Fear, Hope, and Medicine

Monday Meditation: 12/6/21

Thoughts to Ponder:

"Nothing is more despicable than respect based on fear." ~ Albert Camus

This seems especially relevant to the past year or two; particularly with our White House's chief medical advisor declaring that any criticism of him is a criticism of science – as if he singularly represents "science."  What's more is that we're seeing continued polarization of these issues with entire continents being locked down; double, triple, and quadrupling down on fear mongering rather than education, transparency, and empowerment.  

What's more is that respect is one of those peculiar things that must be given in order to earn.  Coerced compliance is not cooperation.  If you want to be respected start with giving kindness, then do more listening than you do talking.  "Because I said so" hasn't been a valid alibi since any one of us has been old enough to ask any question that matters anyway.  Likewise, "Do X or else Y" will surely only inspire more secrecy and hatred even if there is the perception of compliance.

"Those faces you see every day on the streets were not created entirely without hope; be kind to them." ~ Charles Bukowski

One of the hardest things to do in life is see someone's mistreatment of you as a symptom of their own woundedness.  Of course, this doesn't excuse, absolve, or condone their behavior; nor does it dismiss, deny, or belittle your experience.  People do not become who and how they are by accident or coincidence.

The hungry and hopeless are, well, hungry for hope.  In most cases, kindness costs you nothing.  What a miraculous statement of rebellion if you could refuse being sucked into the corporate or cosmic oblivion by being a beacon of humanity amid a "meta"-verse of virtual realities.  Is the last thing you said to someone the last thing you want to remember?

Odds and Ends:

Unpopular Opinion:  Food Is Not Medicine.  This may sting for some, and yes, I've been guilty of using this phrase in the past as well.  I've also held the contention with plant-based advocates who use plant-based medicines (think rape', marijuana, psilocybin, etc.) has been that; "What if we can get so well (from our food) that we don't need medicine?"

Now, let's add some context.  Medicine, naturally derived or pharmaceutical, has use-case applications (as I've mentioned with supplements).  There are certainly acute circumstances that may warrant "symptom" management – something often doted on in the ancestral health community.  Well let me tell you, if I have Stage 4 cancer or get in a car wreck, I want the f*n morphine; not the bone broth and certainly not carrot juice!

In other cases, say in psychiatry or psychotherapy, I metaphorically refer to medications as training wheels.  The goal should, in my opinion, be to titrate to as low a dose as possible, or none at all.  I want you to ride free on your bicycle and some day the training wheels will need to come off.  It is sometimes the case that "coping skills" or processing are irrelevant because someone is so dysregulated that they need bumpers at the bowling alley (another useful metaphor) to get a feel for the game with out the risk of failure.  For many of my clients, failure is literally death or serious bodily harm.

It's very naive to swing the pendulum the other way and presumptuously assert that if someone can't walk without crutches, they don't deserve to walk at all (i.e. no medications, ever, under any conditions, food heals everything, etc.).  Food is a chronic element in our lives.  We have to eat, at least every few days.  Sometimes, in spite of our most diligent preparations, thing do happen (acutely) outside of our control (trauma, injury, illness) and require an acute response.  There are no bonus points at the end of life for making things harder on yourself.

With all of that said, I would prefer naturally derived plant or fungi medication over pharmaceutical / synthetic "equivalents."  Our species conquered the globe because our brains grew and we worked together, not because we dogmatically shut off / out possibilities that weren't consistent with our current perspective worldview.

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