Let’s look at three ‘identical’ cars, to measure their illness, and their healthiness.
Car #1 is owned by a little old lady from Pasadena She drives it for groceries and to church. She has it serviced regularly by the dealer. Once a year she makes a big trip to visit family. It is a two years old and has 20,000 miles. At present, there are no problems with the car.
Car #2 is owned by a Car Rally competition club. It has been driven in several car rallies by various team members and the team members also use it for training and some local transportation. The team members service the car themselves, at a higher level than recommended by the dealer. If any problems arise they are dealt with quickly to ensure that the car is able to perform at its peak in rally competitions. It is 2 years old and has 20,000 miles. At present, there are no problems with the car.
Car #3 is owned by a wealthy businessman who collects cars. He drives it for fun, only in the summer. It is 2 years old and has 500 miles. It has been serviced regularly by the dealer. While spending the winter in the garage, the fan belt has become a bit loose and when you start the car it makes a screaming noise for about 5 seconds – until the belt warms up and works normally after that. There is also a small blockage in a fuel jet, due to lack of use – that will naturally clear out if the car is driven for a while or if it is driven with a fuel cleaner additive.
Which car is the most ‘sick’?
Clearly, car #3 is the most ‘sick’. It has two ‘illnesses’, one of which requires a minor surgery. The problem is not urgent and the surgery – tightening the fan belt, will completely resolve the problem. The other illness is due to lack of exercise and will be cleared up quickly if the car is exercised. The addition of a stimulant, ‘a drug’, to the fuel supply might help clear up the problem.
The other two cars are not sick.
Which car is healthiest?
Car #3 is also the healthiest. It has the fewest miles of use, and although it has some ‘problems’, they do not affect the overall healthiness of the car.
Which car is the most ‘unhealthy’?
Car #2 has been subjected to the most stressful life and is, in all probability, the least healthy. The fact that the Rally Club has been very diligent in their maintenance of the car does not counter the fact that the car has been used heavily and probably abused to some extent.
Healthiness > Unhealthiness : Illness
Car #3 is clearly the healthiest and at the same time, the sickest of the three cars. It is possible to be ‘healthy’ and ‘ill’ at the same time. This example clearly demonstrates that healthiness and unhealthiness exist independent of illness.
It is more likely that car #2 will suffer illness in the near future, but right now it is simply ‘the least healthy’.
Healthiness is a measure of health. There are specific measures of health – the health of the fuel injection system, the health of the tires the health of the undercarriage, the health of the electrical system – and the sum of all those measures is a measure of overall healthiness. Overall healthiness is difficult to assess, requiring significant detail and diligence.
Unhealthiness is the opposite of healthiness. When we lose ‘unhealthiness’ we gain health. When we lose healthiness, we gain unhealthiness.
Illness is a measure of a specific problem. The noisy fan belt does not indicate an unhealthy cooling system. It does not indicate an unhealthy electrical system. It is simply a noise, a pain, a symptom. Car #3 is the most sickly and also the healthiest.
What about your healthiness? your unhealthiness? your illness?
It is important to study our healthiness separately from our illness. Healthicine is the study of healthiness. Illness is a subset of healthiness, but it is not the ‘opposite’ of healthiness.
Medical establishments (often called ‘health clinics) focus on illness. If you are not ‘sick’, they identify you as ‘healthy’ and cease investigation. They might look for ‘signs and symptoms of sickness’, but do not recognize or measure ‘signs and symptoms of healthiness‘. Their use of the word ‘unhealthy’ tends to focus on your health decisions rather than your health status.
Health Clubs focus on strength. Like the rally car drivers. They mistake strength and agility for healthiness. This can result in excessive stress – leading to unhealthiness. They make no attempt to measure healthiness in any useful way, other than as it relates to strength.
The little old lady from Pasadena outlives them all, with her healthy lifestyle and her healthy car.
Car #3 outlives its owner.
When our establishments learn to study healthiness, and the factors that create and improve healthiness – more thoroughly than we study illness, and the factors that create illness, we will begin to improve our healthiness. Unfortunately, the squeaky wheel – or the squeaky fan belt – gets the attention.
to your health, tracy