Two immutable things my mother taught me — kindness and empathy.
In memory of my mother, popular loved by all teacher...'what we now know my change, but the impact of our actions and how we treat others and our world will remain.'
When the value of value becomes mandate in a technocratic society we have significant problems to confront as a society and as functional members in any profession, especially as healthcare workers. The mandate currently set by a society with growing dependency on technology simultaneously creates a platform for the unnatural state we can refer to as negentropy(anti-entropy), leaving us as organic life forms, always torn between order and disorder, unprepared for the future. Abstractions arrived at in this unnatural state are then further determined by a financial hierarchy in a model we call the economy.
Classically life based on new genomic evidence and understanding of our evolutionary origins is a perceptive drive harmonising entropy and negentropy— a Ying and Yang dualism constantly adapting to increasing complexity.
We can clearly sense a general angst in society today, drawn into a technocratic uniformity we call the internet. With control of this network the current buzz word, simultaneously directed by a political economic hierarchy constantly escalating in complexity, we may have reason for our perturbation. With new evidence in our evolutionary origins now exposing us as inescapably part of an interdependent perceptive living network (connected ted to a living earth), operating across generations, this network is seen as dependant on trustworthy information and connections to confront unforeseen and dramatic changes to come. Such pliable adaptability to the unknown is not only the core of how our cognitive abilities and knowledge advance but also how it progresses within a bio-network that simply cannot function in isolation or be fraudulent. This significant paradigm shift in our understanding of evolution will inevitably affect all of us, not only as members of an interconnected global society but as clinicians and patients relying on trust.
The French philosopher Bernard Stiegler recently (2018) described this new era of technological dependency as: ‘an internet linked to computers operating as systems to produce an automatic performativity that channels, diverts and short-circuits individual and collective anticipations of the future. By outstripping and overtaking the intellectual capacities of individuals, and doing so precisely insofar as our natural evolutionary attuned biological capacities to some extend can be seen as oneiric capacities.’ Such an imaginative drive then what separates us from the inorganic world, simultaneously advancing a transgenerational learned memory (knowledge), with functional pliability and pragmatic value—progressing by means of its genomic memory for the collective production of circuits of transindividuation.
With this threat and the significant paradigm shift in both science and philosophy, and in a much changed environment today, the doctor (or any professional) inevitably is entering not only a new era in ecogenomics but an era more and more driven by commercial and personal biases influenced by this computer linked network and its set directive—this injunction normally functioning under the effect of a financial hierarchy masquerading behind legal systems afflicted by the same dogma. Conscious of this hierarchy or at least well aware of the implications if not paying heed to these controlling elements, the professional then applies care under an ethical obligation— in the case of healthcare with empathy now severely undermined and the least emphasised part of the healing process.
Another perhaps better known French philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-78) famously said, ‘man is born free and everywhere he is in chains.”
Rousseau’s philosophy and his belief that man in his natural state have an intrinsic moral duty, inevitably will be open to attack based on human vulnerability to personal biases, status and commercial drive. It is then only if we can eradicate irrationality and selfishness and truely surrender to reason that such a righteous aim as Rousseau had in mind can, if ever, eventuate, and we can practice a truly nonpartisan medicine. This noble aim is furthermore in todays world of litigations and profiteering afflicted by protection or status and financial gain or control.
On an individual level with perhaps only a few extreme and rare exceptions we all want to be free, safe and have fair and equal access to resources and basic requirements to continue living moral lives. Such basic needs as, water, food, security and fairness in income/ employment, safe housing, education and healthcare are all well recognised as essential needs, and when we are deprived of them, they can be responsible for much disparity and strife in a world that is certainly not necessarily fair or renowned for sharing these resources. With markets controlled by sociopolitical issues, hardly recognised for their trustworthiness or recognition of general social needs, we all generally still want to be connected through dependable (uncensored and reliable) channels to access trustworthy social networks to access these imperatives.
It is in this general need, where we are all at our most vulnerable and subject to systems or individuals and sociopolitical structures regulating these resources such as our water, food supplies, housing, healthcare and future — that foresight, trust and perspicacity is demanded.
We may next ask if controlling figures should then operate under a higher morality besides requiring specialised knowledge or skills. Next we need to remove (if at all possible) any personal biases. I am a veterinarian so yes I may be inclined to say the healthcare professional should earn more than the CEO of an oil company and have a higher ethic. But why should they necessarily earn more than the teacher guiding our children's minds, and how could they when much of corporate is currently under scrutiny for contributing to climate change stimulating disparity and afflicting our genomic health and future wellbeing. We all know that the promise of democracy was fairness and freedom to equally access resources for individuals to make something of themselves—hard work can make you a better person. But can it still today harmlessly serve the greater need?
Before we rush to any answers here we need to distance (if at all possible) ourselves form any personal partisanships.
Functioning today within a powerful hierarchy, not generally renowned for its honesty and empathy — it gains at the cost of others, the environment and our morality. Inarguably in creating this economic hierarchy with its faltering fairness norms we have also taken away the very core principles of morality and fairness— our liberty.
Perhaps quite self-evident today if we let this system continue, uncontrolled and embellished in its negentropy, an egocentric disregarding society will emerge, slowly giving up on the idea of morality and fairness altogether. Now set in an era of growing technological dependency and with fairness decided by legal bodies dancing around financial interests, it furthermore increases the opportunity for a few controlling figures to manipulate, deceive and exploit others in this 'financial' hierarchy with new technology setting a normative.
We can sense how unrestricted wealth creation under technocratic guidance can constrain both our natural state and morality. Clearly this will not suffice and the only way forward would be to improve the morality and fairness of the current system or change it completely. Undeniably any action that moves one toward trust, love and charity, must surely be better than actions resulting in destruction of life and the burgeoning and proliferation of difference that can only be seen as destruction of biodiversity, cultural diversity and the singularity of both psychic individuations and collective psyche.
It has now become entirely up to us (and individualised united concern), to accept or condemn our psychic and collective individuation to be wiped out by a technical individuation that has become subject to self-destructive economies, unreliable information and finical sway, and to practice empathy in our selected professions.
Connect in trust, interact and treat others and the environment with care and fairness — it is our genomic calling.
Article by Theodore Holtzhausen (Vet, Author of Spheres of Perception, World citizen)
Heidegger, Martin. (2006/1927) Sein und Zeit. Tubbingen: Niemeyer.
Stiegler,B. The Neganthropocene. Open Humanities Press. London. 2018
Žižek, Slavoj. (2010). Living in the end times. London: Verso.