Our Dangerous Obsession With Health


Wesley Smith has written a fine column at the First Things “On the Square” site. He draws from another terrific article by Yuval Levine at the New Atlantis. Both of these articles tackle a similar issue and is our society’s unhealthy preoccupation with avoiding any kind of suffering and supply our every whim whether it is good for us or not. We used to be a society that was concerned with cultivating virtue or even justice and equality. Today, if is about our desires and the avoidance of discomfort or suffering of any type.

There is nothing wrong with promoting health, but when health becomes the primary purpose of society, it becomes an excuse for immediate gratification and hedonism. In the words of Levin: “Unbalanced and unmoored from other goods, [health] can become a vessel for self-absorption and for decadence. It can cause us to abandon our commitment to our highest principles, and to mortgage the future to avert the present pain.”

Levin and nailed it in my view. We murder our unborn children mostly because they are a terrible inconvenience to us, and then we murder other children in order for many to give birth to the one kind of child we want at the right time. This is not about justice, it is about hedonism.

If you want two very insightful articles on what ails our bioethical sensibilities, read Smith here and Levin here.

Published by

mburatov

Professor of Biochemistry at Spring Arbor University (SAU) in Spring Arbor, MI. Have been at SAU since 1999. Author of The Stem Cell Epistles. Before that I was a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA (1997-1999), and Sussex University, Falmer, UK (1994-1997). I studied Cell and Developmental Biology at UC Irvine (PhD 1994), and Microbiology at UC Davis (MA 1986, BS 1984).