To the ed­i­tor

Irish Examiner - - Opinion -

ri­fied and re­con­fig­ured over the aeons and eras. From As­cle­pius the Greek hero-God of medicine in re­li­gion and mythol­ogy to the mod­ern-day dom­i­nance of bio­med­i­cal blus­ter and big­pharma’s ma­nip­u­la­tive machi­na­tion, the health of the species has been bandied about and ‘bru­talised’ in the mer­ci­less mar­ket-place of power and mer­ce­nary ad­van­tage. Many a ‘snakeoil’ mar­ke­teer and ‘faith-healer’ ven­dor of ‘ef­fi­cacy’ have pep­pered the un­end­ing odyssey of ‘well­ness’ en route. Once ex­is­ten­tial vul­ner­a­bil­ity re­gard­ing life prospects in­sin­u­ates it­self into our body-soma, karmic essence, or what­ever other so­matic/sen­so­rial/ spir­i­tual el­e­ment of self that we can con­jure, we are prone to the dis­em­pow­er­ments in­evitably forth­com­ing from com­mu­nity, so­ci­ety and statu­tory sys­tem alike. We all be­come a com­mod­ity propo­si­tion — one for ex­ploita­tion, dis­missal or ded­i­cated de­pen­dency.

Given that we are one ex­em­plar of a vast global mul­ti­tude of species all strug­gling apace to evolve, sur­vive and thrive we must ac­cept our lot in the over­all schema — not ca­pit­u­late of course but cul­ti­vate a de­ter­mined, though, re­al­is­tic ma­tu­rity of self-prospect.

Com­pet­i­tive con­flict is thus an in­evitabil­ity in terms of as­sert­ing and es­tab­lish­ing some sort of home­o­static bal­ance be­tween all or­gan­isms from pri­mate to par­a­site with all the sin­gu­lar vi­brancy of each or­gan­ism and their ‘en­thu­si­asm’ to flour­ish. The hi­er­ar­chy of sur­vival is at once very sim­ple and ex­tremely com­plex.

That we ‘su­pe­rior ho­minids’ have evolved ter­tiary cere­bral ca­pa­bil­i­ties with all the lofty labyrinthi­ne per­mu­ta­tional ca­pac­ity for ap­praisal, as­sess­ment and ad­duc­tion, does not con­fer peren­nial dom­i­nance, merely an ad­van­taged po­si­tion of req­ui­site re­spon­si­bil­ity to the bio­sphere and all who sail in her.

With at­ten­dant ethics and morals dwin­dling ‘in per­petuum’, and con­torted greed, in­jus­tice and self­ish­ness gain­ing global trac­tion apace, one has to de­spair at the cor­rup­tive slants many in­volved in the hy­per-busi­ness of so-called ‘health and well-be­ing.’ The fol­low­ers of the not-so-great god Mam­mon are preach­ing and prop­a­gat­ing many fal­la­cious far­ra­gos dressed in the mas­querad­ing vest­ments of va­lid­ity and value. Johnathan Swift de­spite his foible and fa­ble, did the hon­ourable deed for the poor, af­flicted of Dublin. Un­for­tu­nately the des­ig­na­tion as­cribed to his hos­pi­tal man­dat­ing be­quest in the lan­guage of the era was for the care of the “Idiots and Lu­naticks!”

Re­gret­table anachro­nisms aside, his very wor­thy legacy has un­for­tu­nately evolved to a ne­olib­eral cor­po­rate en­tity, whereby the needy of Dublin and else­where would need a plump purse or weighty in­sur­ance cover to avail of sup­port­ive ser­vice.

Such ex­em­plars in the course of bio­med­i­cal in­va­sion within health­care evo­lu­tion, merely be­smirch the sen­ti­ments of Hip­pocrates and his ilk. Oaths are ap­par­ently flex­i­ble and op­tional when suits the cor­po­rate wal­let, with de­pen­dent sub­scribers cru­cial to the fi­nan­cial fray.

There should of course be no stigma, shame or sham to the di­ag­nos­tics of well-be­ing and its con­verse. We are all or­gan­isms ex­ist­ing, not in a ‘bat­tle-zone’ or ‘theatre of war’, merely tem­po­rary play­ers in the en­tropic flux of the ‘show’ that is evo­lu­tion, what­ever ad­vanced ‘rea­son­ing’ lies be­yond.

Jim Cos­grove

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