Monday, March 5, 2018

Scavenging Respect

For the majority of currently known human history, or at least what we now think of as "western civilization," healers--what we now call, rather horridly, "doctors of medicine"--were not particularly respected, less like the people who attended and herbologized a well-bred racehorse, and more like a local vicar (though with less social respect). Results were realistically expected, in that they were less positively expected, and bringing the doctor was a nice gesture, but not predictive of success; the grave circumstance was still the grave circumstance, aging was still aging, and the doctor performed predictable rituals, such as being there to console the family, confirm their negative suspicions, and/or to agree with ideas for a vacation or work-stoppage for health reasons. Whereas calling for the doctor was once rather like we might call for the County coroner to handle the unlikable but required paperwork, it is now viewed differently, with an expectation that a physician provides access to a wealth of knowledge that might help.

This abbreviated modern twist on the at-home-reassurer, a.k.a. the licensed graduate of a school of healing ("medicine"), we owe largely to a brief period of premodern bacteriology, where a PhD with some medical knowledge might provide access to rare new drugs whereby we might actually cure a condition, killing all the causers of the disease and permitting the body to grow healthful again. These joint PhD- and pharmacist-equivalents did something that could actually resist, or fight off, the afflictions of the body, and as a result, they achieved a semi-divine perception on the behalf of first-world commoners, in which it was assumed that these men were not merely comfort-attendants for the infirm or the dying, but actual healers who could take away bad conditions and restore health.

At some point decades and decades ago (currently 2018 Terra), these cures stopped happening. The occasional mundane antibiotic could still, as it had done when invented/discovered a hundred years ago, eliminate some negative conditions, but healing had become "medicine," fetishizing its own brief period of success, excited at the prospect of charging money for old remedies. Very few were being healed, now; medicine cartels had established different branches of membership whereby owners and free-agents could profiteer from the goods of the past. The distinction between "doctor" and "pharmacist" became formalized through a foul partnership and false division of schools teaching incomplete pieces of knowledge and provisioning that should have been united into "doctors of medicine" and "pharmacists (of medicine)", and research itself became an utter joke, where the PhD researchers (who no longer saw patients or used their drugs on them, except by government- and cartel-partnered "studies" with absurd costs, delays, and profit insurance in order to even begin to be talked of maybe happening in a few years) ceased researching the cures that had established that brief time of doctors curing some conditions, and instead focused almost wholly on the mediation of perpetual illnesses. Ergo one would "treat" diseases rather than "cure" them, because curing became thought of as impossible, and cancer or autoimmune or genetic or other lifelong "conditions" became utterly perceived, socially and politically and by healers ("medically"), as magical, incurable adjustments to the human form, for which one could regularly purchase extensive and updated recurring "treatments" (soothatives) of various expensive kinds, but for which one could also never expect a cure, because that brief era in human history was over.

Yet, the social respect for curing healers remained. People are still in awe of "doctors," not because of anything that doctors or scientists have done in a hundred years, but because of their residual memory, their cultural memory, of that tiny time period when doctors were conceiving of and deploying firsthand foundational cures for human wrongness. As users of these bodies, we are quite glad that older medicine was not like modern medicine, or else there would have been no elimination of tuberculosis, but instead therapies and support groups and monthly pharmaceutical barrages which could lengthen the lifespan of those with tuberculosis, and no funding for discovering what caused it and eliminating the condition itself. No one understands why cancer begins to grow in the blood; it's simply beyond their shallow minds, and however many people might be smart enough to figure out why, they're in other careers or working on meditation therapy for what indisputably must exist, rather than on stopping it from ever having existed. All the respect of ages past is still enjoyed now by the idiots who can extravagantly track symptoms of, say, cancer, but know next-to-nothing about what causes it, and nothing about how to cure or reverse it. It would certainly make money now to eliminate cancer, but after two years of treatment therapies had gone unused by the cancer-non-fearing world, then five, then twenty, the fiscal motivation for leaving modern diseases alone is clear. Any disruption in current models would interrupt regular dollar flows in the trillions, far beyond the amounts necessary to justify hiring and controlling, say, a few hundred thousand citizens of several countries willing to do and believe anything to keep things as they are.

There are numerous reasons why managing symptoms for profit, rather than curing underlying ills, are a successful part of the systematic hell of now. We do not punish malfeasant bankers nor politicians, nor insist upon better ones, but keep the harmful ones around and try to "manage" their repeated attacks, and "support" one another through enduring more; the behavior seen in modern "medicine" cartels is duplicated in nearly every other level of our society, where it is not a question of removing foundational wrongs, but of alleviating the symptoms of those wrongs--and, as far as our mental processes go, the unimaginative "shit happens" perspective on anything, where horrible behavior and incredibly bad results are expected, incompetence and/or evil is coddled, and resulting philosophies on how the world does or must work are buttressed by and buttress what goes on. The perception that "this is the best we can do" has destroyed X decades/centuries of healing improvement ("the development of medicine"), along with invention and innovation in other fields, politics and self-perception included. Indeed, the application of "well, I guess I'm super because I did my best (even though I utterly failed)" type logic has had incredible effects on not only a century of failed medicine, which seems only good for helping people suffer-persist another ten or twenty years as a result of more advanced new drugs and machines, but of the kinds of behavior we're now long accustomed to expect from other partners of ours in life's transactions, such as the operations of our governments, landlords, and everyone else with whom we might transact business.

(And despite all the pharmaceutical advances that we're supposedly paying billions, and drafting international legal plans, and scathing domestic ones, to protect, people are still mostly turning in desperation to a less-painful death through morphine, a fairly simple, naturally-occurring substance used by humans for at least centuries, which the cartels license to their subsidiaries in order to control price and availability.)

Fractals in all things, for our ability to take apart a person and understand how to adjust a presumably genetic disorder would be paired with our ability--our willingness--to understand more about not just how bodies work, but about how other systems, large and small, affect us. The understanding of one or more functional processes that would be necessary to redirect or stymie these self-generated diseases would, as though accidentally, leave a plethora of other helpful thoughts in their wake. Our multinational conglomerates, governmental and admittedly for-profit, are, accordingly, vengeful, diseased husks. It's a chicken and the egg problem to accuse one sort of idiocy of causing the other, but it is at least motivation for making a fast buck, not a sustainable buck, by curing the sick.

1 comment:

  1. Funny how the one field where a tunnel-visioned greed for short term profit with a philosophy of fuck everybody else, their long term income and sustainability would actually be beneficial manages to be so responsible in regards to its long-term profits.

    The same with politics. The "parties" should according to free market logic constantly be one-upping each other in order to get votes, until someone went all out and made a political party in name only, with a website or something where their voters could decide on how the representatives would vote in parliament, and themselves submit proposals to be voted on. The decisions might not necessarily turn out better, but at least there would be the possibility to learn from mistakes and an accepting of responsibility for the consequences.

    Apparently becoming a pariah is not an enticing enough prospect in either field.