How & Why TRUMP’s Lies damage Health, both MEDICAL and Social.

malingering, ‘cheat-gains’ & ‘health-lies’ — how do doctors work? — when should doctors lie? — is medicine the only inexact science? — my word is my (sub-prime) bond — our Rust Belt Epidemic & our cash-addicts -stabilising our verbal currency — letting ‘intent’ blossom

malingering, ‘cheat-gains’ & ‘health-lies’

LIARS, in health care, are ‘MALINGERERS’ — it happens. But watch how it works — and then doesn’t. “Doctor, I’ve got this terrible (pretend) back pain, so cut me some sick leave”. The consequences, both short and long term, are stark. The malingerer may get something for nothing at first, but it’s never cost-free. Next time, the penalty is heavier — untrustworthiness imperils life. The boy who cried “WOLF”, was eaten. Not healthy.

how do doctors work?

Put yourself in a doctor’s shoes. Take an everyday symptom, such as abdominal pain. Everyone has had at least one. I’ve diagnosed thousands, and operated on a few. For 20 years, it was my job to order either an urgent operation or non-urgent reassurance. The accuracy of my diagnosis could be life-saving. So how do diagnoses work? Well you gather as much info as you can. When did the pain start? What makes it worse? Has your mother ever had anything like this? And so on. What you’re doing is scouting for clues in the best Sherlock Holmes manner, not so much to solve a murder, more to save a life.

when should doctors lie?

“If they ever ask you if they’ve got cancer, you must always say, ‘No’”. This was the advice my senior partner gave me when I first entered a small Family Medicine group practice, in 1967. I am more idealistic now than I was then, but even so, this ‘advice’ from a man who had many decades in the job, rankled. I muttered, as I usually did, but surreptitiously declined, as I usually do. Who were people to trust if not their family doctor? How would they ever benefit from reassurance, if it was offered carte blanche, whatever the reality of the situation? So I had a number of sleepless nights. Was I being unnecessarily puritanic, idealistic, naïve — or was he asking me to sugar the pill, was it our job to say what people wanted to hear, to offer a pretend, pain-free reality? Reassurance is the key to medical success — falsely based reassurance is its downfall. And what applies to medical practice for individual illhealth, applies in spades to social diseases, such as our Rust Belt Epidemic, touched on below.

is medicine the only inexact science?

Brace yourself — the next point could raise even more eyebrows. Photons do not obey Isaac Newton’s laws. Never did, and never will. Newtonian physics is now finally obsolete, as far as photons are concerned. Get over it. Photons don’t weigh anything, they have no mass, yet the sun’s gravity pulls them out of line — why? We’ve known this since that eclipse in 1919, but it remains taboo. It makes no cognitive sense. And, get this, it never will.

my word is my (sub-prime) bond

Why should you believe any of this? Why bother to take a blind bit of notice — this could all be the meanderings of an inchoate mind, frustrated never to have been a world ‘authority’, nor even a university professor. Or I could be thrashing around, hankering after all that fame and fortune everyone really wants — blindly following the economist’s dogma that everyone always wants more money. Or perhaps not. It’s a question of trust. Does what I say make sense to you? Does it contradict what you’ve always been taught? Are you confident enough to evaluate it in your own terms, relating it to your own personal experience — because that’s what matters here, just as it does to what any doctor tells you about your health, or illhealth. Here illhealth relates to wishful thinking, wishing the physical world behaved itself according to such rules as we can dream up. The harsh reality is — our world is proving to be quite as wayward as David Hume told us it would be, back in 1739.

our Rust Belt Epidemic & our cash-addicts

Which leads straight to the worst social disease we’ve had for a while — our Rust Belt Epidemic. Let’s continue the healthcare analogy, and put it in the examination room, and give it a thorough medical overhaul, run a few lab tests, perhaps an X-ray or two, and see what we come up with. As with all clinical medicine, it is essential to obtain as accurate medical data as possible — the mother-in-law may have strident ideas as to what’s wrong, but unless you start with clear objective data, you’ll be saddled with a lousy diagnosis, and end up treating the wrong disease, which could be both costly and fatal.

stabilising our verbal currency

In politics, if you want to get ahead, lie. Sniff out a local gripe, exaggerate it, and speak what you know to be untrue. The parallel with sub-prime mortgages is tight. In the one case, you have financiers inventing values they know to be false, and in the other, ’truths’ they know to be lies. In both cases, reality is perverted and bent for personal reasons, which do bear going into. As with malingerers, unreal beats real — but for how long?

letting ‘intent’ blossom

Take a brief breather, a pause from life’s cares, and contemplate the Cambrian Explosion — it’s an important part of your personal history, your ancestors, your predecessors, which needs to be far more widely known than it currently is. For 3,000,000,000 years, life on this small planet consisted of single cells, going about their business, scurrying towards sources of energy, solar or chemical, to make both ends meet. Very much as we find ourselves doing today, though on a rather smaller scale. None of these unicellular organisms grew very big — they were all microscopic, invisible to the naked eye. So they couldn’t solve the problem of diversification — every part of the whole had to do everything — scavenging food/energy, excreting what didn’t belong, and trying to propagate the next generation. A simple life, though busy.

notes

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