Life and Death

I chose to analyze life vs. death because it is so controversial. There are so many definitions of life and death and it gives way to so many different points of views. The different outlooks on life and death come from individual’s cultures and backgrounds, what they experienced, social and religious beliefs, politics, all play a huge role in how someone feels about a subject. I think dichotomy of life and death is logical and natural in western society. Someone who has been hooked up to a machine and been on life support for months to someone may technically still be alive but to what extent if they aren’t even the same person they were and the doctors say there’s nothing that can be done. Some may see it as selfish and inhumane to keep someone like that and others may feel it’s right and to stay hopeful that they will pull through. It’s really hard to say, even harder if you yourself are not in the situation.

Biomedicine is referred to by several names including allopathic, western, evidence based and just “medicine”. Biomedicine explains health in terms of biology. It emphasizes the importance of anatomy in physiology to treat disease and maintain health. Most societies contain overlapping forms of biomedicine. The world of biomedicine operates in the world of facts. It comes in two forms Universality and Objectivity. Universality is the direct reflection of nature and is a universal truth. Objectivity is value neutral and autonomous from human influence. Biomedicine has been cultural constructed and amended over time. Shifted theories include the mass production of antibiotics and germ theory, and genetic sciences.

I think dichotomy came from the mixture of many different cultures and beliefs on arguable, contradictory subjects. My personal views on dichotomy are that without it everyone would think the same about everything and there would be no individuality. Certain style of medicine could have never developed if someone never thought to think outside of the box or to contradict the norm. I think dichotomy is accepted in western society as natural because there are so many mixture of cultures in America.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Morgan Barnett says:

    The dichotomy of life and death holds deeply controversial roots in western society and throughout the world. The fact that discrepancies in the questions of where life starts an stops exist from person to person even within the United States poses difficulties in both political and social contexts. This unsettlement on clearly defined lines is not at the fault of clinicians, and it is not their responsibility to uphold such distinctions.
    On one hand, some argue that life starts at conception, some argue that life starts at birth, and many argue that life starts somewhere in between. No governing document in government or medicine declares when life begins. The question is somewhat biological, but the philosophical component holds more ground in society. A social implication of this question is the availability of abortion.
    On the other hand, the question of when life ends is also up for debate. From the perspective of a medical examiner, a set of criteria must be met for a person to be called “dead,” such as cessation of brain function and heartbeat. Some families of patients near death may view a life machine as keeping the person alive, but other families may already consider the loved one as passed since communication and brain function no longer can be carried out. A social implication of this is euthanasia. The variants from person to person make the dichotomy very slippery for clinicians to define, and great care is taken when addressing these dichotomies with families of patients who are affected by them.

  2. holechri says:

    The concept of life and death is always super cool. My favorite thing about the idea of death is the concept of ethics and belief of what is life and death. In modern medicine, this concept affects a myriad of subjects. For example, the concept of life in the situation of pregnancy provides a deep moral questioning of beliefs as to when is life considered in terms of a pregnant woman’s fetus. The question of life in terms of death can be the suspended state of life for people who are comatose and kept on life support despite being declared brain dead. Some would argue that any form of comatose state is considered death while others will consider that even feting tube vegetative states are still considered alive, and that pulling the plug is considered as killing the individual. This concept is important for medical professionals to consider is that everyone shares a different set of ethics. In medicine, life and death are touchy subjects and no one wants to let go of a loved one. Some people also consider death a much more spiritual thing than others, and it important to understand and consider this when deciding approaches attempt at handling situations.

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