Blogpost # 862                  THE MEDICAL EXAM AND THE BODY POLITIC

A very wise man (it must have been one of the infamous,“bi-coastal elite”) long ago, said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” What he meant was that in order to become a fully human person, one must use his innate potential for highly developed thought and raise his existence above that of the mere beasts. Socrates believed (as do we) that human life requires introspection and examination for its greatness and fulfillment. An understanding of the experiences gained in life, enriches man’s engagement with himself and the universe.

On a somewhat, less philosophic, but pragmatic level, Man’s resolve to live a healthy and rewarding, physical life requires regular, periodic examinations by a physician, to ascertain his state of health. Just as an “unexamined life,” is of little qualitative value, the neglect or omission, to remain cognizant as to one’s state of health can portend tragic results.
A valid analogy exists, as to the domestic and international, soundness of a Nation State. Often referred to as the “body politic,” a Nation that neglects to engage in objective retrospection, like that of its human inhabitants, has little hope of growth and improvement, and remains static, historically, irrelevant or, at worst, degenerate.

Inarguably, a salient element of a physician’s medical examination of a patient is his inquiry into, and notation of, the patient’s revelation of his past life history, including such matters as surgical procedures, chronic illness or weakness, previous mental illness, allergies, blood type and blood pressure, previous physical injuries, and the like. Such vital information enables the physician to customize his treatment, and properly customize his prescription of medicine, to the patient’s personally nuanced, medical attributes.

We can remember, from childhood in (our much earlier, described) setting in the poor immigrant milieu of East New York, Brooklyn, overhearing an elderly, toothless, not too savvy, kerchiefed woman, (“Old Sadie”) expounding her principled, general experiences with medical doctors: “I dun tell dem nottink. Ven dey ask me what der problem iss, I say nottink; ven I am paying money to a doctor, let ‘him’ tell ‘me’.”

Such true-life, anecdote, might, analogously, exemplify the ignorance of the misguided, right- wing censors, in our Nation, who would, ignorantly and shortsightedly, eliminate the dark periods of America’s history, from the scholastic curriculum (i.e. like, old Sadie, “say nottink”), of the many decades of black slavery and Jim Crow, dispossession of the first Americans from their ancestral homes in fertile Southeast America, to the windy, unfertile (“more suitable for “injuns”), Oklahoma Territory, the incarceration of innocent Japanese- American families, at the start of World War Two, and FDR’s, cruel insensitively, in turning back to their zealous, and highly, efficient executioners, a ship (The Saint Louis) filled with 931 Jews, adults and young children, in 1939, desperately, fleeing execution, by the psychopathic minions of Adolph Hitler.

We, albeit, nonprofessionals, nevertheless, feel confident to venture the declaration that,  as stated, the most instructive, and, accordingly, the most essential, examination into the health and physical well-being of a medical patient, initially, is the product of his revelation of his past health experience. This data is a vital, personalized introduction, to the particular bodily strengths, vulnerabilities and bodily inclinations of the patient, which revelations serve as an invaluable guide to the personal maintenance of his health, and, when needed, diagnosis and treatment. We are confident in the accuracy of our presumption, that all physicians, called upon to attend to the health of their patients, initially, and mandatorily, obtain their respective, lifetime health histories.

Contextually, a useful and instructive, comparison may be conceived, between the maintenance of the good health of the human body and the proper stewardship and maintenance of a just and successful Nation, or “body politic.” The integrity and success of any Nation, depends, in large part, on the nature and character of its people. A Nation’s self-examination into its history, good and (especially) bad, like the all-important, taking of a patient’s medical history, affords its leaders and citizens the ability to choose, among the empirical possibilities, the proven desirable, moral and effective policies with which to  appropriately, curate and operate a successful, Nation-State.

The right-wing objectors to the salubrious instruction of the entire of America’s history, perhaps, would appear to content themselves with the continued propagation of bizarre, paranoid conspiracy ideations as, purportedly, beneficial to the Nation, rather than the truthful, revelatory and usefully, instructional account, of America’s entire past history.


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Retired from the practice of law'; former Editor in Chief of Law Review; Phi Beta Kappa; Poet. Essayist Literature Student and enthusiast.

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