I cribbed a spectacular post from a psychiatrist revisiting the course of his professional life. It brings up memories.
One is that I have spent much of my life around educational establishments, lost in the fiction that education is being delivered for its own sake. I am chilled to find that my son is bound to that error, himself. It is certainly not a result of my encouragement.
At the end of many civilizations, there is a loud and showy Parade of the Idiots, endless, lasting several years, where many factions of the teetering society march by, proclaiming their inconceivable stupidities to the terrified onlookers. Perhaps Dante would have placed this as a conga line writing through the various levels of Hell. I think that would be a jolly setting.
In the old schools of medicine, excellence as the formula for success fell by the wayside – if it ever was there to begin with. Unbridled narcissism, and all the other Cluster B pathologies, were the controlling forces. “F*ck your way upward until you have achieved the best you can be.”
I really cannot say that I have met many along the path who seemed to have the least interest in my abilities, or how I might improve them. If anything, they greeted me with a question – how will YOU improve MY standing, and how might I F*CK you over in return?
If they find a fellow traveler, thieves’ honor permits them to conspire trustingly until one of them shows their throat by accident – then SLICE!
For this reason, I have a clinically detached view of the carousel of horror that is American Medicine, as it spins off its axis, wheezing and shrieking, merely one next float on the ridiculous parade. There is no guarantee that we will make it through this O.K. I’m sure that the kings of Assyria, Babylonia, the Hittites, all clung to the assurance that there is a reason – SOMEHOW – that it will all turn out, as civilization as we know it cannot blow into dust. Ozymandias, read thy fate.
The Parade of Fools insists that slaughtering what little of humanistic medicine is left, and replacing it with an aggregate of Wal-Medicine in little boxes at the front of the store, writing prescriptions for the Wal-Pharmacy to fill, is just the same; that mechanized medicine can be sold as a consumer good; that large-animal veterinary principles for caring for stock are applicable here in the good ol’ USA. Pigs give meat, and cows give milk; workers give labor. The downer laborers must not be treated with too much expense; recover their economic value, or put them down.
The vast stupidity of such a culture pretends that these are Big Ideas forced upon us by the Big Cheeses – if only we could stop them from saying that! we imagine. Sadly, the stupidity is more diffuse, amongst us all here and now. Each one of us turns away from the smoke from Buchenwald, and imagines, really – that could be from anything, better that I don’t know, no matter what the smell hints at.
Are we really that stupid? Yes we are. Can we make it worse? Yes we can.