Theories are developed in response to the situations in which we find ourselves, the context of our lives. Few of the ideas expressed on these www pages are original. They come from fragmentary and intermittent contact with a number of disciplines - mostly superficial. I have skimmed off ideas which have seemed relevant to the particular context of my life over the years and they have been modified, probably distorted by the filter of my experiences. They seem to hang together - after a fashion!
That experience spans the second world war and the holocaust; apartheid; the rise and fall of socialism and communism; the ascendency of radical economic theory; it extends from the primacy of the collective to the all-dominant rights of the individual; from totalitarianism and a police state to a form of democracy which plays second fiddle to consumerism and corporate interest; from social conflict and riots to stability; from national health systems to marketplace medicine; from pre-antibiotic days to MRI and gene technology; from health as a humanitarian service provided by individuals to a high tech industry where cooperating teams spend billions of other peoples dollars; from behaviourism in education to an understanding of context, human thinking and motivation; from an understanding of human thinking and motivation in business to the ascendancy of behaviourism masked as microeconomic reform. One way or another I have been caught up personally in all of these developments.
These are the contexts which gave rise to the
ideas expressed here. There have been vast paradigm shifts and
seemingly endless paradigm conflicts as one form of dominating all
pervading extremism replaced another. We seem to have teetered on the
brink of anomy experiencing ever increasing dissonance, more closed
minded societies, more sociopathic despots, more extremism and so
more anomy. There are ever greater pressures to grasp at some grand
all encompassing idea with which to organise and stabilise the world
we live in. Each recreates anomy when it is carried to a logical
extreme - a vicious circle, each step leading on to the next. This
has been a cycle of misery, the legacy of the 20th century which
litters the 21st.
The ideas promoted on this web site are built on a synthesis of insights originating in phenomenologist and existentialist philosophy. Kant's understanding of the way we perceive leads to paradigms or frames of understanding. Sarte's description of the relationship between action, the individual and society leads to ideas about identity. Sarte writes of the way we deceive ourselves giving insights into closed minded behaviour and successful sociopathy.
Ideas from philosophy have been built into social theory by sociologists like Berger and Luckman, and psychologists like Frankel and Rokeach. Berger's concepts of the importance of nomos (a stable conceptual world) and the threat of anomy (a world which makes no sense) are the creepy ghosts behind paradigm conflicts and the dissonance they cause. I have adopted Rokeach's ideas about open and closed minded behaviour to understand the way we respond to this dissonance. The promotion of meaning to a pivotal role in understanding the way we behave owes something to O'Malley. A recognition of the importance of language comes from the philosophy of Wittgenstein, influenced further by George Orwell and John Ralston Saul.
I have only touched briefly and superficially on these people's ideas and cannot pretend to a deep knowledge and understanding. I have picked what I could grasp and what seemed relevant to the situations in which I found myself. They are filtered and distorted by the contexts of my life and my limited ability to grasp them. Those familiar with the ideas of these thinkers will recognise the influence. These are 20-30 year old concepts. All of these disciplines have probably grown and developed. Life has been too busy to keep up.
In looking to the future I have grabbed at postmodernist snippets about which I know less - particularly the recognition of the relationship between context and the meanings which develop there. It is meanings which give our lives direction.
I have tried to bring theory to life and give it real meaning by taking it into the actual events, the culture of health care corporations and the views expressed by the people acting in the different contexts for providing health care. Clearly my life lies in one of those contexts and I have not tried to conceal or distance myself from that. I have attempted to give abstractions solid ground by linking them as closely as possible to the contexts they explain. Hopefully this has made them more relevant.