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Mukesh Adenwala

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For such debilitating illnesses what form of society would be better: traditional, poor and rural or advanced and progressive?

I cryptically describe two scenarios:

Scenario one: The society is traditional, even ritualistic. There are not much visible signs of progress and no large modern monuments. These are villages as well as the slums of every big city in the world. There are insufficient drugs cures, knowledge, and the means to address those insufficiencies. And yet, empathy for the diseased and the disadvantaged are available in good measure. In late 1950s as a young kid I lived in a such society where physically and mentally diseased or deformed people were organic part of the society. We as kids were allowed to make some fun of such people but society saw to it that they came to no harm. Such people had as much, if not more, right for empathy and warmth as any one else in the society and were integral part of the society.

Scenario two: Modern societies where education, research and resources have produced serious insights in the nature of such diseases and have developed cure for some of them.
This is today’s urban society, able and progressive. And yet, today’s society attaches stigma to the aberrations and the deformities. People with such illnesses, most of who would not be as determined, as gifted or as lucky as Ms. Saks, generally die silently without empathy or love. They are never allowed to become organic part of the society; they never end up belonging.

Question is: Which would be better social arrangement and why?

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  • Jun 29 2012: poor leaves no treatment options

    traditional, aka conservative, would look for an exorcist, shun you, or try to pray the illness away

    Progressive society would accept you for your illness and have therapies based on a desire to progress and advance.

    I think the answer is clear,
    • Jun 29 2012: There is a lack of acceptance in both worlds, actually. I, having come from a rural family but having lived in cities most of my life, have seen little difference in the degree of acceptance from both groups. The largest divergence is, rather, in the way the stigma is communicated.
      My rural relatives have always been very accepting, despite lacking understanding of my condition, but there is also the tendency to hide family members who are disabled (particularly in the case of mental disability) as though they are something shameful.
      I have also been party to conversation after conversation degrading people with mental illnesses by educated, "enlightened" ubanites. Some of my university classmates see the mentally ill as lesser human beings.
      It's not so easily cut and dried.

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