Monday, July 15, 2013


There is a push and a pull in the society that might not have existed a few decades ago. We live in the ease of euphemisms and under the banal shade of blaspheme. Nothing can be said that might harm the fragile psyche of anyone. Heavens forbid! Every word, nuance, implication is seated in the well-endowed virtuous crucible of euphemism. And in the latter we can commit the most heinous acts against humanity and chalk them over to the messages from our DNA. It’s a perfect world of Irresponsibility!

Eupheme: the ancient Greek female spirit of words of good omen, praise, acclaims, shouts of triumph, and applause. 

From the yesteryear of “this is not good” we  have moved to the present day of “its okay.” And not forgetting that any reference afforded to a former employee must never have any negative comments in them. So today’s “He or she is an Okay employee” actually means, “He or she is terrible. Don’t hire this one.” As we go about writing these false love-songs, with the nasty invisible rap mixed into it, we all know the implied meanings. We ignore the euphemisms and make the necessary adjustments. Is this the new order of a conscious mental hypocrisy?

The converse epistemological world to euphemism is the well known “blaspheme.” Ah yes and you know what, if you take a global view of the world today, our actions are more blasphemous and our language is a tad too euphemistic. We do others harm but sugar coat it with the niceties to deflect our intentions. The analogous iron fist in a velvet glove fits the image, perfectly.

At a board room meeting where all the mean and mighty power-grabbing hungry step-on-your-face crowd sat in full clothed civility sipping at their half filled glass of orange juice or cranberry juice, the icy, nice spoken words like “wonderful” and “good” were encased in raw acid, that one had to shield against with a lead-encased covering. These words were always followed with, “we shall see,” or one better, “the built-in triggers will prevent any missteps.” Meaning- we have no idea. But if you pointed out that the emperor had no clothes the wrath of the bitter-sweet professionally denuding deluge came roaring onto you. So you learnt to be careful, cautious, impeccable with euphemisms all the while holding on to the Cheshire Cat smile.

On the flip side amongst my colleagues in medicine, where we are always at the cutting edge of medical revolution, but never make it over, the other shoe has dropped. Some outright blaspheme pervades here. In this context, the feelings are quite the inverse. Here, “I am better than thou” is the prevailing sentiment. No ands, ifs or buts about it. “I am self-serving” and that is it.  Deal with it! 

Refreshing as that might be in this world of the hoity-toity with nothing but a Swiss-cheesy smile of distemper, somewhere in this societal upheaval the humanity train has left the station to whereabouts unknown. The medical world is rapidly transforming itself to the financial world, where a few giants riding the coattails of even fewer quants are constantly quantifying the “IF-THEN” scenarios to line their Armani suits. A recent New York Times article

An unmitigated self-serving derogatory comment against a physician colleague for his or her management, disparages the profession as a whole. It takes the patient out of his or her comfort zone. It makes them think that there are a lot of bad actors out in the universe, that no one is to be trusted and worse yet, creates an environment for the patient to consider frivolous litigation over a fickle conscious or subconscious thought. And all it takes is an unguarded deleterious word or a comment or even a disparaging look from one doctor. As humans, doctors also are wrapped in the “dog-eat-dog” world using sham peer reviews, acting as “experts” against one another in legal cases where facts contradict. Some are perpetually involved in the deceptive tenet of “this is best for you,” while the best it seems is the all mighty dollar sign that gleams in their eyes. And these too are doctors of repute! Some even have the audacity to write consultation letters that are merit less but full of self-fulfilling and self-serving monologue of superiority in medical malpractice civil cases. What gives? Well, for one, it is the old human tradition of climb to the top, step on a face, and then find another face, to gain the power foot-hold, then rinse and repeat. The old sociopath next door is found living large in most intellectual bounds and being a physician is not an exempt society.

This tale of two cities where “the best of times and the worst of times” are joined together on the same stage for the world to see, the dichotomy of thought and action in this schizophrenically motivated culture, is slowly destroying the basic goodness of being a human.

Meanwhile, the world moves on tick by momentary tick, oblivious to the lives and times of mere humans. One only has to see the newspaper headlines, where it clearly shows how this modern society is in love with disasters, train-wrecks, plan-crashes, car-accidents, suicides, homicides, genocides, anything that will invoke a verbal empathic comment on the social media to make themselves look and feel better. It is as if they do not have the capacity for real emotions and that only the worst of the disasters are needed for them to feel “something,” and then to display these emotions through words for others to “see” them in the projected light. This might seem harsh, but I have seen both sides of coin - the real and the fake. It is quite easy to tell them apart.

What do we do about this?

Learn to live again, or as Pink would say, “Learn to Love again.”

Or go back to the age old wisdom from Louis Armstrong in "Its a wonderful World."

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