Ok. We already know our health care system is a little out of whack. It can take days/weeks/months/years to get treatment for pretty much anything, that's nothing new. Today I realized something different to all that. As I sit here suffering through a seasonal cold that seems to have resulted in some sort of sinus infection, I find myself trying to find any excuse or alternative I can to avoid going to the clinic. Even worse, I'd like to avoid a visit to the family doctor.
It's not some doctor-phobia that's holding me back; I simply seek to avoid that feeling of being unheard, un-helped, stamped and processed at my own an many other taxpayers' expense. It's not that doctors are all evil or uncaring. It's more about them being overbooked and overworked, or better yet, over-committed...
Of course there's the potential enjoyment of sitting at the clinic for 2-3hrs with the alternative being to wait until Monday morning to call the doctors office and likely be scheduled for an appointment later in the week or possibly even next week. If I decide to wait and see the family physician, that question that comes up "Is this an urgent issue?". I don't know. If I were a doctor I suppose I'd know that but since I'm not do I just hazard a guess? What if I'm wrong?
Then there's the results of the doctors visit. Do I get prescribed some antibiotics? I really don't like taking antibiotics these days, but then I don't like a simple infection turning into a nasty one either. Will the prescription cost me $20 or $80? What are the side-effects?
I suppose I should be thankful that there is a clinic here that's open 4hrs on Sundays... indeed there's many places in the world that only the privileged get to see a doctor for anything. I suppose I should be happy to spend $20-80 on antibiotics that are most likely to cure the infection. I suppose that the emotional costs are worth the return to health that they may initiate. It's easy to complain and we're all so good at it however one thing is unclear to me; What should my expectations be?
At what point does the artist's work become a painting?
How many notes must a musician play before it's music?
How many letters or words must be written to be considered a story or a poem?
When does it all begin?
Before a painter can open her paints, she must first select and build her medium. She must collect and assemble her materials. She must seek some inspiration, envision some picture, at what stage does the art begin to exist?
Before a musician plays a song he must prepare his instrument. He must clear his throat, tune his guitar, or wet his reed. When all is prepared and ready to go, at what point does the song begin?
To write even these lines, though they may hardly be considered art, a concept had to be considered. A mysterious collection of impulses or simply a thought plucked from the constant babble and confusion within my mind reaches to the surface; demanding consideration.
When does the artist's work exist?
A romantic might say that the moment of inspiration, the very nanosecond of insight is the moment of conception. A more pragmatic person might say that the art exists once the brush hits the canvas or the first notes reach our ears. A more extreme, perhaps critical person may even say that the work does not exist as art until the last word is written or the final note becomes inaudible.
What do you consider to be the truth? When does the art begin? At what point do you recognize it for what it is? Where, throughout the process, do we begin to find its meaning?
Now imagine the greatest art on earth. I do not mean the Mona Lisa, a great concerto or the words of Shakespeare. I'm not talking about the pyramids or the leaning tower of Pisa. I'm talking about the art of humanity, of our very existence. At what point in our lives do we exist?
In parallel, some cultures believe that a person begins at the moment the mother first forms the egg or the father produces the sperm that will succeed in fertilizing the egg. Some believe the moment to be when the sperm and the egg meet and cell division occurs (the formation of the zygote). Still, others believe that a person does not come to be until the moment they leave their mother's womb.
What about invitro fertilization?
Invitro fertilization usually involves collecting eggs from the mother or egg donor, collecting sperm from the father or sperm donor and fertilization many of the eggs in a petri dish. A laboratory technician watches the newly formed zygotes and selects the a number of the "best" ones to transfer into the woman's womb. The remaining zygotes are destroyed or frozen for use in future pregnancies.
Inside the womb, any number of these embryos can implant and become an established pregnancy. After a couple of weeks, the womb is checked an in the cases where multiple pregnancies are detected, some may be terminated to match the number the mother desires to carry and some may be terminated to help ensure a healthy pregnancy.
If you or I discovered we were what is known as a "test tube baby", how would this affect us?
Would we wonder why we were allowed to develop into people while our developing and possibly viable brothers and sisters were destroyed around us?
What would it feel like knowing that someone decided our fate long before we had our first conscious thought? Would it be worse knowing that our very own parents may have taken part in selecting us our chance to live and the others to not live?
How would we feel knowing that other potential brothers and sisters might still be alive, frozen in stasis, waiting for the chance that our mother might want another pregnancy?
How thankful I am not to have to face these questions. It's hard enough to wonder, if at some time in my life, my own mother may have aborted some brother or sister I never knew existed and never got the chance to know. Do we really have the right to create these emotional and spiritual questions in the cold confines of a laboratory? How far can we separate ourselves from our nature to facilitate our own selfish hopes and dreams?
What happens to the art of humanity?
I just read an article on the federal initiative to make it easier for our First Nations to secure a mortgage for homes on their Indian band reserve land. According to the article, banks rarely mortgage homes on reserves as legally they have no recourse for compensation should the home owner default on their payments. The land is community owned and laws prevent non-natives from seizing and selling native land.
The unfortunate result of this issue is that it's difficult for the First Nations that wish to become home owners to afford to purchase or build their homes. I believe everyone deserves and has a right to the opportunity of being a home owner=; yet I find it rather confusing and even conflicting that the government must come forth and provide an "insurance fund" to encourage banks to take on these unusual mortgages.
The first thing that seems out of place is the entire notion that you can get a mortgage on a permanent building where the land is not owned by the home owner. It seems illogical that anyone would want to invest in such a situation, unless of course there are some securities in place for the mortgage provider.
Second, if the reserve is intended to be a self-governed community for First Nations people where the land is owned by the band, would it not make sense that band government would need to address this issue themselves? I don't know the finer details of all this, I'm no lawyer or politician, but it seems that if mortgages are desired , then the band should take steps to make a mortgage attractive to mortgage providers? Sun Rivers seems to indicate that there is a way to achieve this result by way of long-term land leasing.
My third entry here is more of a question than a point. What exactly is the difference between being a member of a self-governed people within Canada and a "regular" Canadian citizen?
If it were a country-to-country comparison, let's pretend Australia doesn't have a certain "big box store" due to some laws that prevent this store from being able to insure their stores in Australia. Citizens of Australia really want the big box store but don't want to change their insurance laws, so hey appeal to the government where the head of the big box store is located and ask the foreign government to provide the insurance for them. Well... it doesn't make a lot of sense for the foreign government to provide insurance for a corporation to risk expanding into the Australian market. Sure they may tax the profits, but is it worth the risk? What does make sense to me is that if Australia wants the big box store, then they take the steps necessary to make it happen.
That may not be the most clear or concise analogy I've used, but as I said, I don't know much about the deeper situation. It is clear that we need to work in cooperation with our First Nations in finding ways to assist each other to have lives that are rich and healthy with equal opportunities and responsibilities -- even if they should be lived out differently.
There are a lot of things that we can contribute to one another, but there really needs to be a symbiosis and an understanding that to live life differently than your neighbor does mean you'll have different roles, challenges and responsibilities than they do. If they have something in their lives that we want, it's not up to them to find a way for us to get it...
Some days it's like we're automatons, cruising through our lives on autopilot occasionally experiencing a few moments of consciousness. I doubt it matters much what you do for a living: web geek, rock star, business czar, steroid laden athlete, contributor to justice, blue collar worker, homemaker or what have you. The point is, with this great gift of free will and the knowledge of self, somehow we manage to organize ourselves into oblivion.
Today I find myself breaking from my normal daily routine of sitting in front of this screen doing an assortment of computer related tasks. If I were in a better mood I wouldn't describe them as mundane, but today mundane seems apt. Today I head out into the scary world to meet with clients, council with council, and generally create a few tons of CO2. If things go well, perhaps I'll sell off a bundle tickets to my next show at On The Rocks Pub. It's all good.
The point to my rambling is that I think we're all insane. According to some recent study, 1/4 British Columbians have an anxiety disorder. Looks like I've been stick-pinned and labeled yet again but at least this time I have a lot of company. Insanity can be defined as "relatively permanent disorder of the mind"; if that's not vague enough, try this one "A degree of mental illness that negates criminal culpability." Well I have no intentions of doing anything criminal, save perhaps a few kilometres above or below the posted speed limit. What I find insane, however, is that as I look around at all the people I know, doesn't that first description apply to pretty much all of us?
We've all got something that makes ourselves and others nutty, and in the end aren't that all tied into our minds? We eat too much because we seek comfort. We drink too much because we think our pain might go away. We rock out with loud music to avoid hearing our own thoughts. We watch television in hopes that we'll get sucked into someone else's reality and leave our pathetic existence behind. Yes, I realize I'm exaggerating a little here, but it's not far from the truth.
As I prepare to head out, I am wondering, who's NOT insane? Which of the faces we encounter throughout our day has their shirt on straight? Are we all just a bunch of nutty astronauts that all seem normal primarily out of circumstance? Or is sanity just a state of oblivion to our own insanity?
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