Before this class I had never thought of biomedicine as a culture, but after this weeks readings and lectures I know see biomedicine in a different light and realize it indeed is a culture in itself. Many think of biomedicine as pure, cut and dry facts and as objective. When in reality it’s quite cultural and subjective; It has its own set of values and ideologies and there are many factors to consider when examining biomedicine. Biomedicine has its own institutions, language and rituals just like any other culture. As mentioned in lecture 5.1 there is a rigourous “rite of passage”, in the form of medical school, when one strives to become a doctor. This consists of a rite of separation (leaving society for medical school), a rite of transition (time when transitioning from student to doctor), and rite of incorporation (when graduated and now welcomed back to society as a doctor). This rite of passage can be compared to that of others from different cultures such as weddings, graduations, and bar mitzvah’s. Accepting the concept of biomedicine as a culture is important to the growth and progress of biomedicine.
There are many controversial dichotomy’s, one being life and death. Where is the line between life and death drawn? Personally, I believe that life is when a person is conscious of themselves as a being as well as its surroundings. I think death is when someone is no longer aware of themselves as a being or of their surroundings. For example, if someone was in a vegetative state on life support with no brain activity, I would consider that person to be “dead”. As far as the begging of life, I believe life begins when the fetus has a brain and brain activity begins. I think that these views on this dichotomy of life and death were influenced by my parents, friends, and the biology classes that I have taken in college, especially anatomy. I think that this dichotomy has been accepted by some in Western society due to higher education about human development.