Thursday, December 13, 2012

Health and Vital Enigmas

In trying to improve the services of the public health system in the Philippines, leaders and conscientious citizens have to adopt or recognize an integral model of health and to avoid an uncritical adoption of the Western “biomedical model of health” which tends to forget or repress existential enigmas and thus to become a narrow and dehumanizing view of health.
According to Anthony Giddens:
“The biomedical model of health [builds on] the belief that disease can be defined in objective terms and that the sick body can be restored to health through scientifically based medical treatment.  The biomedical model of health emerged alongside modern societies.  It was linked to the rise of demographics – the study of the size, composition and dynamics of human populations – and the growing interest of states in promoting public health.” (Sociology, 4th ed)

In the process of building the modern urban environment, sources of existential anxiety such as deterioration and death, chronic sickness, madness, and eroticism got sequestered from day-to-day routines (Modernity and Self-Identity).  These realities remind us that we are inseparable from nature, its rhythms, and its contingencies.
In the process of building the surveilled environments of hospitals, asylums, and carceral complexes, these realities became secluded from regular activities.  The face-to-face presencing of dying and death, the very smell of it, and the laughing and singing of the insane have become unusual phenomena to upper-class and middle-class persons especially in urban locales.

“In pre-modern societies chronic sickness was part of many people’s lives and contact with death was a more or less commonplace feature of everyone’s experience (Modernity and Self-Identity).  These critical yet familiar features of pre-modern life were often enveloped in traditional practices and rituals that offered meaning and solace.  Deep immersion in tradition helped people to appreciate the continuous intermingling of being and non-being in the world.

The Church needs to re-examine and to redesign or restructure creatively its liturgies and rituals in order to help contemporary people appreciate better the intermingling of being and non-being in society and nature.

No comments:

Post a Comment