KNOW THY DOCTOR
From a societal existential, functional, and progress contributary perspective, we become what we become and do what we do out of an interplay of various constant and vicissitudinous factors. Listed not in order of significance, the latter may include:
- Planetary geographical location. That in consideration of the impact the diversity of planetary ecologies has on us in our survival endeavours over time and space. For example, people living in tundra regions of the north organize themselves and relate to nature differently from those living in the Equatorial zones. And those living in the desert as well.
- Inherent personal attributes. These form the basis for our ability, or lack of, to make choices towards the attainment of certain pre-determined or chance outcomes. The quality and impact of the outcomes may be understood regarding the individual’s attributes as manifest through, amongst others:
• Overall state of health.
• Cognitive capabilities.
• Stated, or perceived wants and needs: ambition.
• Communication skills at various levels: day-to-day verbal interaction with others; creative expressions through a variety of mediums according to personal proclivities – multimedia, art and design, literature, artistic performance, athleticism.
- The station in life. This determines access to resources necessary for sustainable holistic existence. Access to resources being, in turn, a function of privileges attendant to the hierarchy of social relations giving rise to stations in life, or status: the food chain.
Those in the highest echelons of the food chain, often a minority relative to the general populace, have the greatest access to all kinds of resources across the board. They sustain their positions’ privileges by deliberately limiting the lowly stationed access to, if not total exclusion from access to even the most basic of survival imperatives resources – landed property and derivative productive and mineral resources thereof, health services, education, defence from enemies, and protection from natural or man-made catastrophes.
The above explains historical and contemporary societal inequities the world over, giving rise to classes: privileged upper classes contra subjugated lower classes. Depending on analytical perspectives taken, this societal class stratification can be viewed in terms of wealth or poverty owing to land ownership or land disenfranchisement; the former enabling political domination backed by superior military capabilities.
Brute military and economic might are ever applied to tilt societal inequities in favour of the privileged upper classes, also referred to as the ruling elite. This is consolidated in the land-grabbing phenomenon of imperialism. Colonialism is the settling in of imperialist subjects and agents to secure and further the interests of the imperialist foreign powers.
Short of needing lower classes for labour exploitation as slaves and performers of menial chores, as well as subjecting them to other abuses such as rape of children and adults of both sexes, privileged classes would rather see the former eliminated from the face of the earth: genocide. To justify and defend their dominance and its resultant privileges, the ruling elite develops and propagates manipulatory social control methods through religion and philosophy.
Religion presents ideas of a God that has designated power to the chosen elite. According to the doctrines of God, as in Christianity, those that are oppressed are enduring suffering because of their inherent sins against God. Their salvation lies in serving the elite in the name of God. They shall be rewarded in heaven if God forgives them after death. Unforgiven sinners shall burn in the eternal fire of hell upon their demise. Theories of some racial or ethnic groups being superior over others, that being proof of their enjoying God’s favours, are more often than not rooted in religion.
However, as history shows across the epochs, the oppressed shall at some point rise to claim their freedom and right to live on equal terms with or depose those of the dominant classes on their lands. Also, historical and current civil and international wars across the world are fundamentally about competing forces seeking either to maintain their hegemony one over the other or the oppressed seeking to overturn the status quo.
In their efforts to sustain morale amongst their own and to garner support locally and abroad, the antagonistic forces will each device their unique information strategies: propaganda, PR (Public Relations). This is Communication Skills in action as highlighted in item no. 2 above. It can make or break a cause.
- Fate: luck, misfortune. Things just happen or just don’t happen.
Therefore, anybody can be anything, including a doctor, in the world today. It’s a function of where we are at any one time, and the choices we make as to our personal cognitive abilities. It’s also about how empowered we are from the point of view of access to relevant resources in response to available, or in search of opportunities; and sheer luck. The latter relating to one being at the right place at the right time when opportunities present themselves as if from nowhere.
Doctors in any field of study are only human like everyone else. The only difference is that they’ll have endured long study careers; spanning at least seven years in many cases. In their research endeavours, doctors will read more books and write more texts than few unlearned people can ever fathom. Medical (MDs) and veterinary doctors (DVMs) will have dissected scores of human corpses and animal carcasses during their studies.
In subsequent professional work, doctors will continue to cut and put together bodies in connection with surgical procedures required for the treatment of certain illnesses and injuries. There is a socially constructed mystical aura about doctors arising from their perceived power to act as if they are extensions of God in so far as, in some situations, they can decide whether or not people shall live or die. We are all at the mercy of doctors’ goodwill, thanks to the presence of professional ethics and the law when we require medical attention. A humbling reality.
Doctors command much admiration in society. And, by extension, they are extremely influential as role models and trendsetters. This entails far above-average levels of responsibility, integrity, ethical and moral awareness.
To stay relevant, doctors read and write all the time; constantly honing their intellectual knowledge and professional skills. As such, doctors are fountains, curators, and purveyors of knowledge. Attainment of a professional doctor title (MD, PhD) is no mean achievement. It denotes ownership of superior knowledge in a given field of study.
