Symptom and Disease


The blind cannot lead the blind. The quack cannot treat the sick. The quack is himself sick. More, as a quack offering his treatments, he is, in addition, a criminal. Such, in reality, are the reformers of the West, writes SYED IQBAL ZAHEER.

Like viruses in computer files which get activated as soon as a document is opened, there are several scourges hiding behind today’s electronic screens that get activated as soon as you check in. This is the flip side of the coin called globalization: a plethora of social, psychological, economic and moral diseases unknown to the ‘undeveloped, unsophisticated, and backward’ centuries of the past come in by this route. They appear, through fissures of time, secretly, and, win the hearts with their charm. Secretly too, (with every discounted sale of the electronic screens) they multiply to become visible to the thinkers, philosophers, ideologues, intellectuals and theorists. Initially this class is amused, but, later,is much in sorrow. Their triumphant smile, broader with every multi-million smart gadget sale (a sure sign of progress), gradually turn into a scowl. But scowls will not send the scourge away. Files can be deleted but not scourges.

One of those scourges now identified by a German Doctor, Professor Claudia von Werlhof is, “The Hatred of life.”
We do agree with the conclusion that this ‘hatred of life’ is

“embodied in all of modern civilization’s institutions: in economics as much as in politics, in science as much as in gender relations, and, especially, in modern technology.”

We also find ourselves in agreement with the assessment that,

“In this civilization, true democracy is impossible. We are up against a totalitarian system that does not care for its subjects, that cannot (or no longer can be) be stopped, and that is constantly becoming faster and more efficient in its attempt to end life on this planet.”

Howsoever,we do not, and cannot, agree with the details of the analysis, nor with the half-prudent response-action which has been suggested. (The thesis appears in full in this issue).

Pain is the symptom of a disease. There can be no difficulty in feeling the pain, the extent of it, the effects of it, and so on. But a symptom cannot be taken as a disease. A fever is a sign of something that has gone wrong within the body. Fever is not a disease by itself. If a prescription is written to combat fever, it can only worsen the hidden disease. A lady who had a pain in her toe tried to get rid of it with the help of pain-killers as prescribed by the clever doctors. When the pain reappeared, and this time spread over the whole foot, she followed wise men and woman’s advice to resort to ‘country’ medications. The next thing heard of her was that cancer had spread to her whole leg, which needed to be amputated. At the funeral, the wise men and women turned to abusing the husband for not loving his wife enough.

Similar is the attitude of East and West, the followers and the followed, when dealing with the scourges that take birth deep in their social bodies, and then are spread throughout the lands with the help of bright-screened gadgets, becoming brighter and brighter with more and more graduates coming out of software educational institutes.Not much late in time, these graduates themselves turn out to be victims of the scourges; and the scourges are treated, so to say, with ‘country-medications.’

When the ‘clover-leaf treatments’ fail to work, they declare the resultant social behavior under the influence of the social scourge as the ‘norm,’ and what had been the norm, is treated as abnormal, if not a crime. For example, a decade or two earlier, modesty was the norm in France. Nudity has now become the norm, and, modesty is abnormal. On the beaches of France, it is a crime.

The blind cannot lead the blind. The quack cannot treat the sick. The quack is himself sick. More, as a quack offering his treatments, he is, in addition, a criminal. Such,in reality,are the reformers of the West. Their medication worsens the diseases. Consequently, with scourge following scourge, the situation has now become,in the words of Jeremy Griffith,

“behind every wondrous scientific achievement, sensitive artistic expression and compassionate act lies the shadow of humanity’s darker side—an unspeakable history of greed, hatred, rape, torture, murder and war; a propensity for deeds of shocking violence, depravity, indifference and cruelty.” (Essays and Aphorisms, tr. R.J. Hollingdale, as quoted in:FREEDOM: The End of the Human Condition, Jeremy Griffith, p.33).

The scourges of modern life have piled up. Humanity is sick. The world is tired. Potions are not working.What then is the solution? A common question; and a writer is supposed to be ready with an answer in one line: a solution which can be implemented in, perhaps,little time. Well, asking for solutions in this scenario is not an intelligent idea.

First of all, there are many ideas and solutions already doing their rounds. Quacks are busy; and good results are awaited. Consider the directions given by UNO: Every citizen of the world ought to educate, make aware, and teach every other citizen of the world: ‘about poverty, hunger, well-being, education, gender equality, clean water, clean energy, decent work, infrastructure, inequality, sustainability, responsible consumption, climate action, life in water, life on land, peace and justice,(etc.).’

Fine. High sounding. Holy. And blessed be thou. But in reference to “peace and justice,be thou reminded, that this is the same UNO that created Israel out of thin air, on Palestinian corpses. How many scourges cannot be traced to this ‘mother of scourges? ’What made some of the scourges, formerly local disorders, now universal? Well, it is the fact that the event of criminal creation of Israel in 1948 was celebrated by the rest of the world, (sans the Muslim world). Few believe that this is how Divine justice works. Few believe that there is Divine factor in existence, and very much in action. So, in response, the jubilant keep bringing out newest drugs for newest scourges.

It is the same UNO that holds the proud record of 90 vetoes, killing out any action redressing a single wrong out of the thousands that are perpetrated on daily basis by Israelis in occupied lands. So, who has the temerity, the guts, and the face to take these recommendations forward?

The main point however is, the above recommendations are like the “Independence Day,” “July 4th, “May Day” speeches: as full of aphorisms, as of aimless jaunts, written by secretaries, read out by half-literate state heads.

We have stated above that, in this scenario, nothing will work. Obviously then, the scenario must be changed. The terrorist state, the USA, and its child Israel must be disarmed. The veto power must go. Democracy? Good. Start with the UNO. Order Israel back to the UNO boundaries of 1948. Do that, and majority of scourges disappear. No need for USA to conduct its own and proxy wars for the Zionists. Save the money and free the scourge of homelessness in USA. Let the Americans curtail their deadly Offence industries and allow 50 million Americans living on food stamps make their own meals. There is no need to partition Iraq and Syria for the security of Israel, nor any need to partition Libya for its resources.

We do realize that the growing scourges: the hatred of life and others,are real. In the words of Jeremy Griffith again,

“There is genocide, terrorism, mass displacement of peoples, starvation, runaway diseases, environmental devastation, gross inequality, ‘racial’ and gender oppression, polarized politics, rampant corruption and other crimes, drug abuse, family breakdown, and epidemic levels of obesity, chronic anxiety, depression, unhappiness and loneliness—all of which are being rapidly exacerbated by the exploding world population and exponential rise everywhere in anger, egocentricity and alienation..”

And that,

“Improved forms of management, such as better laws, better politics and better economics—and better self-management, such as new ways of disciplining, suppressing, organising, motivating or even transcending our troubled natures—have all failed to end the march towards ever greater levels of alienation, devastation and unhappiness.” (Ibid p.34)

We do realize, and acknowledge. But must emphasize that moaning is not enough.The “hatred of life” that Claudia speaks of, has many causes. The primary cause is injustice at the grandest and crudest level possible. Acknowledge the causes, and address the primary cause. Treating the symptom, the ‘hatred of life,’ as the disease, is the occupation of the quacks.

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