The Primary Axiom is realised in the real world by the following complete set of universal human life necessities and their defined criteria / measures of all life goods, capital and efficiency which govern any life economy, as distinguished from the dominant private money-sequencing economy called ‘capitalism’ whose financialization since John Locke is increasingly life-blind in principle.
What I hope to do in this article is to use what insights I have gained so far from my expertise as a medical specialist in terms of diagnosing and the treatment of diseases and see how far I can go in applying Professor John McMurtry’s life-value compass to the insights I have discovered along the way. I will draw heavily on my article, The Secret to a Healthy Nation – in-depth article based on presentation given at Operation Rescue’s fundraiser on October 3, 2015, and the critique of it by Prof McMurtry in The Secret to the Ill-Health of Nations.
The TRANSCEND Method uses dialogues with all parties to identify their goals, testing their legitimacy, and for visions of a new social reality meeting legitimate goals. Diagnoses focus on conflict and trauma, prognoses without or with intervention, therapy on visions of solution and conciliation; proposed, propagated and realized.
This working paper is meant to provide a quick reference guide to and portrait of the underlying principles that support current public health practice; it is not intended to be the definitive treatise on this topic. It defines the perspective that CPHA will use to develop its policy options.
The relationship between human beings and the ecosystems of which they are a part is profound. The links between health and the environment are as old as human culture. Human evolution takes place within ecosystems, and there are deep psy- chological, social and cultural connections to ecosystems that go well beyond mere physiological needs.
In the late 20th and early 21st centuries, myriad threats to the health of the Earth’s environment have become apparent. There is a growing recognition that the Earth is itself a living system and that the ultimate determinant of human health (and that of all other species) is the health of the Earth’s life-supporting systems. The ecosystem-based ‘goods and services’ that we get from nature are the ecological determinants of health. Among the most important of these are oxygen, water, food, fuel, various natural resources, detoxifying processes, the ozone layer and a reasonably stable and habitable climate.
Public health in the 21st century must augment its scope to address the natural world; encompass concepts such as One Health and Ecohealth; and specifically target the health challenges of human-induced global climate change, resource deple- tion, ecotoxicity and loss of biodiversity.
Our knowledge of the health impacts of global ecological change is surprisingly limited. What we know is imprecise, pre- liminary and often speculative; we have some idea of the big picture, but the details are lacking. Even in the case of climate change, we have only a modest sense of the potential health impacts, although this has been the focus of some well-resourced research over the past few decades, both globally and in Canada.
We do know that the indirect health effects of global ecological change – those mediated through natural and human systems – are likely to be much greater than the direct effects (such as heat waves), although they are harder to quantify and attribute directly to a specific global change. This difficulty in quantifying the indirect health effects is part of the uncertainty with which we must deal.
The key human forces driving changes in ecosystem functioning are population growth and urbanization, economic growth and development, technological changes and advances, and social changes and movements aligned to these forces. Under- lying and shaping these drivers are societal and cultural values, which for the past 200 to 300 years have emphasized ‘progress’ or modernization, transforming human societies from rural and agrarian to secular, urban and industrial. The long history of modernization helps us to understand our current social, political, economic and cultural conditions, and, perhaps, to anticipate a post-modern society that enables us to stabilize and reverse these harmful ecological changes.
We will need some fundamental shifts in societal values, and with that new principles, and new ways of knowing, measuring and governing. Fortunately, we do not have to invent these from scratch as we have precedents and newly-emerging practices that can help provide a foundation for the new future we need to create. The fields of health promotion and Ecohealth offer conceptual and procedural guidance to catalyze a transformation toward public health equity for future populations.
If we understand the forces that shape us and the future we face, we are better equipped to make choices, express our values in a vision and then work to create it. Within public health, we need to explore scenarios of plausible futures, and help people create visions describing their preferred future.
CPHA’s vision of healthier, more sustainable, more just societies and communities will not be achieved in isolation from wider social processes. Realizing any such vision will demand transitions both within and outside public health and the larger health sector, including an explicit re-engagement with the values of public health.
It is not “the rising tide of human numbers” simpliciter that loots, pollutes and destroys the life carrying capacities of the planet. It is what all over-populationists conveniently ignore:
(1) the much still exponentially self-multiplying tides of private money demand on the earth’s resources that drives every degenerate trend in the planet’s life carrying capacities, and
(2) its ultimate driver of limitlessly self-maximizing private profit to the top which now puts more demand on the earth’s resources by a few plutocrats than by 90% of the population .
In late 2015 I published a book called “Breaking the Cycle” in which I drew attention to the political tribalism from which our country has suffered since 1967. I also focused on the need for constitutional, governance and electoral reform. I documented the excesses of the Douglas Government up to and including the 2015 general election. I suggested that the result of that election won by Team Unity, a coalition of three political parties, raised hope that the never ending cycle of political tribalism would be broken. I warned however that change was not guaranteed. I wrote the following at the end of the first chapter: “Previous governments quickly fell into the entrenched partisan ways with the leaders consolidating power around themselves and their close associates. Will the new Prime Minister, Timothy Harris and his Team Unity government do the same? The jury is out and the clock is ticking.”
The purpose of this commentary is to reflect on where the country is four and a half years later.
It can be easy to believe that humans are insignificant. We’re specks of dust on a random planet in a vast universe. Less powerful than elephants. Fewer than ants. But David Deutsch believes that’s all beside the point, because humans possess one unique skill: attaining knowledge. David Deutsch — Oxford professor, father of quantum computing, recluse — convinced Chris Anderson years ago to take over leadership of TED with his ideas about knowledge. In this mind-bending conversation, the two dive into his theory that the potential reach of knowledge is infinite. They explore how knowledge first developed, why it sets us apart and what all of these heady concepts really mean for our present and future.
