Spirit Possession

My definition of health is that of the absence of illness.  Illness, as I define it, is any bacteria or virus that causes adverse reaction in the human body.  Illness can also be that of a mutation in the cells or alteration in hormones that cause adverse reactions in the human body creating temporary or permanent disease. 

I think for me these ideas came from all aspect of life, but mostly from school.  I have been educated in medicine and human biology.  I had been expecting to become a nurse and completed all prerequisite training for the nursing program.  Due to my education and the classes I have completed I depend mostly on the information learned through my schooling to understand health and illness. With that said; I also believe that the information taught in schooling is also a result of influences by society, the media, and even from personal experiences of influential people.   

It was difficult for me to pull out just three conditions from the list that I wanted to discuss but I decided on Old Age, Sadness, and Spirit Possession.  I believe each of these three conditions are not illnesses even though some people may believe they are.  Old age is simply a normal condition of life.  It happens to all people (unless death occurs untimely) and not all old persons have an illness. However, illness does usually occur more frequently in persons of old age, this does not mean that old age itself constitutes an illness.  Sadness is also not an illness.  It is an emotion and can be caused by illnesses but is not always.  It is also a normal condition of life as circumstances change and environments are altered, individuals can become sad.  A death of a loved one, the end of a relationship, and even earthquakes are just a few examples that can and normally do make people sad.  Then there is spirit possession.  This was a tricky one to differentiate. However, I personally do not believe that spirit possession really exists.  It is usually just a disease or illness that is altering a person’s mental capacity and/or movements. There is always a logical medical explanation for someone who is ‘spirit possessed’.  Therefore, since spirit possession does not really exist it cannot be an illness.

1 thought on “Spirit Possession

  1. Out of the conditions that Amanda has discussed in her post, I have decided to research spirit possession. I am not very educated on this particular subject, therefore didn’t pick it myself as one of my three conditions to specify if they were considered illnesses or not. I agree with the fact that spirit possession is in no shape, way, or form an illness. As I defined illness in my post, I said it was a disease affecting the mind and body. It is hard to consider spirit possession an illness since it is not a disease. Spirit possession is defined as “unwelcomed intrusion of interference by a spirit into one’s thoughts, will and/or body” (Rense.com). India regards spirit possession in the broad spectrum of medical problems. In Southern India, cults described this problem as a “religious problem”. Many countries have different slang terms regarding spirit possession. The most usual are bhuta pattundu (the spirit caught) and maytu buttundu (came into the body). In the Northern part of Tulunad, the village “audience” partakes in a variety of possession and trance forms at annual village rituals. There is no doubt that anthropologists consider spiritual possession a medical problem. For societies that engage in these spiritual possessions, it is considered a very religious phenomenon and has spiritual origin. Anthropologists consider this a “medical problem” because they take biological features to be more basic than the cultural or ideological ones. After researching this subject, I feel as if I’m more educated and can place spirit possession into the category of not being an illness.



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