Life/Death

When we use the term “culture of biomedicine” we are referring to the varying beliefs and views different societies have on medicinal uses and the practice of medicine in relation to the body.  “Culture of biomedicine” is an important concept because in western society it means the evolving dynamic between sickness and healing, between diagnosis and treatment.  My own view on dichotomy is a bit indifferent, or apathetic even, to it’s definition because is it not simply common sense that for there to be a thing that is considered light, there must also be a think that is considered dark? Dichotomy is all around us and makes up almost every dimension of our lives here on earth: big-little, smart-dumb, tall-short, teacher-student. As far as where dichotomy actually comes from, I believe it must come from a collective of cultural, genetic, and evolutionary perspectives that change and adjust over time and/or per each society’s wants, needs, and habits.  However, we cannot be precisely sure on where dichotomy was truly born because, by definition, there must always be two contrasting or comparing parties in order to create the relationship that a dichotomy represents—and to discuss the derivation of dichotomy in general would be to consider that, perhaps, dichotomy began with only one singular party and somehow was either divided into two separate but comparable parties or over time, each side to every dichotomy finds it’s compliment in another. I think dichotomy is accepted as logical/natural/true in western society because our culture depends on the guarantees that a lot of dichotomies bring, such as life and death; in western society we base many things we choose, to do or not do, off of how long of a life we’ll have and all we know is the opposite of life is death– which is, in it’s full form and definition, for all intents and purposes, considered vastly unknown to the living. With these almost certain guarantees as far as life expectancy and quality of life in America, we can properly prepare for the other guaranteed, but opposite half of that dichotomy that is death. I think a dichotomy such as life and death is accepted in our society as logical, natural, and true because they are the only elements of their kind but different, that have proven their dichotomy to be unchanging over time.

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  1. Ethan Gotz says:

    Hello Falicia. I think you made great cultural connections with dichotomy and made a lot of great points. It is very important that clinicians recognize the difference between life and death because a lot of the times, patients life relies on the clinician to ‘fix them up’ so that they do not turn to the other half of the dichotomy, death. The entire reason why patients come to hospitals, clinics, etc. is to keep them alive and so that they do not have to experience death sooner then they should. Our culture puts a time frame on when death is considered acceptable for example, as we reach old age. However, old age may be actually considered ‘old age’ at different ages depending on what culture we are talking about. Certain African countries may considered old age to be 45 years old, whereas in our country 75 would be considered old. It is the clinicians duty to keep patients alive long enough for the patients at least to experience ‘old age’ in their culture. It is very important not to take life/death as completely true because a patient who is in comatose may appear to be dead, but is in fact still alive. Understanding exactly who is alive and who is dead must be completely understood.

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