Life/Death

Biomedicine is a big part of western culture, and is thought very highly of. Even inside the biomedical system, physicians and other practitioners have a culture of their own. As it showed in lecture there are certain ways rites of passage that medical school students must go through in order to be included in the culture. Procedures must be conducted in certain ways, and there is even different medical terminology that physicians use, that other people would not. They form their own systems within a hospital, and status is given to people who work there. I think it’s important to have culture of biomedicine because it makes patients and visitors more trustworthy of their physicians because they know it’s so much work for them to even get in to medical school. I also think this could go against the patients because they might not be able to understand what their physician means, and might have to have the doctor explain in a way that they will understand. I definitely think trust plays a big role.

I think dichotomy’s are culturally constructed and definitely depend on your beliefs. With the dichotomy of life/death, it is easy for some people to believe in this, but for others its not so easy because not all cultures believe in death. Some cultures believe that you never die, and that your soul just cycles through into life again. In western culture, I think this dichotomy is seen as natural because people believe that these two are opposites. I think the words are easy to use, even though they might have different meanings to people. Even if someone thinks that the soul lives on after someone passes away, they still say that the person has died, but their soul will live on. This has to do with another dichotomy of mind/body.

1 thought on “Life/Death

  1. It is important for clinicians to understand the dichotomy of life and death because in the health care profession, it is extremely important to families and patients to know what it means to be alive versus being dead. This dichotomy is the difference between family preparing wills and funeral arrangements versus families preparing for at home care. If this dichotomy is taken for granted as fact then there grey area between life and death will be completely ignored, potentially killing people that were technically alive. It is also possible that the families and patients could suffer from an abrupt declaration of death based on a set standard or the preservation of life set on the same standard. This lack of room for grey area becomes a good and a bad thing that affects more than just the doctors and nurses.
    An alternative way to conceptualize this dichotomy is to not think of it as death exists when the heart or lungs stop, but more so when the mind stops functioning. Therefore if the mind is still functioning then the person is still considered alive. In my example of male versus female roles, an alternative way to conceptualize it would be to identify male and female as a person that has the respective X and Y chromosomes not just the physical and internal organs. The potential benefits could be that the person could have a genetic relationship to their sex so if the physical doesn’t fully match the genetic composition there would be justification. However, the drawback could be that in a dominant male and female society, if the physical doesn’t match the genetics and a possible alternative sex is determined for these individuals then it could leave them feeling excluded and confused.

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