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health & medicine in philosophy & culture
La gaya scienza! Philosophy of health and sickness, cultures of medicine, technologies of the self, soft sciences & hard metaphysics
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Heribert Watzke: The brain in your gut

(for a detailed blog entry on the same subject and response to the video above, check out http://tinyurl.com/2cr6yxl)

The neuro-analytical vocabulary Watzke employs at times isn’t completely agreeable with me but he underlines the symbiotic relation between nature and culture in a beautiful way, inviting the audience to think culture a bit more naturally and nature a tad culturally. Homo coctivor is the animal that plays with fire. Why so perplexed when it comes to evaluation of life and becoming what we are?

When I found this video I had long been following some quasi-scientific and full-on 'health-aware' debates on dietary choices, and thinking (or sub-consciously paraphrasing some Sufic discussion in my head) that the human is the only animal at contempt with what he is and that he is. This has become more evident than ever in the age of self-invention; mind, body and soul each is a battlefield for floating signifiers of ‘good living’ ‘proper eating’ ‘positive thinking’ ‘fresh looking’. Diversity of viewpoints and teachings is something to celebrate though entirely different than decadence— the latter pushes for extremities, asceticism and pseudo-transgressions to compensate for the physiological exhaustion of the vital forces on individual and collective level. We get dumb with woes and worries and worry even some more as we get dumber. How else to explain new-age courses on ‘how to breathe’, the innovation madness in recreational sports industry and equipment and tens of different sets of dieting principles each (self-)acclaimed to be more natural, more right and more credible than all the others. Yes, dragon breathing can make a positive difference in the middle of a panic attack and yes, meditation schools of the East all consider breathing an essential part of the life-long practice of mindful presence—but is that the real reason why breathing conferences held in fancy hotels cost $300 a person? Is our industrious engagement with research and practice of the mind- body- soul alignment an indicator of the need for a universal expansion of perspectives? Or is it another totalizing gesture of post-colonial post-industrial kind and symptomatic only of our contemporary nihilism? Not a rhetorical question: Can sickness be the cure?
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The Last Psychiatrist: The Epidemic of Mental Illness: Because

The Last Psychiatrist: The Epidemic of Mental Illness: Because | health & medicine in philosophy & culture | Scoop.it
(check out Angell’s book review, also on this topic)

Over-diagnosis and over-prescription of psychiatric drugs is a problem that calls for a critical approach to the current medicalization of the human subject and the structures of power and discourse behind it. Not to forget the considerable amount of cultural resentment towards whatever-medical (be it the abstract social institution, the health-care system or the practitioner) and public mistrust in findings of research sagas— a plethora of volatile assumptions based on pseudo-causalities and research-bias, according to many. All the same, one interesting question is whether the Big Pharma argument has become a political piñata that keeps everybody busy jumping and hitting and breaking while the candles meet the trash bin and the cake gets sliced in the kitchen. TLP’s response to Angell’s NYT book review hints that much of the intellectual zest for taking the Big Pharma down might be symptomatic of an inherently apolitical myopia regarding the omnipresence of ideological appropriation in all domains of life, public or private. (in the sense of Foucault’s power concept and Althusser’s notion of interpellation). Some of the truisms and logical fallacies of Angell’s argument doesn’t escape TLP’s humor either.
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The Epidemic of Mental Illness: Why? by Marcia Angell | The New York Review of Books

The Epidemic of Mental Illness: Why? by Marcia Angell | The New York Review of Books | health & medicine in philosophy & culture | Scoop.it
In mental health debates on etiology, diagnostic criteria and drug-administration, two sides often-noticed are neuropsychology and neurochemistry that work with a disease paradigm and the anti-psychiatry movement that employs a trauma paradigm. The latter can well accommodate a number of counter-explanations ranging from alternate states of mind to new-agey self-help to epigenetic interpretations of the relation between cross-generational abuse and psychosis, but Angell’s NYT book review (The Emperor’ New Drugs: Exploring the Anti-Depressant Myth by Irving Kirsch) is an example to the popularly pursued argument of Big Pharma and the equally popular critique of chemical imbalance theory.

(check out TLP’s response to Angell, also on this topic)
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