I had never thought much about biomedicine being culturally specific. The more I thought about it, the more I realized how true it was. Biomedicine is something very common to western civilizations in particular, so common that many of us do not even realize that it is cultural. I myself find myself believing that we have the best system of healthcare, but that may not necessarily be true. Classes such as this one are great to give us knowledge of other cultures, which therefor teaches us something about the one we are apart of. The more I learn about other cultures the more I realize how flawed my own is.
The culture of biomedicine is one that is a bit difficult to explain. It is a treatment done mainly by highly “qualified” people who treat those who are different from the standard idea of a healthy person. Their work is often validated by a sense of truth or fact that is easily explained using biology or physiology as stated in our lecture. This is different from medicine common to other cultures where their validity might come from belief or history instead of fact of how the healing will be done. Biomedicine has evolved greatly in the last few decades from a culture where someone who has a problem seeks an answer, to someone who has a problem, thinks they know the answer, and seeks a particular solution. Our material from this week shows how in many cases, a doctors role has changed from the man with the answers, to the gateway man, who allows us to get what we think we need. We have allowed hospitals, doctors, pharmacies, and schools to capitalize by believing that they hold the key to us living out our lives. This is a cycle that continues to make the biomedicine belief stronger and more powerful in our culture.
As stated before, our culture is very dependent on truth and getting answers, so it seems funny to me that so many unanswerable questions lie within our belief system. The dichotomy of healthy vs. unhealthy is one I find particularly interesting because it is a question you would think biomedicine should be very focused on. I struggle with the answer myself, however generally, I think which category you fall under depends on where you think you fall. This thinking came directly from my grandmother, she would never give you medicine unless you didn’t feel well. Today, I would say that if you feel like you are healthy, you are. You could lead an unhealthy life, but you could feel healthy for years until your lifestyle starts to take a toll on you. Even if you have a disease that can threaten your life, you usually can tell that you are unhealthy at one point in time, which is when you realize what the problem is. However there are so many gray areas with my definition, and in fact everyone’s definition, but my definition makes the most sense to me. The reason I believe western society still accepts the uncertain difference between healthy and unhealthy because there is defiantly a difference between the two, we just cannot figure out what the exact line between them is.