Why does modern medicine seek to wage war?

Why is there all this talk of ‘war on cancer,’ or ‘war on diabetes,’ or ‘war on obesity,’ when the only way we can wage war against a disease is by turning our bodies into battlefields?

From the moment that someone becomes ill and turns their disease into an enemy they are turning their body into an enemy and offering themselves as a place of battle. At least that is what is happening for the moment given the warmongering mentality of modern medicine.

It would not matter if it worked but it doesn’t. We have rates of serious and chronic disease at levels never seen before and even higher in children. What must it be like for children to be spoken to in the militaristic terms of modern medicine when they have a serious disease? Terrifying no doubt.

This idea that disease results because your body betrays you and has become an enemy is so counter-intuitive to any concept of healing that it is hard to see how anyone involved in any attempt to heal could have come up with it in the first place. But they did.

I have no doubt the militaristic mindset of modern medicine is sourced in the patriarchal materialist reductionist left-brain driven mentality of modern science which is of course the foundation of modern, or Allopathic medicine, but I also have no doubt that this attitude does more harm than healing.

Why must the body be a battlefield and disease an ‘enemy’ to be destroyed, even if it means the body is destroyed along with it? I realise doctors do not see the destruction of the body as part of their plan but given the destructive capacity of many of the ‘weapons’ they use against disease, that is an outcome which anyone of reason might expect at times.

But why does it have to be war in the first place? Disease and symptoms are language the body uses to express what needs to be expressed and to communicate, in the ‘hope’ that someone will listen and address the causes of this dis-ease.

But that is not how modern medicine sees it. The disease, the symptom must be attacked with full militaristic fervour and with all the whizz-bang mechanistic armaments that can be mustered.

All well and good except Allopathic medicine is now the third biggest killer in the US, and heading for number one spot and the fourth in many of the most medicalised nations.

Is it not time perhaps for the medical military machine to take stock and ask what it is doing so wrong to wreak such death and destruction upon those it seeks to help? Not only do millions die but millions more are injured or hospitalised through iatrogenic – doctor or medical induced – causes.

Most of it is from medication, and only as destructive as it is because the medical militaristic mindset is sourced in materialism and mechanics which demand that the body is treated like a machine or piece of equipment.

But health and disease are not about battlefields and wars and enemies and rebels and terrorists and slaughter and subjugation, so why all the warlike terminology?

Do medical professionals don their uniforms just like soldiers, to fight to the death that which they have defined as enemy? Pretty much. The fact that in this instance it is the body which is defined as enemy seems to escape their notice.

Quote: Medical discourse is replete with the language of war and such phrases as ”the war on cancer,” ”magic bullets,” “silver bullets,” “the therapeutic armamentarium,” “agents of disease,” “the body’s defences,” and “doctor’s orders” are deeply engrained in our medical rhetoric.

The mindset engendered by this discourse of war renders the patient as a battlefield upon which the doctor-combatant defeats the arch-enemy, disease.

The reified disease becomes the object of the physician’s attention, displacing the patient as the interlocutor in the doctor-patient relationship. This shift of attention is exacerbated by contemporary imaging methodologies, and patients, who in Foucault’s clinic became open to the medical gaze, are rendered totally transparent, perhaps virtual.

Diagnostics becomes centred on the putative agent and therapeutics revolves around extirpation and conquest. Arguably, the most important effect of this framing of medicine is the eradication of the patient’s voice from the narrative of illness.

The dialogic construction of the narrative of illness is supplanted by the physician’s case record of his search for the physical seat of disease and the healing effected through the development of meaning falls victim to a militarized discourse. The military metaphors that pervade medicine undermine the ability of physicians and society to deal with the burgeoning burden of chronic illness.

The Military Metaphors of Modern Medicine
Abraham Fuks


About rosross

Editor, writer, poet.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Why does modern medicine seek to wage war?

  1. Sabra Bowers says:

    I agree with your take on modern medicine. It is big business. Yes, I believe it will be number one in the cause of death…honestly, I think it already is.

    • rosross says:

      I did read the other day that it was now number one in the US but I don’t think that is substantiated. The fact is, number three or four is criminal!

      The move toward Integrative medicine is encouraging. We must find ways to reduce the use of chemicals and the knife, although given the power the pharmaceutical industry has over science medicine, and the arrogance, ignorance and egos involved in the medical industry, it is difficult to see it happening quickly.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s