Life/Death

The culture of biomedicine refers to the way that biomedicine is culturally constructed. In our society, biomedicine is centered around our western way of thinking. It includes how we perceive doctor/patient relationships, how we decipher between health and illness, what treatments are necessary, etc. However, since our culture is dynamic and changes with time, so does biomedicine. For example, menstruation used to be part of a normal cycle in women, but now most women are prescribed drugs or devices that are used to control their cycles or in some cases stop them completely. These methods of birth control show how our values in society have changed and how biomedicine has advanced along with it.

In my opinion, I think that dichotomies are very useful when pondering or evaluating two  seemingly different concepts and arose due to the nature of opposing viewpoints. For example, two cultures may have very different views of health and illness, and to argue their points about each concept they may have used dichotomies in order to make comparisons and contrasts. Aspects such as education, religion, social and economic status may influence culture, creating different viewpoints among different cultures.

The dichotomy that I chose to examine is the very controversial dichotomy of life and death. This issue is so controversial in Western society because people have different viewpoints of “life” and “death.” One of the most controversial issues in society today is abortion, pro-life versus pro-choice. A person who is pro-life is likely someone who sees life beginning at the moment of conception. While on the other hand, a person who is pro-life doesn’t believe that life begins until the fetus is viable. Because there is no scientific consensus as to when life begins this becomes a very messy topic of debate, and dichotomies are used to get points across. This dichotomy is also used when discussing death in situations where pulling the plug becomes an option. How do we classify someone who is brain dead and needs a respirator to breathe? Topics like these have many grey areas, which can be argued through the use of dichotomies.

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