case of CIRS, very likely kept nomadic societies out of harms way. In spite of the pain that CIRS has brought into my life, there’s a surprising beauty to be had in seeing CIRS from this new perspective. It makes me want to both laugh and cry at the same time – the shear beauty of it all.

13 thoughts on “CIRS – It’s not a bug, it’s a feature.

  1. Now, that makes a lot of sense. A portion of the population serving as harbingers of danger in certain environments. Thanks for sharing that!

  2. If only we would have learned to listen to our bodies. I knew I had problems in my parents home years ago when I thought it was just the dustiness and everyone laughed about dust bunnies and dust mites. Eventually, I got super sick. And we all know that story.
    Thanks for your articles. I have started some of the Andrew Heyman foundational support from your last article. Your email article came at the right time!

  3. What a fascinating and helpful (positive) twist on CIRS as a kind of early warning device for the tribe. I am an MD (a shrink!) with CIRS and it has often felt more like an unwelcome curse, but this post made me smile and take this illness in a different manner. I also just want to appreciate the amazing wealth of information you have on biotoxinjourney. Your site has been a harbor in the storm for me over the last 5 years as I have been on my own “long and winding” path of healing. I think you are one of the smartest CIRS writers out there. Bless you for sharing your wisdom with us.

    • Gee, I’m a little bowled over by your kind comments. In all honesty, it’s mostly dogged perseverance sprinkled with a touch of inspiration that I really can’t even call my own – comes out of the ether. Thanks.

  4. Thank-you for another amazing email update! I am profoundly grateful to have discovered your writing and deep knowledge. Your insight that our genetic population’s environmental sensitivity has been designed as warning system to ancestral nomadic peoples is exquisite. Our biology is all interconnected. With sweet gratitude!

  5. Thank you so much for so these articles. I am beyond grateful for your knowledge, generosity, and hard work.

  6. Hi –
    I didn’t see an unsubscribe option on the email I was sent.
    There are laws about requiring it.
    I think you can be sued.
    I saw an article about someone who made > a million dollars in small claims court suing all the entities that were sending him messaging and weren’t following the unsubscribe laws.
    Please remove my email from your list. Thanks!

    • Thanks for the “heads up” on the missing unsubscribe link. I did not know it was missing. Apparently the MailPoet plugin I’m using is broken. Even when I just tried using shortcode to force the link, it refused. I’ll make sure to get it fixed before sending out any more article postings. I’ve removed you from the mailing list.
      Sorry about the frustration and thanks again.

  7. Hi, I’m relatively new to the diagnosis of CIRS (7-3-53 and 15-6-51), although I’ve been suffering more or less most of my life with flaky health that, in hindsight, has probably been caused by chronic biotoxin exposure.

    I was wondering, did you ever do a “mold avoidance sabbatical”, as advocated by those in the extreme mold avoidance community? Many people report that their senses are unmasked by doing so. In a way, that’s an unpleasant prospect to become even more sensitive, but I join with Patrick Henry in saying, “For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst and provide for it.” If I don’t know just what is making and keeping me sick, I won’t be able to steer clear of those places and things and thereby heal. My wife and I are planning to buy a camper and SUV in two days so I can take a sabbatical, after which we plan to live in it full-time until we can find a better solution (or until it gets moldy), and I anticipate this new awareness.

    I’ve been glad to find your site. The mold avoider groups on Facebook are rife with panic, fear, and (not surprising) extremism. Your approach and attitude seems quite a lot more measured and reasonable than the frenetic advice I often read in those groups. It gives me hope that I might not have to live in a tent or camper in the desert for the rest of my life!

    • Thomas,

      For what it’s worth, making sense of experience while being brutalized by biotoxins is a fickle thing. A person feels so bad that any additional insult is too much. The anxiety can get so intense that every waking moment of every day is spent trying to cope. If a person is told that the only way they can get better is to be super vigilant about what buildings they enter, who they meet, and even what is blowing in on the wind, this can take some folks to the edge of insanity. I’ve seen it first hand.

      In my estimation, treating bad cases of CIRS requires balance rooted in insight. Perhaps the first understanding that a person needs to come to before implementing any therapy is a deep appreciation for what it means to be alive. Terrible, terrible things happen in this world. Somehow when we come face to face with this reality, we need to be able to make peace with it.

      Doing this for me meant accepting that I may never get better but that I would, with every fiber of my being, try to still bring Love into the world. When everything was black around me, in my core, Love remained; God abided. Said another way, all trials and tribulations are a chance for Love to show its “true mettle” and for the living spirit to shine.

      As you probably gathered, I’m also a fairly analytical. I know how to make a plan and execute on it. The world can be crumbling around me and I will stick to my plan because it is well thought out. It is my best option and I’ll stick with it.

      I’m also pretty good at taking mental notes and limiting variables. For example, I’d note that anxiety can be bad while I remained in the cleanest space I could make regardless of whether I was taking a particular binder or not. Consequently, it was unlikely the binder was the issue and I continued taking it. I had to try and be a neutral observer and stay put long enough in order to gather data. With experience, I learned to grade my body’s reactions and tease out when it’s an outside input or just the existing inflammation driving how I felt a lot faster. It’s an imperfect art and I still get blindsided.

      I did try a sabbatical and wrote about it in Mold Sabbatical. Regardless of how it turned out for me, there certainly are folks that get significantly better following a strict mold avoidance protocol. This makes sense to me as a person’s body is always trying to repair itself.

      Biotoxins are removed even in those with really bad detox systems albeit slowly. The body is always trying to strike a new balance with whatever still working systems it has at its disposal. Being in the clean outdoors, under the sun, with plenty of daily activity are in themselves very healing. For a multitude of reasons, I ended up staying put and working through CIRS. It was not an easy path. If at all possible, my general advice would be to move to as clean an environment as possible as soon as possible. Don’t try to remediate unless you’ve got a lot of expert resources and a need to stay put.

      By the way, although it’s too late for you, I think the best campers are mostly aluminum. This is not only for mold but also for minimizing chemical exposure. At one point, I had looked at the Livin Lite campers. Lisa talks about the Scamp or Casita fiberglass trailers in Mobile Environmental Containment Units.

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