Life/Death

In our culture, biomedicine plays a large part in western society. This is an important concept because it is considered the most legitimate form of medicine in our society and is of the greatest importance. The way that our society interprets illness plays large influence in the way that the sick are considered in western culture. For instance depression in our society is considered to be a negative and is something that needs to be taken care of right away, even though realistically there is no way for someone to get over depression like that. Western society presumes that when you put someone on medicine, it is going to instantly cure the problem and it will never be an issue again. In reality, that is not what the medicine does, though it does help some individuals, and there are large amounts of side effects that makes one think about whether or not being on an antidepressant is worth all the complications, for the mild relief from the depression. In other societies, depression may not even be considered to be bad thing, even normal, and seen as something that runs its course.

I consider dichotomy of medicine to be due to the advancements in medical knowledge. In times when there weren’t clinical trials and things weren’t for sure, people were taking medicine that they assumed worked, when in actuality they would not do anything for the individual, or could even have the potential to make them even more ill. It wasn’t until by chance advancements in medicine occurred and actual treatments were invented that could be backed with evidence and proof that it worked. Implications of this are they could just assume some sort of medicine or treatment works without testing it out as thoroughly as they should, resulting in side effects that could potentially play a large effect on an individual’s life.

The dichotomy I chose was looking at life/death, since I find it the most interesting and these things have very unclear, known boundaries and grey areas. At first glance, one assumes that there should just be life or death, but there are several in between areas. If an individual is being kept alive by machines, are they truly alive, or are they dead, with their body still living due to the help of machines? Or, another example of this, is when can we determine something a life; is it at the time of conception, after the first trimester, or at the point when a fetus has the ability to live on its own without any assistance from the mother? There is much debate and argument between individuals that are pro life and pro choice, though it is something that can’t be determined by politics, and it is something that no one can seem to agree on, though the medical community does have a definition for it. Society deems what is appropriate and what is the way it is, but when it comes to it affecting your life, your personal decisions and the closeness to the situation will determine the affect that will be there. Our views on dichotomies are formed from the environment we have grown up in and our dependent from our surroundings.

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