Monday, 6 January 2014

About disease

Here's a deleted post from; 28/09/08, spot what's out of date.

Investing medicine with spirituality, viewing it as a spiritual practice rather than a tool to heal the sick.

It is often the people who feel themselves to be most rational and contemptuous of real human spirituality, who most invest things like medicine and science with a quasi spirituality and religious cultishness that misuses and abuses science. Rather than just admit that we are more than just machines, rather than explore our mystery, they desperately cling to the notion that we can all solve everything in a purely mechanistic way, whether it's calories in/out, or a pill for every ill.

When it comes to labelling human behaviour a disease or illness, I'm a skeptic I'm afraid. I recognise the term mental illness. A malfunction of the brain, it is an organ-sometimes that's hard to remember -just like the liver.  It is subject to the vagaries of how the body forms and grows, and isn't that a series of miracles in its way?

The problem I have is when what may well be an appropriate and apt response is labelled diseased because it's shocking, unexpected, tiresome, or even seemingly, impertinent.

What we have to remember is that the body is not necessarily mild in its responses, when we cut ourselves, we bleed, usually, in part to clear the wound of any potential germs, to protect from potential infection. It could presumably do this with a few drops, but it flows liberally, even a little after the breech is cleaned out, just to make sure.

It deals in making sure, and getting stuck in, this may not accord with our cultivated sensibilities and sensitivities, but that's the way it is, it's pretty full on.

The word disease is a bit of a miracle, even though it describes something deeply unpleasant, it is understood by medical professional and layman alike. We can give a little cheer that this collective moment of clarity has occurred, it so rarely does, that is one of the very good reasons why I cannot stand the mis-use of this word toward what some people fondly call social engineering.

I've never been able to swallow this, "alcoholism is a disease" thing even though I do understand what people are getting at. In part this is about removing stigma, in order that it doesn't get in the way of recovery. And I feel this instinct is vindicated by comparing the use here with that of obesity, same social engineering (read, fibbing) to the opposite intent.

* "disease is .......................understood by medical professional and layman alike."

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