Reflection on health and medicine
Seneca, in the first century B.C., recalled the importance of health in his Letters to Lucilius, as a value superior to any wealth or glory.
In the same sense, in the 19th century, Arthur Schopenhauer in Aphorisms on Wisdom in Life in 1886 explained“Perfect health is an advantage that no rank, no wealth can replace. “
Georges Canguilhem in The Normal and the Pathological in 1966 give a new definition of health:”health is the possibility of exceeding the norm that defines the momentary normal, the possibility of tolerating infringements to the usual norm.” Being healthy is therefore being able to be sick, being able to overcome infringements to the norm of health.“To be healthy is to be able to get sick and get well, it is a biological luxury.”
History of major epidemics:
1337–1375: Great Plague that affected Europe and Asia and killed 75 million people
1720: Plague in Marseille, the last appearance of the plague in France
1896–1917: Great Plague in India
1914–1915: Typhus epidemic in Russia and Poland
1918: The Spanish flu in the context of the world war ravages Europe
1982: First cases of AIDS identified
To go further
Albert Camus’ famous book, The Plague, presents an interesting reflection on epidemics and the consequences of the measures adopted. It is also about understanding the different reactions of human beings to plagues such as the plague. Finally, the work must, of course, be studied by analogy with the “brown plague” of 20th century extremism.
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