Around 400 B. C. Hippocrates wrote “Of the Epidemics.” The Greek word he chose to describe his topic, epi “upon” and demos “the people,” meant literally what was occurring “upon the people.” In Barbara Ehrenrich’s book Natural Causes, she addresses the epidemic occurring in the U. S. today. “We’re plagued by everything from drugs to guns to sugary beverages to SoulCycle [an indoor cycling craze].” (1)
But how can Americans hope to attain better physical and mental health if the institution of health care itself is “diseased?” At first glance that disease appears to be “greed.” “There is rampant corruption in the entire medical field, extending from the pharmaceutical and medical-devices firms through physicians to pharmaceutical-benefit managers and health insurers.” (2)
“The desire to alter our consciousness, dull our pain, confirm our beliefs, vent our rage, consume our way to freedom—these things are endemic to our species. The tools of epidemiology are even more powerful and precise, but they may not be the ones that fix the problem of being human.” (2)
How can we hope to fix a system in which so many people within that system are complicit in corrupting it? Too daunting? Not really! Maybe it’s not greedy and complicit professionals that have created our epidemics today. Perhaps science itself is impotent in the face of human sickness. What would the path to freedom from “dis-ease” look like?
Click on the link below to find out.
Insight # 74: Even if all our scientific questions are answered, our problem is still not touched at all. –Ludwig Wittgenstein
- “The Long Journey Through Nothingness.” Essay found in Science and Philosophy, by Roy Charles Henry (2015), pages 46-47.
- Siegel, Zachary. “Ill Winds.” The New York Times Magazine. August 19, 2018, page 10.
- New York Times Magazine, The. “The Thread.” May 20, 2018, pages 7, 11.