A guest post
by Julia LeMonde
If you grew up in Australia, you probably have interacted with the biomedical model of healthcare at some point in your life. You might have visited a doctor when you felt sick and were likely given medical solutions in the form of pharmaceutical products or sent for further testing. Biomedicine dominates our lives.
Medical certificates are needed for just about anything, from claiming injury for insurance to having days off work. In short, we live in a medicalised society. That means that the ways in which many of us think about our bodies are in the context of our medical system-it is our default way of thinking. Acceptance of this model of care is largely unconscious because it has become normalized to seek advice from a biomedical doctor/nurse/obstetrician/midwife or any other biomedical specialist.
An important point to note is that the doctor’s role has changed over time. If you grew up in the sixties, a family doctor running their own practice generally treated the whole family and would even make house calls if you were sick. Medical advice was individualized and centred around patient histories and was a two-way discussion between patient and doctor. Importantly, the relationship was confidential, between the doctor and the patient. But things have changed.
Starting around the 1970s biomedicine began to take a keen interest in preventative medicine. More and more vaccines were recommended as a way to prevent childhood infectious diseases. In addition, biomedicine has become corporatised. As a result, doctors have lost their ability to practice autonomously and confidentially, and instead have become employees in a corporate system working within medical centres. Doctors are subjected to corporately defined quotas and targets and doctor/patient consultations are constrained by timeframes. As a result, medical advice is less individualized. Doctors must promote recommended interventions such as vaccines and latest medical advances and are encouraged to utilize diagnostic testing for all target groups. On the topic of vaccines, they are forbidden to discuss doubts about vaccine safety and efficacy. To do so would risk having their licenses to practise revoked. The state intervenes in the doctor/patient relationship so anyone can report doctors if they feel they did not get the appropriate advice.
Gradually under this new system of public health, many of us might have a lightning bolt experience that jolts us out of our long held ingrained beliefs in medical solutions. We might have a personal negative medical experience, or one of our children might be injured at the hands of a doctor we trusted. We might get a life-threatening disease which sends us on a journey of discovery to seek alternative treatment options. Or we might notice the lack of accountability when something does not go to plan when receiving medical attention. And we might start to question things and check out a diversity of studies. And that’s when the trouble starts. I call this process, “phase 1.”
Phase 1: a medical evangelist is born
During this phase people tend to become avid readers of “the other side.” Why do I suggest this is when the trouble starts? Because this “awakening” as many people have called it, is the start of your demedicalisation in a medicalised society. You are in effect deprogramming yourself and feeding your brain with either misinformation or facts (at this point in our society who can say?) which contradicts important things you thought you knew about the world.
At this stage many will embark on a “conversion agenda” where they might try to save the rest of the “herd.” Some want others to stop relying on a medical system to solve all their needs because they now suspect that the current medical system is damaging and dangerous, corrupt even.
Many at this phase become self-righteous and judgmental, cocky even, and start calling the medicalised people “sheeple” to denote that they just follow each other like sheep. Some become convinced that “they” are stupid, complacent, or ignorant, quietly omitting the memory that they too were once in their place. Many embark on an often-futile attempt to “deprogram” or “demedicalise” family and friends in the hope that they too can be saved. It is nothing short of a salvation agenda.
The problem is, not many of us know about psychology and how the human brain works. Forcing someone to think your way can be likened to standing on a street corner and barraging people with your strong religious viewpoints and evidence from ancient texts to convert them to your way of thinking. Forcing someone to believe your beliefs assumes you have the right to break someone else’s world view.
