Sunday, January 25, 2004

It seems yet again I will start talking about my Cross Cultural Mental Health Class, for which I was assigned the Kleinman book and the Fadiman book was in the bookstore for this class, we just have too many good books in there.

In Karl Menniger's more recent formulation: "Illness is in part what the world has done to a victim, but in a larger part it is what a victim has done with his world and with himself..." Such preposterous and dangerous views manage to put the onus of the illness on the patient and not only weaken the patient's ability to understand the range of plausible medical treatment, but also implicitly direct the patient from such treatment..."

From Illness as Metaphor and AIDS and Its Metaphors by Susan Songtag

This is a useful quote, because it notes how the blame the victim formulation doesn't lead to a cure. I think that this is true in all forms of life- I know that my life has never been made better by people saying I'm a bad person, but it has been made better by people trying to help in a practical respectful manner. For example, people are always jawing off about how the poor are just lazy, but if we all got off our asses and did just 30 minutes a week worth of work, the lives of the poor would be way better. Hey, it's about the same amount of time they spend jawing about stuff.

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