coromandal


a common disease, as in a plague

So many plagues consume us. The scientists emphasize the ones that destroy our bodies, but the ones that destroy our minds and souls are as pervasive, noxious, and deadly. Where are the priests?

Consumerism is one such plague, buying luxury goods and experiences. So believed the Epicureans, and in the town of Oinoanda in south west Asia Minor in AD 1208, Diogenes, who was an Epicurean, posted warnings about the plague of consumerism in a market that sold luxury goods.

Luxurious foods and drinks … in no way produce freedom from harm and a healthy condition in the flesh.

One must regard wealth beyond what is natural as of no more use than water to a container that is full to overflowing.

Real value is generated not by the theatres and baths and perfumes and ointments … but by natural science.

  • Epicurean slogans inscribed at the behest of Diogenes on central market colonnade in the town of Oinoanda south west Asia Minor AD 1208

Diogenes, an evangelist for Epicurean salvation from consumerism, describes his passion on the same wall in the market in Oinoanda:

Having already reached the sunset of my life (being almost on the verge of departure from the world on account of old age), I wanted, before being overtaken by death, to compose a fine anthem to celebrate the fullness of pleasure and so to help now those who are well constituted. Now, if only one person, or two or three or four or five or six … were in a bad predicament, I should address them individually … but as the majority of people suffer from a common disease, as in a plague, with their false notions about things, and as their number is increasing (for in mutual emulation they catch the disease from each other, like sheep) … I wished to use this stoa to advertise publicly medicines that bring salvation.

  • Diogenes, same wall

 



ear nose and throat
February 22, 2015, 6:39 pm
Filed under: brave new world | Tags: , , ,
bandipur elephant

The elephant’s trunk isn’t the elephant and the elephant isn’t tree-like; these misapprehensions are the pitfalls of specialization. To really know the elephant must be divine, and will require knowing more than one body part. It’s the same with knowing a patient when you’re a doctor. A specialist doctor who has overspecialized will never know the whole person. He may take care of that particular rare thing you have wrong with your elbow or larynx, and he’ll no doubt be able to afford some houses and boats, but he won’t be a better doctor because he won’t know the patient.

Simon Gray:

How can one trust doctors? They seem to know more and more about their own specialities, less and less about their patients. If they are ear, nose and throat people, then they know the ear, nose and throat of you, but not what these are attached to, you’re not present as a living and ailing organism, you’re there in the bits and pieces he know about, and he’s unlikely? unwilling? unable? to speculate about alternative explanations for your illness, there’s nothing wrong with your ear, nose and throat, so you’d better go to someone who specialized in something else and if you’re lucky you might eventually hit on a man who happens to specialize in whatever is killing you.

The Smoking Diaries, Simon Gray, p45



heart attack
January 26, 2014, 5:15 pm
Filed under: the sweet life | Tags: , , , , , ,

In the 1950s, two researchers named Bruhn and Wolf went to the village of Roseto in eastern Pennsylvania near the New York border, to attempt to find out why the townspeople there were outliving – by a wide margin – people everywhere else in the country.  Their assumption going in had been that there were physical reasons for the longevity, like diet and health.  What they found was evidence that the reason for exceptional health was social.

Rosetto PA was settled in the 1880s by stone workers from the Italian town Rosetto Valfortore.  The settlers brought the name of their southern mountain town with them and apparently they brought a lot more than just the name.  When Bruhn and Wolf visited the town they found a very tightly knit, socially cohesive community.  They were publicly and privately social, they lived in extended families, they worshipped together, they formed multiple social organizations, and the classes mixed and were mutually supportive.   Continue reading