— Dr. Nardo at 1 Borring Old Man. «evidenced-based medicine» some evidience…
Danielle Ofri quoted in an article by Meghan O’Rourke in The Atlantic. Doctors Tell All—and It’s Bad
A crop of books by disillusioned physicians reveals a corrosive doctor-patient relationship at the heart of our health-care crisis.
This past week I came to the dawning realization that I’m thinking about Ebola in ways far different from most of the folks I know, and most of my fellow Americans.
My diagnosis: “You People” don’t have enough empathy. I hate when that diagnosis comes up—it’s something of an old chestnut for me—because then I have to try to empathize with people who are thinking differently.
Here are a few links that I’ve used to try to wrap my head around the differences:
Scott Alexander in Slate Star Codex. FIVE CASE STUDIES ON POLITICIZATION
Sam Richards at TEDXPSU. A radical experiment in empathy
Larry Schwartz at Alternet. 8 Mistakes We’re Making About Ebola That We Also Made When AIDS Appeared
Denver Nicks at TIME. America Needs More Crazy Debates Like In Vermont
Well, those are the tabs I have open, and they don’t really fit together too well. But that lack of fit feels significant. Empathy is hard to get right. We’re all so complicated and sensitive in our own ways.
My mental juke box kicked in and Ray Charles singing You Don’t Know Me started playing in my head. The song was on Ray Charles’s 1962 album, Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music. Old as I am, it’s hard to explain how significant this record is. The arrangements sound so dated now. Part of it has to do with Top 40 radio and most people only hearing music at home or on AM radio then. “You Don’t Know Me” was written by Eddy Arnold, who was really famous at the time.
It’s not just that Ray Charles made the songs on this record his own. And to point to the obvious: Ray Charles was a black man, seems pointless, but it is key to understanding how this record played. To hear Ray Charles sing “You Don’t Know Me” in the imaginations of many white Americans meant that his unrequited love was a white woman.
What’s striking is how this song creates a sense of empathy across a chasm that seemed impossible to cross.
Before Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music, Charles might have be best known by little white boys like me was What’d I Say. The 1959 album of same name has a track written by the great Percy Mayfield, Tell Me How Do You Feel. This song accomplishes something like “You Don’t Know Me;” it produces empathy even while showing how impossible it is to really know and understand.
— Stassa Edwards in The New Inquiry. Venerated Members
— Amador Fernández-Savater translated by Stacco Troncoso at Guerrilla Translation! Strength and Power Reimagining Revolution
— Keguro at Gukira. banning kenya
No one living is responsible for creating this system, and no one living is really at fault for being caught in its workings. But there is no deus ex machina that will descend from the heavens and set it right. We will have to reach across this chasm ourselves. White people must join the world in fighting the pernicious ideas that created their category.
Why Ebola Needs a Community Response
Paul Farmer makes the case in this short video, and you can read more, Looking Past Quarantine to Community Health, that empathy guides reason.
On a different issue, Syria, Aron Lund makes the case for empathy too, Let Them Eat Bombs: The Cost of Ignoring Syria’s Humanitarian Crisis.
It is critically important for all the world to focus on halting the Ebola outbreak in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.
A wonderful article by Ed Yong from earlier this year, How malaria defeats our drugs, is really helpful for understanding that disease is a global, not local issue. But the keys for securing global health are sometimes in specific locales.
To abandon empathy, to be “hard nosed,” contrary to the stereotype, will not lead the world towards better outcomes. Our common humanity is a relevant fact, and it is monstrous stupidity to exclude it when trying to figure what to do.
Ever since I can remember, there has been music made by the African diaspora that addressed social, economic and conceptual issues in ways that are funky, radical, surprising and joyous. Some of these are deeply sober and serious while others reorient our minds while we dance.
This approach to effecting social and mental change targets the mind through the body. Once the body surrenders, the mind has little option but to go along. Maybe the UN and other bodies should take a look at this approach? Certainly it’s preferable to brute force…and probably more convincing than most verbal arguments as well."
— David Byrne at his Web site. OCTOBER RADIO: CHANGING HEARTS AND BLOWING MINDS—50 YEARS OF CONSCIOUS R&B
— Jonathan Rowe in 2008 State of the World: Innovations for a Sustainable Economy (Chapter 10-PDF)
- “One of the most radical things you can do is to actually believe women when they talk about their experiences.”— Anita Sarkeesian (Anita Sarkeesian...
- “Inverted totalitarianism does not replicate past totalitarian structures, such as fascism and communism. It is therefore harder to immediately...”