- 医学哲学 医学倫理 (ISSN:02896427)
- vol.19, pp.166-178, 2001-10-20 (Released:2018-02-01)
We usually take it for granted that an event that some people fall ill has no connection with another event that the others can keep healthy, because we generally judge the matter from an atomistic or individualistic daily life standpoint. Many people believe that the main cause of illness is their bad lifestyle such as drinking, smoking or working too much so that the sick only have themselves to blame. This popular idea is called "victim-blaming ideology." However, from a macroscopic mass standpoint, we can find that healthy people are dependent upon the sick. That is, for people to be healthy there must be people who are sick instead of the healthy. This paper is an introduction to this paradoxical idea. First, I reconsidered the social function of the medical diagnosis of an illness and found it is to divide all the members of a society into two groups : one that is ill and the other that is not (that is., healthy). This means that the healthy cannot be healthy without the sick unfortunately being sick instead. This substitution is a kind of altruism. "Ri-tagyo", a Buddhist encouragement of altruism also supports this idea. Secondly, some epidemiological statistics also support this altruistic relationship. Finally, we concluded that sick people are neither useless nor a nuisance, but they play a great role in society because of their being-ill altruism. Healthy people, therefore, must show extreme kindness to those who are sick. This act of kindness may be an ethical origin of clinical medicine.