In November 1937, Marcus Garvey spoke at the MIS Hall, Lower Market Street. He said, “Your island is your garden of Eden”. “You must work and get things for yourself”.
Bob Marley sang similarly: “Not one of my seeds / Shall sit in the sidewalk and beg bread” (So Jah Seh, 1974).
Seeking after government handouts is like sitting in the sidewalk and begging bread. This is exactly what programmed dependency encourages. A mentality of getting things without effort.
Programmed dependency exists when otherwise able adults are officially categorized as poor without scientific assessment including means-testing. Such persons may be given money from the Treasury without performance conditions. If not money, a contract, house or land may be part of the giving and receiving.
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Published on Jul 3, 2019
Our society is in the midst of a social crisis, says op-ed columnist and author David Brooks: we’re trapped in a valley of isolation and fragmentation. How do we find our way out? Based on his travels across the United States — and his meetings with a range of exceptional people known as “weavers” — Brooks lays out his vision for a cultural revolution that empowers us all to lead lives of greater meaning, purpose and joy.
Adjaye-Gbewonyo, K., & Vaughan, M. (2019). Reframing NCDs? An analysis of current debates. Global health action, 12(1), 1641043. doi:10.1080/16549716.2019.1641043
There have been many debates in recent years as to whether the communicable disease versus non-communicable disease (NCD) division is a meaningful one in disease classification. Several critiques have been raised about the framing of NCDs, regarding not only the prominent role that infections play in the aetiology of NCDs, but also the communicability of many social determinants of NCDs and the individualistic, ‘lifestyle’ framing of NCDs that tends to focus on health behaviours to the neglect of socio-political, environmental, and structural determinants of health. In this paper, we give a historical overview of the usage of the NCD terminology and analyse some of the recent debates regarding the naming and framing of NCDs. We argue that a lack of reflection on the assumptions underlying the naming and framing of NCDs may lead to the collection of insufficient epidemiological data, the development of inappropriate interventions and the provision of inadequate care. Work in social epidemiology, health promotion, medical anthropology, demography, and other fields may provide insights into the ways in which efforts targeting NCDs may be reframed to improve impact and efficacy. In addition, concepts such as multimorbidity and syndemics, frameworks such as ecosocial theory and approaches based in the social sciences may provide a way forward in the conceptualization of disease.
Atzil, S., Gao, W., Fradkin, I., & Barrett, L. F. (2018). Growing a social brain. Nature Human Behaviour, 2(9), 624-636. doi:10.1038/s41562-018-0384-6
It has long been assumed that social animals, such as humans, are born with a brain system that has evolved to support social affiliation. However, the evidence does not necessarily support this assumption. Alternatively, social animals can be defined as those who cannot survive alone and rely on members from their group to regulate their ongoing physiology (or allostasis). The rather simple evolutionary constraint of social dependency for survival can be sufficient to make the social environment vitally salient, and to provide the ultimate driving force for socially crafted brain development and learning. In this Perspective, we propose a framework for sociality and specify a set of hypotheses on the mechanisms of social development and underlying neural systems. The theoretical shift proposed here implies that profound human characteristics, including but not limited to sociality, are acquired at an early age, while social interactions provide key wiring instructions that determine brain development.
Kirmayer, L. J., & Gomez-Carrillo, A. (2019). Agency, embodiment and enactment in psychosomatic theory and practice. Med Humanit, 45(2), 169-182. doi:10.1136/medhum-2018-011618
In this paper, we examine some of the conceptual, pragmatic and moral dilemmas intrinsic to psychosomatic explanation in medicine, psychiatry and psychology. Psychosomatic explanation invokes a social grey zone in which ambiguities and conflicts about agency, causality and moral responsibility abound. This conflict reflects the deep-seated dualism in Western ontology and concepts of personhood that plays out in psychosomatic research, theory and practice. Illnesses that are seen as psychologically mediated tend also to be viewed as less real or legitimate. New forms of this dualism are evident in philosophical attacks on Engel’s biopsychosocial approach, which was a mainstay of earlier psychosomatic theory, and in the recent Research Domain Criteria research programme of the US National institute of Mental Health which opts for exclusively biological modes of explanation of illness. We use the example of resignation syndrome among refugee children in Sweden to show how efforts to account for such medically unexplained symptoms raise problems of the ascription of agency. We argue for an integrative multilevel approach that builds on recent work in embodied and enactive cognitive science. On this view, agency can have many fine gradations that emerge through looping effects that link neurophenomenology, narrative practices and cultural affordances in particular social contexts. This multilevel ecosocial view points the way towards a renewed biopsychosocial approach in training and clinical practice that can advance person-centred medicine and psychiatry.
Samadhi, (Sanskrit: “total self-collectedness”) in Indian religion, and particularly in Hinduismand Buddhism, the highest state of mental concentration that a person can achieve while still bound to the body and which unites him with the highest reality. Samadhi is a state of profound and utterly absorptive contemplation of the Absolute that is undisturbed by desire, anger, or any other ego-generated thought or emotion. It is a state of joyful calm, or even of rapture and beatitude, in which one maintains one’s full mental alertness and acuity. Samadhiis regarded in Hinduism and Buddhism as the climax of all spiritual and intellectual activity. The power to attain samadhi is a precondition of attaining release from the cycle of death and rebirth (samsara). Hence, the death of a person having this power is also considered a samadhi. By a further extension, the site where a person believed to be so empowered was cremated is in modern times also referred to as a samadhi; thus, the site of Mohandas K. Gandhi’s cremation in Delhi is officially named Gandhi’s Samadhi.