Friday, 1 May 2009

Health is a moral issue

Rejecting the intrinsic morality around human health because 'unhealthiness' has come to mean 'immorality' and used to attack fat people turns refutation of bogus moralising into an unnecessary untruth.

Health is a moral issue.

The way societies are arranged affects the health of those who live in it. The culture, myths and ideas of a society all shape the health of its inhabitants, often in ways that are hard to see.

There is a sense of responsibility, charity for the health of not only ourselves but others, this is coming under attack due to rigid assumptions that turn into attack. That's about bad motivation, rather than intrinsic to giving a damn about other people's health. It is bad for us as well as those suffering to ignore distress and pain.

It’s because that is such an important theme that those who attack fat people think they can use it as a cover.

We often give too much ground by accepting the premise that the healthist definition of health is an agreed truth. By not objecting to that, we tacitly agree that it is right, in saying “health is not a moral issue” we accept it as the one.

 Its narrowness is its central problem. It leaves out the fullness of what affects our health to focus on specific concerns mainly eating exercise mostly because they are easier to measure than how much control you have over your life, which has been shown to impact significantly on your well being. Feelings of powerlessness can break down the mind, leading to a state called “learned helplessness” which can actually become debilitating.

Both the usefulness and the truthfulness of the healthist approach should be questioned as a direct truth. It contains too many assumptions i.e. that there is a universal perfect diet or that if you eat according to its dictates you cannot become fat.

Fat healthist disprove the latter.

If you reject this and are not against health, why accept it as definitive? You might as well go the whole way and describe an alternative. I feel a more holistic and broadening of the term “healthy” should be restored and added to. Things like art, education, self expression and identity should be seen as part of the fabric of our mental and physical health.

Supporting or indeed undermining it.

Fat acceptance could try to describe how people maintain and support their existence whether fat or thin. What we have learned from being targeted and attacked is how undermining that can be without adding positives, it therefore doesn’t increase health. Using particular standards as the only way to support one's health and framing any possible other way as "failure to do what's good for your health" an attempts to deprive people of the ability to consider whether those measures maybe unsuitable for them, or even, not particularly healthy in their actual as opposed to imagined effects. Eating vegetables and aerobic exercise regimes for example, rather than keeping busy and engaged, committed to things where you feel you are achieving something.

First we are convinced that we are incapable of maintaining our health well or to the best of our ability, we are actually incompetent at best and self destructive in the main. This is demoralising and upsetting, but that's okay because it can be identified as your "unhealthiness" which can be lifted when you do as your told, contriving an increase in "healthiness".

Trying to pin down an actual example of a healthist definition of an actual existing healthy person is tricky as few seem to be able to meet its standards in real life, we are all failing somehow, not in a good way where we raise ourselves up by reaching for something just beyond our grasp, because “failure” means we cannot relieve our shame.
This makes it easier to insist fat people cannot be part of or interested in health.

We all cede control to this pandering to an unjustified sense of self importance by not asserting everyone's right to at least state rationale critiques and alternative views.

Because of this and more we do reject their take on health to no little degree on moral grounds, it is elitist in a bad way and seeks to turn health into a class marker a punitive time wasting energy draining shame inducing alternative system of justice of those with the audacity to not meet abstract and exacting standards.

"Health" campaigning which trades on aggression and bullying is too excessive in its meanness to really feel like an aid to well being, ending up feeling more like an attack. It's also genuinely lazy through its lack of care of people preferring to force shout and scream rather than to learn and understand. 

It's desire for simplistic rigid answers insists on a security truth can't deliver.

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