One of the things I’ve been reflecting on with this social crisis has been the message of “We’re all in this together”. On the surface it sounds really good. It feels coherent with Canadian values of respect, caring and goodness. And it impresses upon each one of us that by adhering to the rules of social distancing we will be preventing the spread of Covid-19, flattening the curve and saving lives in the end.
Underlying this motto of “we’re all in this together” is a shared responsibility for one another; I am responsible for your health and you are responsible for mine.
One could say that this works to our collective advantage. I am suggesting that if we are to do whatever we can to stay safe and save lives, then we must also look at how to STAY HEALTHY. Does this make sense to you or have you not considered that staying healthy should be part of “we are all in this together”?
In his book “Skin in the Game”, Nassim Nicholas Taleb maintains that there needs to be symmetry in human affairs including fairness, justice, responsibility and reciprocity. To acknowledge that everyone has skin in the game is to say that each one of us must take responsibility for our health.
Leaving it to just public officials is like washing our hands of our own responsibility. We can’t just leave it to public health officials to take it for us. The risk of doing so is more than we can afford. Loss of autonomy, quality of life and general disempowerment comes with leaving our health solely in the hands of the public health system. Like in any partnership, both parties are responsible. We are responsible for doing the best we can to keep ourselves healthy and the reciprocity of skin in the game also means that media, government and public health officials should be held to account for their actions and decision making.
If we are truly “all in this together”, then this is not just a catch phrase that makes people behave in one specific way. If we are all in this together, then fairness, symmetry, and responsibility will be present.
What about homelessness, poverty, access to healthy food and clean water, environmental abuse and discrimination? And not just in our country. Internationally war, famine, child soldiers, sex trafficking and slavery? If we are all truly in this together, places where you can buy crap food should be forced to close. Type 2 Diabetes kills over 2.2 million people per year and is mostly preventable through diet and exercise. Over 18 million people die each year of cardiovascular disease, again, most of which is lifestyle dependent.
If the statistics don’t scare you like the media did with the pandemic numbers, why is that? We all know that smoking excessively is bad for us. We all know that drinking alcohol excessively is bad for us. We all know that McDonalds and Dairy Queen are bad for us. So why during this period of isolation have liquor stores been allowed to stay open? McDonalds and Dairy Queen? Actually, why are they ever allowed to be open?
You might say that these are institutions and you won’t get people to change their behaviour overnight. And yet this recent shutdown is evidence to the contrary.
“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” ~ Krishnamurti
What initially attracted me to chiropractic was the possibility of offering care which was a partnership. A partnership that allowed each patient to take responsibility for their own health and I as a practitioner was there to support them. It was about helping patients find their connection to self and to find their connection to their body and to feel empowered by having that connection; where people felt confident in making choices for themselves and their health. And I still believe that this is possible and more important now than ever.
Now is the time to rethink, revisit, develop new perspectives and to create new possibilities for ourselves. The way forward must include every person taking personal responsibility and becoming coherent. Dr Joe and I are here to help.