As a human biology major, I think I would find the biological approach to be the best way to understand and learn about health. The majority of college classes I have taken the past three years at MSU have been science related. I actually just took genetics last semester, and would most likely find it manageable to relate one’s genes and environmental surroundings to health. Biology is something that not only makes sense to me, but interests me as well, so this is the approach I would prefer to pursue.
The distinction between disease and illness was not at all obvious to me. I have always thought of a disease as just being a more serious type of illness. However, disease, according to lecture, is described as having outward clinical manifestations. On the other hand, illness is described as being the human experience, altered perceptions one might have while sick. The definition of illness changes from culture to culture.
In the Nacerima article, Miner is talking about the American culture. I did not realize this until Miner said they were a North American group, and he described them as living in America. One ritual performed by everyone who is a part of the Nacerima is the daily body ritual. This ritual includes a mouth-rite, inserting a bundle of hog hairs into the mouth, as well as “magical” powders. This example shows how differently the Nacerima value health compared to our own culture, where there is a stigma against putting any kind of hair in one’s mouth. They consider their rituals and beliefs to be more important than their health, whereas we think first about the filth of hog hair and the germs it can carry. Another, more disturbing, ritual the Nacerima execute is the seeing of the holy-mouth-man. This man creates or enlarges naturally occurring decay in the people’s teeth, in order to fill the holes with “magical” materials. This is another display of dedication to their traditions and rituals because the people continue to see this man, regardless of the pain it continuous to cause. We look to pills to feel better and to improve our health, but they believe more in magic and ceremonies.