Health and Humanity
by MQ Bismil
Mon 4th Jan 2016
This upcoming series on health and humanity for the LPJ arises out of several months of discussions with Dr Pierscionek (LPJ editor) on the basis of backgrounds in healthcare; and which rapidly focussed on humanity, and its relationship to health. The concept is that in modern times, the media and the internet penetrate our lives with information: but perhaps this noise gives us less time to think, contemplate, reflect and assess; in relation to our own beings, and indeed mankind as a whole. Further, that only through a true understanding of ourselves and our health; may we then address the bigger picture of the ‘health’ of humanity. So, a wide and far reaching remit; perhaps too broad and grand a brief; but at the very least we hope to touch on some issues that may impact positively on the LPJ readership; and of course ourselves.
Health And Humanity- A Crossroads In the UK and Beyond
This series comes at an interesting time. Here in the UK: health, and in particular, the National Health Service (NHS); has become a huge political issue. And that is something we plan to explore (starting below). But not only is the NHS at a crossroads, the country is too. Issues such as migration, the wellbeing of our fellow man here and abroad, civil liberties, security and war dominate the political landscape. The election of Jeremy Corbyn as labour leader with a huge mandate from labour party members has polarised matters further. Certainly, the Commenteriat appear almost universally bemused by the man, his views and his supporters; if not openly hostile. This peace-promoting, animal-loving, vegetarian and his ‘new kind of politics’ is clearly alien to much of the Commenteriat and the political class. That Corbyn sees himself as a citizen of the world appears to confuse many, but we would hope that the LPJ readership would see this as a very reasonable starting point for saving humanity. But he has large support from labour party, grassroots supporters and the wider left-leaning population. Just how much will be seen over the coming months and perhaps years.
Europe and the rest of the world are also in a state of political flux, with for example the recent Spanish election result and a brief flirtation with the far right in France. Donald Trump may or may not come close to a White House tenure; and clearly displays some interesting views which perhaps would largely fall on the opposite side of the spectrum to those of ‘Jez’ here in the UK. How does any of this fit into this series on the health of individuals and humanity as a whole? Well the basic premise would be that the modern world faces a multitude of unique challenges: and perhaps by stepping back and looking into our own beings, and those of our fellow man; might we be able to reappraise how we might face these challenges individually and collectively. Clearly, we may by the end of the series have generated many more questions than answers, but as touched upon above: perhaps through a journey which is initially introspective and based on an exploration of individual health and wellbeing; might we be able to critically appraise where mankind might go from here? So let’s make a start…
What is health?
The inception of the National Health Service in this country coincides with the World Health Organisation’s definition which has steadfastly remained ever since (figure 1- bottom). So health is not just the absence of disease, it is the presence of total physical, psychological and social well-being. If this definition was applied to every man, woman and child: clearly the world would be a much better place. Achievable- possibly not. Desirable and something to aim for- of course. In relation to the NHS, we shall present at least one key concept, which is becoming increasing acknowledged in healthcare: the concept of patient centred care (Figure 2). We aim to touch upon the NHS as a political issue also, of course.
Bio- psycho -social
(figure 1- body)
One issue we will explore further is the nature of health and healthcare: particularly in relation to Engel’s biopsychosocial approach to disease; which has quite rightly, in our opinion, enjoyed a renaissance in healthcare of late (especially in relation to chronic pain management).
Meaning of life
Obviously, this title is rather tongue-in- cheek, but given the broad scope of the LPJ let us try to explore this in relation to health and humanity in 2016. In terms of humanity being at a crossroads, let us leave you with a quote from the late comedian Bill Hicks which is perhaps more relevant today than it was in his lifetime:
“ The eyes of fear want you to put bigger locks on your doors, buy guns, close yourself off. The eyes of love instead see all of us as one. Here's what we can do to change the world, right now, to a better ride. Take all that money we spend on weapons and defenses each year and instead spend it feeding and clothing and educating the poor of the world, which it would pay for many times over, not one human being excluded, and we could explore space, together, both inner and outer, forever, in peace.”Bill Hicks, Just A Ride
In this series, the generality of health is discussed: please do not
construe this as specific health advice, and please consult a physician
if you wish to consider making changes to your lifestyle
MQ Bismil is a: medically qualified and surgically trained; writer and thinker. He has been commissioned to write a series entitled Health And Humanity for the London Progressive Journal in 2016. His views are his obviously own and unrelated to his medical practice.