Skip to main content

211. Angry and mad

  One other issue makes me mad, the way everything has taken a medical twist! You just can't say you like apples or stewed beef or whatever without someone correcting you to add it's good for your skin or your liver or some part of your medical self. I can't stand it! I simply cannot bare this narrowed vision of life.

Long before I studied anthropology at university, I had noticed that a given religious trait, when dropped as religious, is usually readapted as medical but not completely dropped at all. I'll explain.

When I lived in a kibbutz in Israel in the early 1960's, one day someone stopped me as I was reaching out for a yoghurt after I had eaten my beef stew. "Don't, you'll get a soar stomach!" was the warning. As I insisted to eat my yoghurt, I was severely warned of forthcoming medical problems. As a 'gentile' I had been raised with the habit of eating a yoghurt, or some cheese, after my meat dish and I could not see what the problem was. But then I learnt that in the Hebrew religion you cannot eat meat and milk products at the same time. It is a strong religious taboo. My kibbutz was not a religious kibbutz and its members would all have been atheists if you'd asked them. However they just could not eat a yoghurt after a meat dish. Their new explanation was that it was 'medically' unsafe.

I was young then, 19 to be exact, and it impressed me a lot. I made myself a mental rule that 'religious' slips into 'medical' when the religion fades out.

Here we go now years later the whole western world has dropped its religious believes and taboos and turned them into medical ones. It's amazing! I could have predicted it!!!

Actually when you look at it closer, in the stone ages the priest was also the doctor, I mean, the man who ruled the souls was the same one as the man who cured the bodies. The 'shaman' in many primitive societies is both the priest and the doctor. Even Jesus, when you think of it, is a healer as well as a preacher. The idea that religious belief and medical belief are separate entities is fairly new, really new...

Maybe I shouldn't be surprised then. But it makes me mad! I intensely dislike this whole medical approach to life. When you meet someone, after the usual weather chit-chat, you get the medical report, which parts of the body, which medicine, which doctor. And of course, the right diet for the right part of the body and so forth. Heeeelllpp!!!!!
6 comments

Popular posts from this blog

250. MY ESSAY IN ETHNOLOGY

When I say that I studied social ethnology, most people don't know what I'm talking about. So to illustrate what a post-graduate student did at the University of Michigan in this science within the department of Anthropology, here is the copy of my essay written in November 1980 for my professor of course 501 of that year.

 The title is THE POWER GAME AT THE MICRO-LEVEL OF TALE SOCIETY.

The study was based on ethnographic data published by Meyer Fortes who was an ethnologist in the 1940s in Ghana. The exercise was to use his data from his observation in the field to analyse what it meant in terms of "power game". It was to show us that a good ethnographer's job consisted of taking down every detail of his observations, even if it did not make sense to him at the time. The ethnologist can then trust the ethnographer's findings in order to analyse them and make sense with them. The ethnographer and the ethnologist are most of the time the one and same person. …

237. Wisdom

A whole year now since I posted anything on this blog!




I am currently reading The Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T.E. Lawrence in an attempt to view the background of the current hatred between East and West following the attacks on Paris lately. I borrowed the French version of the book written by Lawrence at the end of the First World War. It may sound odd but I am indeed finding the roots of the problem there.

In any case I greatly enjoy reading this French translation by Eric Chedaille, éditions Phébus 2009. It is fluid and elegant. I am sure that Lawrence would have liked it too!  The English original edition for the translation was as follows:

T. E. Lawrence. 
Seven Pillars of Wisdom The complete 1922 "Oxford" text First published for general circulation by J. and N. Wilson Fordingbridge, Hampshire, 2004 Project-managed by Book Production Consultants PLC, Cambridge

I find Lawrence full of philosophy and humor.  It also brings me back to my own time in the Middle East when I was 19 …

249. A car, a bicycle and a dog

The year 2014 is a landmark in my very ordinary life. 
I had a car, a Ford Mondeo Ghia, running on diesel. I had driven it very happily to Germany, to Scotland and to various places in France. It had reached past 200 K km mileage and needed some fixing. I forgot what it was, nothing too bad, it could still pass the mandatory regular registration. My mechanic told me he would not do it. In any case I didn't have the money to have it done. So, I left it parked on the village square for a long time hoping to find the money and another mechanic for it. After a year I was asked to move it out as there was going to be a village fair on the square. Fair enough. Some friendly neighbor helped me start it and I drove it 5 km away to the other village where I have my garden and a barn. My idea was to store it inside the barn pending better days when I would get it fixed. I judged that the engine, if not the rusty body, could still be useful for something. However, as I couldn't open the b…