Regardless of gender, sexual orientation, age, race, religion, colour or creed, a doctor is a doctor when so officially qualified and recognized. The unsolicited address “Doctor So-and-So” is as legitimate and as deserved to Jill, James, Mohamed, Aisha, Wang Yu, or Qaqambile. The world needs more doctors.
On the other hand, doctors do not have a monopoly over knowledge, even in their particular fields of study, or professional work. Hence the imperative of constant reading and research, publications, lectures, public appearances across as many platforms as possible, and collaboration with peers within their and across other disciplines. The human knowledge database and its potential are infinitely vast. Outstripping the walls of all libraries of the world put together, it grows exponentially every day. This is especially true in the 21st Century, the age of Artificial Intelligence (AI).
The unfortunate reality, though, is that human capacity to acquire knowledge, to learn, is only so much. Much as is the capacity to integrate the knowledge, see and explore the interconnectedness of the wider and stupendously diverse planetary knowledge bases. The ability to apply specific knowledge acquired as a foundation for understanding other branches of knowledge is a mark of a sophisticated doctor-title-holder, if not any other individual that has attained higher level academic education, for that matter.
Things get even better and more exciting to the extent that the highly educated individual with the fancy “Dr” title can synthesise new exploratory and explanatory models to contribute not only to the growth of knowledge, but to its curation, as well as conveyance for the universal betterment of society, ever enhancing the overall quality of life for all on earth.
There are holders of multiple PhD degrees the only value of which is in their hanging in golden frames on the wall as if they were acquired solely for decorative purposes in the home or places of work. Bad taste. Useless knowledge acquisition. That to the extent that their owners are lacking in the capacity to apply the knowledge that the degrees symbolize in the development of their immediate and distant world communities.
- Dr McBrain Stalebreadpride, “You know, I am a very much highly educated man. I have more PhDs than all your tribesmen put together.”
Mr Simpleton MacHumblepie, “What does that mean?”
- Dr Stalebreadpride, “I am the cleverest man this country has ever produced. All my degrees are first-class from UK and America, not Russia, by the way.”
Mr MacHumblepie, “Is that it?”
- Dr Stalebreadpride, “Oh, yes, I am the chosen one. Praise God Almighty. Amen!”
Mr MacHumblepie, “O-oooo…, I see. Bless you! You are lucky, heey?”
- Dr Stalebreadpride, “Sure thing. When you’re hot, you’re hot. Come, I buy you beers, you poor peasant. I can buy you and sell you at a loss. Doctors make money, my friend!”
Enhanced quality of life necessarily implies saving human lives ever threatened by disease, crime, wars, and natural or man-made disasters. Thus, fulfilling mankind’s apparent innate aspiration for longevity, if not immortality, and the creation of a paradise on earth. In this paradise on earth, all shall live equitably happily ever after. All shall optimally enjoy the abundance of the bounty of the earth without fear and hindrances from any source. In these conditions, human knowledge base potential can only thrive on and on in an infinite loop of self-perpetuation. This is where the value of doctor level education lies. It differentiates socially intelligent, cultured higher education graduates from the mediocre.
Talking about saving human lives brings to mind the fallibility of doctors. As I have put forth above, doctors are only human just like everyone else. Moreover, doctors are not absolute wells of knowledge. Doctors are not gods. Through active learning of natural and social sciences, they have worked to acquire superior knowledge about what life implies and how it thrives and ceases on planet earth. Comprehension of how life on earth relates to the wider universe and beyond is an important content of the higher learning encapsulated “Dr” title superstardom.
Needless to say, therefore, that, like ordinary mortals, doctors will have the same fears, insecurities, idiosyncrasies, health and wellness issues that we all have in variable degrees of manifestations at various stages of life; also, in different circumstances. Some will be passive, some will be moderate, some will be extreme. Doctors will be as narcissistic, vain, and attention-seeking as everyone else.
Outside of, but can also happen within the protection of the bubble of the intellectual superstar mystic bubble, doctors can be just as shockingly superstitious, paranoid, controversial, irrational, shallow-minded, myopic, vulnerable, manipulative, corrupt, injurious, treacherous, obstinate, and arrogant as everyone else. It is in this category that Doctors of Conspiracy Theories are found.
Doctors of Conspiracy Theories are the most dangerous of conspiracy theories, truth falsification peddlers. That is due to the high regard society affords doctors and other influential, highly educated individuals. They come from all corners of the world. Therefore, in the current Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic debacle with countless denialists and anti-vaxxers* doing the rounds on the internet and other fora, it is of utmost importance to know how to identify and discard factual falsehoods against verifiable scientific information. I address this matter in my newest book, Covid-19 and I: Killing Conspiracy Theories.
February 05, 2021
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FURTHER READING: “List of unproven methods against COVID-19” on Wikipedia.
Order, read, and be inspired by my latest book, Covid-19 and I: Killing Conspiracy Theories.
*JANUARY 21, 2021: BREAKING NEWS – Responding to reports that African and Eastern European immigrants in Norway are sceptical to vaccines; and have the highest rates of Coronavirusdisease (Covid-19) infections in the country, particularly Oslo, the capital city. Video response introducing the book and my thinking behind it: