Metaphors of disease: Will foreigners get hot?

Diseases are not only physical, but also social and cultural, so foreigners will not get angry. Understanding the cultural attributes of disease can help medical workers to treat and help patients understand themselves and heal their bodies.

In real life or in literary and artistic works, there may be the following cases. Some people feel unwell and go to the hospital for examination. The doctor says that he is not sick. He does not believe it. The doctor has to prescribe some placebos. This is the scope of psychological research. In this case, the disease detected is not a physical or organic disease, but a psychological one; some people have severe fever, thinking it is a cold, but in fact they have pneumonia At this time, you think you have disease A, but in fact you have disease B. This is the scope of medical research. It is necessary to find the real focus from similar symptoms and give appropriate treatment methods; some people see After some popular science, I know that in Western medicine or Western traditional medicine, there is no concept of the so-called anger in traditional Chinese medicine, and there is no concept of “pulse”, which is the research category of anthropology and sociology. All in all, different knowledge systems have inconsistent understandings of the body and disease.

Therefore, when you go to see a doctor, it is likely that all of the above conditions exist, such as your throat is uncomfortable, you are a little angry, and you feel that you have a fever (your body reflection), and you think you may have a cold (self-recognition of your body reflection). Knowledge and diagnosis), after a few days, I went to the hospital and I told the doctor that I had a sore throat and a fever. It’s because the tonsils are slightly inflamed, not the upper respiratory tract infection (my own perception of the body is different from the doctor’s perception and description of the body, because the discourse system is different), nor is it angry (Western medicine does not have the concept of getting angry) , Just because I stayed up late and worked overtime these days, I smoked too much, I didn’t pay attention to the weather changes, and I wore too many clothes, so I felt like I had a fever. And to continue working overtime, the doctor prescribed some Banlangen and reminded the patient to drink more water (placebo). This is basically an anthropological interpretation of the process of seeing a doctor.

Xi Wen, a great master of the history of science, discussed the introduction of anthropology into science and medicine in “The Application of Sociological and Anthropological Methods to the History of Science and Medicine”. First of all, he pointed out: “Medical anthropologists have long ago Know that people in two cultures do not suffer from the exact same disease. There are many ways to classify all physical abnormalities as diseases, and people in different cultures make different choices.” The classic work on this is Japanese Scholar Kuriyama Shigehisa’s “Body Language: A Comparison of Ancient Greek Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine”, the book consists of three parts and six chapters, comparing two different systems of medicine from different aspects. Pulse and the ancient Greek and Western pulse, analyze people’s perception of the body in different cultures. Xi Wen pointed out that if it is assumed that the experience of illness is the same everywhere, a serious historical error will be made. wrong. In biomedicine, “hot” refers to a body temperature that is higher than normal. But in early Chinese works, “hot” usually does not refer to the body surface temperature measured by the doctor, but refers to the internal heat sensation experienced by the patient and told to the doctor, which is opposite to the cold sensation “cold” in the body. The example of Shigeru Kuriyama shows that in different cultural contexts, the meaning of disease is different; Xi Wen’s example shows that the meaning of disease has also changed in different historical periods in the same cultural context.

Body Language: A Comparison of Ancient Greek Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine

Second, contrary to what the public generally knows, Xi Wen pointed out that not only medicine needs to be learned the day after tomorrow, but patients also learn how to be a patient in the cultural meaning. From a young age, people have learned from their parents and elders what symptoms are sick and what is healthy, who to seek help when they are sick, and how to behave. An extreme example of this is that children in most countries are known to pretend to be sick to seek additional help and benefits, such as skipping classes and eating what they want. Of course, in different countries and cultures, this social norm or common sense is not the same, and even in different regions of the same culture, there are different ways of cognition and diagnosis of diseases. For example, in many places in China, corns are not dermatological-related diseases such as flesh thorns, but a common name for stye (also commonly known as hanging eyelid in some places), which is believed to grow because of seeing things that should not be seen.

These understandings are not exactly the same in different periods of ancient times, especially for a country like China, the understanding of diseases is also facing the acceptance and transformation of traditional medicine to Western medicine. There are far more people who still use steamed eggs to apply corns today than those who use eye drops. In the early years, when mental health was not well understood and valued, many people talked about mental illness and confused mental illness with neurosis. To this day, many people still think that depression is just unhappiness, and they don’t think that It is a disease; on the other hand, young people start to use more diseases to classify themselves, such as early rise syndrome and so on.

Third, in the process of learning to be a patient, seeing a doctor is never the first choice. We will check ourselves first. If we feel a little feverish in the morning, we may eat Banlangen or drink more water. If we still feel unwell, we used to ask our parents or friends. No, I will choose to go to the hospital. In modern Western countries, one may choose to go to a community hospital or individual clinic first, and then go to a specialized institution, which means that there is a hierarchy of health care. In China, in ancient times, fortune-tellers or Nuo gods might be found to exorcise ghosts and disasters, or to seek medical treatment. The same is true for the use of drugs. Today’s scientific norms require drugs to be tested for pathology and drugs, then animal tests, and finally through human and clinical tests and certain procedures before they can be put into production and use, that is, drug use in modern medicine exists. Hierarchical and regular, and untested direct use on the body of a patient is not uncommon in ancient times.

Sivin believes that there is no essential difference between a similar mage ritual and the ritual of making an emergency call today. Whether this belief is true and valid or irrelevant, it means that people believe that the current state is controllable, “Faith can indeed overcome. Real physical disease, because beliefs can cause real physical diseases. The body responds to beliefs and meanings, which is one of the greatest discoveries in medical anthropology.” He further noted that the way a doctor behaves, the language he uses, and the The way the instrument is used will change the patient. Instruments are not only tools for diagnosis and treatment, but also a symbol of a doctor’s knowledge and skills, a symbol that doctors can use but others cannot. They are part of a ritual involving doctors and patients, which we might call a scientific ritual. The ability to use science is admired, and it gives doctors great authority, so that chaos can be brought to order. This is why anthropologists believe that to fully understand modern science we need to analyze its technical and symbolic value.

Therefore, there are three levels of healing. The first level is the self-healing body. The body will always adjust itself to return to a relatively healthy and stable state. What doctors can do is to speed up the recovery of the body, that is, the body’s self-response. The second level, whether modern or traditional, is based on the assumption that biological, physical and chemical changes can affect the human body and help people eventually overcome disease, the technological response; the third level is the body’s response to beliefs and other Symbolic response, some people call meaning response. Sivin concludes that, “A full analysis of therapy includes the body’s ability to heal itself, the effects of the ritual and symbolic environment of therapy, and the value of technical approaches. A trained physician who understands therapy can Three-element physicians may be more effective treatment specialists.”

In fact, the same is true for patients. In modern times, due to the worship of science, the belief in technological response has become an obsession of patients. Today, with the rapid development of science, some patients believe that there are no diseases that doctors cannot cure, and many medical troubles As a result, the tension in the doctor-patient relationship is relatively common around the world, but it takes different forms in different regions due to different cultures and social structures.

Anthropology is sometimes difficult to distinguish from sociology. For example, we all know that syphilis had various names when it was discovered in the early days. For example, after Columbus discovered the New World, he brought syphilis back to Europe, and the battle for Naples When it became a pandemic, it was called Naples disease. Since then, European countries have talked about the change of plum color, and used each other’s names to stigmatize each other, such as Spanish sore, Gaolu disease, Turkish sore, French disease, etc. The Chinese believe that the Portuguese were introduced from Guangdong during the Ming and Qing Dynasties. , so it is called wide sores. In ancient China, gonorrhea and syphilis were often confused and called flower willow disease. On the one hand, the name of this disease shows that its transmission route may be related to sex, and on the other hand, it also adds its sociological color, that is, the disease of seeking flowers and asking willows. In ancient China, tuberculosis was considered a disease of wealth. Xiwen also cited some examples. For example, Alzheimer’s disease and normal aging have undergone a transformation process. In the past 20 years, people have gradually replaced aging or Alzheimer’s with Alzheimer’s disease, even if aging only occurs in the elderly. On the body, Alzheimer’s disease can occur in young adults. And the transition from the stigmatized term of Alzheimer’s to neutral Alzheimer’s also represents how doctors view patients and the disease. According to Sivin, “New diseases and changes in disease names are not based solely on improvements in research. Physicians, like other members of society, respond to the prevailing values ​​of their society. If they do not respond, they It is impossible to cure people who are ill very successfully.” “Nomenclature of diseases is a social phenomenon in which doctors and laypeople influence each other until they reach agreement. In fact, a particular diagnosis sometimes becomes a fad. .”

Back to the title, the disease is not only physical, but also social and cultural, so foreigners will not get angry. Understanding the cultural attributes of disease can help medical workers to treat and help patients understand themselves and heal their bodies.

Responsible editor: Su Qian PT059

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