Why does it fail? It fails because people hold on to their beliefs to feel safe. When there is unwillingness to listen, the person is not ready. Using fear and forcing your opinion onto them only reinforces their belief system. Why doesn’t this work? Because that kind of logic assumes that people are rational and logical most of the time. In fact, people are often emotional and illogical and will accept a number of illogical situations, commands, and behaviours because of unconscious bias. They will shield out your “logic” and ignore things that interfere with their belief systems. We all do it as we cannot process everything. We all simply reject information that doesn’t fit our world view….as you did when the signs were always there that biomedicine wasn’t a holy grail. Doctors have been making mistakes for centuries: you just never saw the clues or were yet to experience first-hand what it was like to suffer at the hands of the medical experts you trusted. This is also sad because it is where people often lose their friends and family members because of their behaviour.
We forget the programs we have all been subjected to. Public health programs and campaigns, and all forms of advertising are masters at effecting behavioural change through the use of persuasive techniques. Think of the words used to conjure up the notion of an encroaching apocalypse: medical staff have been rebranded as “front line workers” and the public is called on to prepare for a war against the encroaching enemy virus. They are masters at this. You are a novice.
Phase 2: The keyboard warrior is born
The next move people often make is to join every social media group on alternative thinking that they can find. This is ok on one level if you are seeking new and interesting ways of looking at the medical system and contrasting it with what public health is doing to uphold medical solutions. It is not however doing much to effect change. Why not?
People can turn into keyboard warriors, endlessly liking posts and commenting and passing on links to everyone they know. Bombarding others with facts and figures, and endless links on the internet can rub people up the wrong way. Again, this can take the form of a “conversion agenda.” If only they would click this link and read the facts and the real story, you convince yourself, then they will see the light. If you really are helping others by passing on information that they seek, that is different, you can influence others. But most people are just circulating the same stories that incite fear and anger and resistance to anyone outside of their echo chamber and feeding the frenzy within their new groups. At this stage it is worth considering other options and using a different mindset.
Suggesting a way forward – What can you do?
Firstly, you could try to think in a more friendly way about the situation. Look at others with the love and compassion they deserve and try to understand how scared and frightened they might be right now. There are those who consent and those who don’t consent to coercive measures. You could stop wondering what to do with others and start looking at what you can do with yourself.
You could seek out likeminded people who might be willing to learn to step out of their comfort zone. After all you have been trying so hard to get the “sheeple” to do something they are fearful of, you might as well at this stage be the change you want to see in the world. Rather than getting distracted you could learn about lawful ways of conducting yourself. The vaccine is only an offer. You could educate yourself about the rules of commerce. It is easy to focus on Trump, what’s going on in England, Ireland, or India or looking at more things you can’t control or even getting lost in the idea that a new utopia awaits you. For now, you are in the system and trying to work in the system we have.
Follow through with the processes of standing up for your rights. For instance, politicians are there to answer our questions and they have rights to send letters to officials on your behalf to get answers. Were you denied entry to a venue or place available to everyone else because you had no mask on? Be prepared to find out where you need to go to get information. It might be Fair Trade, the Fair Work Ombudsman, or it might be the Human Rights Commission. A good outcome of this type of research is that you will be empowered with new knowledge.
And another thing-put your sword down sometimes and ask yourself how important it is to go to the local Thai restaurant. Maybe you could learn to make a favourite dish and have some friends over instead. You can’t fight every system at once and fighting is probably the least effective. Know when to hold your position and perhaps reassess all the systems you are involved in.
Be willing to deprogram your own programs that rely on fear-based decision making, through consumerism and all other distractions to keep you busy. You have plenty to keep you occupied right now without worrying about what everyone else is doing and how they should be living their lives. Especially if you are using the same programs the government uses to try and convince people to change!
Practice conducting yourself with dignity, by speaking calmly to all. Learn and know your rights. You are on a journey to learn how to conduct yourself in a therapeutic totalitarian state.
That’s it: get on board and be prepared to shift your perspective sometimes. Let every experience you come across be an opportunity for growth and change within yourself. You’ve made it this far; you’ve got what it takes to be humble and self-reflective and effect some change within society from a fresh approach.
Thanks to Col Bayley, Paula Arvela, Brian Martin, Monica O’Dwyer and Melinda Waterman for useful comments.