Tomy Ward Education
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Monday, 06 May 2013 15:23

Culture and Health

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Drawing by a hebephrenic (?) child                                            
 
This essay describes the differences between the Western, biomedical conception of what it means to be a healthy human being, and contrasts this model with that held for millenia by indigenous and pre-Enlightenment communities. It suggests that our current model needs to be completely overhauled, tied as it is to vast profits and capital accumulation, manipulated by the pharmaceutical companies, and the medical profession and held hostage by the insurance industry. In contrast, I explore models of human health that hinge on prevention, rather than cure; that focus on the community, rather than the individual, that are not tied to regimes of profit and medical intervention and prescription, but rather are concerned with "right living", balance and a holistic view of what it means to be human. I suggest that these ancient perspectives may hold the answer to our burgeoning health budgets and ill-health statistics. The study looks ar the models of health of:
  • Maori
  • Lakota,
  • Dineé (Navajo)
  • Tibetans
  • and other indigenous peoples

It also compares these models with modern versions and with the theories of critical psychiatrists like R. D. Laing, Thomas Szatz and Erich Fromm. The essay concludes by posing the question of how we reverse the social and cultural damage wrought by capitalism and western imperialism not only to indigenous peoples, but to an entire social sphere that has been penetrated to its depths by the ideology of competitive individualism, social isolation and a tooth and claw free market economy. To download the PDF click here .  

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