On doctors

I know many of you will disagree, I too, disagree with this but let us give this fellow a hearing. He writes

Live according to nature; be patient, get rid of the doctors, you will not escape death, but you will only die once, while the doctors make you die daily through your diseased imagination, their lying art, instead of prolonging your days, robs you of all delight in them. I am always asking what real good this art has done for mankind. True, the doctors cure some who would have died, but they kill millions who would have lived. If you are wise you will decline to take part in this lottery when the odds are so great against you, suffer, die or get better but whatever you do, live while you are live.[Rousseau, Emile]

My mechanic kinda agrees with him. He tells me most of us are so weak we get a common cold, we run to the doctors, a small fever, we run to the chemist. We are prolonging our lives by living on pills. No wonder some people die a thousand deaths before their final death.


About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

34 thoughts on “On doctors

  1. choosing the pills is a hope for quick cures, avoiding the pain and experience of it. This is what religion promises but also cannot deliver.

    “I hurt myself today
    To see if I still feel
    I focus on the pain
    The only thing that’s real ”

    In the end, painful experience is still better than fantasy…


  2. Tish Farrell says:

    The problem with doctors is that they’ve helped us forget that the human body has its own healing capacities, and healing isn’t the same as a cure – as myatheistlife also seems to suggest. Cures are what snake oil sellers peddle. I was listening to a BBC radio programme recently – doctors and medical researchers discussing the placebo effect. There was a general agreement that the concept of healing had gone out the window under current medical practice. The disposition of the human mind and spirit is also crucial to recovering from illness. We are indivisible in all our parts, something that conventional medicine has also made us forget.


  3. aguywithoutboxers says:

    For myself, “physician, heal thyself” is the best advice ever rendered. Too often far too many place there hope it what, at best, is a guess and not an exact science. Have a great day, my Nairobi brother. 🙂


  4. The problem here is that Rossue uses ‘dying’ not just for actually dying, but for some metaphorical something he doesn’t bother to explain. It’s easy to describe anything as ‘killing you without you knowing it’, just see how everyone talks about people who are on their phone as ‘zombies’. It’s just a hook though, like comparing anything with the Holocaust.


    • makagutu says:

      I think he uses dying in the same sense you can say a coward dies 1000 deaths before they actually die. He could also mean we have people who but for medicine are walking corpses so to speak


  5. Doctors are human, some decent, others, not so much. I’ve had idiots as doctors who caused more harm than good, but, I’ve had one or two very good, compassionate ones too. Then, of course, there’s Doctor Who, a time traveling chap whose adventures have entertained me for decades. Him I really like. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  6. kathrynsully says:

    I agree with you when people run to doctors for something minor. If we don’t let our bodies battle small illnesses, we won’t develop any immunities.

    However, we should also keep in mind when the quote was published. Back then, doctors were extremely limited in their knowledge and their true capacity to heal. Now, we are able to overcome more dangerous maladies. Modern medicine can be a wonderful thing for those who truly suffer.


  7. john zande says:

    This guy would make the Omnimalevolent Creator smile!


  8. ladysighs says:

    I rather like rising from the dead each time I visit the doctor. 🙂


  9. nannus says:

    In Rousseau’s time, this might have been right. His contemporary Voltaire wrote in one of his philosophical tales: “A figure falls ill and despite the attention and ministrations of the leading medical doctors of Europe, he survived.” Satire, of course, but indeed you might have been better of in those days without the help of a doctor. In the meantime, though, I think medicine has made real progress.


  10. The effectiveness of the medical profession, as well as the public’s trust in it, has improved tremendously since Rousseau’s time (the 18th century). His comments should be seen in that light.


  11. Aquileana says:

    Wow this post is so powerful dear Makagutu: “No wonder some people die a thousand deaths before their final death”… Great statement and Rousseau’s words were accurate indeed… I think his perspective might be a little bit stoic… We struggle against illness and somehow Medicine is a way to prolong our lives… Still, we can add the surgical processes and we might end by believing that we can overcome Deaths and all its ghosts and nightmares. But, as you said, it is a mere illusion… All my best wishes and long Life to you! ~ Aquileana 😀


  12. Sonel says:

    Tish said it all Mak and I also agree. I don’t have any love for doctors and prefer herbal meds and tissue salts. Like Tish said … our bodies are natural healers and most of the times the pills the doctors give are more toxic than anything else. They do have to make money, don’t they?


  13. To put my comment in context, I had one clinical colleague who at the time was a director of public health, and who had previously worked as a GP and doing basic medical work in the Middle East.

    He was a very smooth operator politically, and when he left our organisation, he stated publicly that he thought it was more far valuable to work with sick/dying people who needed care, as when he had worked in Oman or Kuwait or wherever else, instead of messing about with trivia that wasn’t a life or death situation. I paraphrase but you get the idea.

    It’s a very complex issue. Culturally we have been conditioned to respect and revere doctors, ‘doctors know best’ and to not question their judgement. And, as with many professions, some doctors would prefer to keep things that way. It is a living after all.

    Yet, the responsibility for our own health, care and treatment ultimately lies with us. Sometimes we have to go to a doctor merely for the purposes of getting a sick note. If you have a bad cold/flu, you don’t need a doctor to tell you to stay in bed and drink plenty of fluids. When I was signing my patient consent form for my op last year, my medic was hugely entertained that I was quizzing him about side effects, risks, options etc. 99% of people sign without having a clue what they have signed.

    If people were more self-reliant and more informed, then perhaps our medical services wouldn’t be under such pressure and we could focus, as my colleague said, on those who truly need it.

    Medicine isn’t perfect. Doctors are not gods.


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