Saturday, July 31, 2010

William Varey - Health In, Of and For: The Ethics of Delineating ‘Health’ and ‘Unhealth’ #itc2010

[UPDATED since first posted.]

I was really looking forward to this one, having read the paper in detail beforehand - and the presentation was only marginally related to the paper. Excellent and a little esoteric, even for me.
William Varey, Doctoral Candidate, Institute for Sustainability and Technology Policy, Murdoch University: Health In, Of and For: The Ethics of Delineating ‘Health’ and ‘Unhealth’.

In enacting a desire for human wellbeing different perspectives on health and wellness arise. An integral epistemology highlights distinctions in these perspectives. This allows for appreciation of their respective contributions in the wider discourse of care. This paper examines over 120 historical, contemporary and evolutionary conceptions of health, wellness, illness and disease. Their relationships in scalar levels of health from individuals, to society, in ecologies and for humanity are specifically examined. This leads to a question for discussion: “What are the ethics of determining the health and unhealth in, of and for different structures of consciousness?”

Will Varey, MLM is conducting research into the psychological capacity of human social systems using integral theory and psychological panarchy models. He is a graduate of the John F. Kennedy University Integral Theory Certificate Program and is a doctoral candidate in Murdoch University’s, Faculty of Sustainability, Environmental and Life Sciences.
More to come on this - Will has allowed me to site from the article - which has some cool charts & graphs worthy of sharing, so come back soon.

Quick note - I see some of what he talks about in my work as a personal trainer. I work with the bodies of my clients, in general, but my real work is with their minds, their intentions, their blockages, and their cultural context/beliefs - "unhealth" happens when the I, the We, and the It are fragmented and/or not harmonized - for most people, those three are totally fragmented.

* * * * *

UPDATE: New Information added from original posting . . . .

Let's begin with the phraseology in the title of the article and presentation: health in, health of, and health for - what do these mean:
  • Health in: examines the inherent elements of the philosophy’s own self-definition and the results of an examination to discover if these are present or absent with consistency in all situations of contingency.
  • Health of: discusses the acceptability of the universal implementation of the philosophy and the envisioned reality of the effect of this, if enacted to the extent of the vision of the philosophy.
  • Health for: empathizes with the emotional or emotively felt impacts of the philosophy for those to whom it extends care, being members of its community, and all those it desires to extend care and concern for.
Here is how he unpacks this rather dense set of statements:
In terms of the health in, of and for - these are self-assessments with reference to the philosophy’s own maturity of meanings, and as that philosophical meaning is a private language unique to the philosophy, only the philosophy through its adherents can assess itself. The determining of this meta-health assessment is then a statement ‘by’ a philosophical system, for itself, being a process of coherence in self-reflection. It is an examination for coherency, not for moral relevancy. However, another ethical issue remains. The meta-ethical inquiry proposed in the use of the health in, of and for inquiry is primarily to align the coherence of the health ethic (in definition, condition and objects of extension) by a philosophy for itself. This leaves unanswered the applied ethical conundrum of the delineation of health by one philosophy for another philosophy.
So I am still a bit confused. Maybe this will help - it's an important statement that appears on page 5 of the paper:
This paper is, however, not primarily concerned with the many virtues of the applications of an Integral philosophy to human health, healing or healthcare, or the applications of all the other philosophies of human knowing on health and healing. It is instead concerned with the discovery of a means to discern the health of each health philosophy, in and for itself.
[Emphasis added.] That helps - it also helps to know that the paper was written in 2nd person plural - from "we space" - a community of caring.

OK, then, now let me go back to some of the patterns he identifies in the talk, that are probably in the paper, as well, but not as clearly indicated.
  • Health object - IT - body, mind, culture, city, nation, planet, and so on - anything we see as an object and determine its health or unhealth
  • Health condition - I - illness, sickness, health, disease, and so on - all of the ways we can experience health or unhealth
  • Health definition - WE - physical, psychological, sociological, spiritual - each of the ways we can define types of health
So then we have conceptions of health, which will look more familiar to most people:
  • Bio-psycho health - Socrates gave a great definition
  • Psycho-social health (Kelly, 2006)
  • Enviro-spiritual health (Honari, 1999)
  • Physio-socio-spiritual health (Osho, 2002)
I would also add bio-psycho-social health,which is the currently most used model in mental health. And then one step further, bio-psycho-social-spiritual, which is gaining traction, especially in in-patient treatment facilities such as Sierra Tucson.

Now let's move to some definitions of health:
  • Health as integration in evolution - proximate self integration
  • Health as coherence in expansion - coherence = I, We, It integration
  • Health as orientation in inclusion - orientation = eros/agape dance
  • And then we have orientations in meta-health:
    • Presence of absence
    • Absence of presence
    • Presence of presence (is this health?)
    • Absence of absence
    The next thing he presented was an Architecture of Balance in Grace:
    The application of a three-fold test of the integration, coherency and orientation of a philosophy involves examining the presence or absence of each of the constituent elements identified in the dynamics of their combinations. This generates in this inquiry a basic set of twelve potential discontinuities. From those discontinuities, or absences in partialness, their contributions in wholeness are derived. From this characterization, the components of the meta-ethical considerations of health create a conceptual architecture for the composition of an Integral Meta-Ethic, being an ethic that accords with and holds an Integral ethic in ways consistent with its forms of knowing. The necessary structural elements of that form would then be (expressed firstly as their absences):

    1. Loss of Agape (Phobos)
    2. Loss of Eros (Thanatos)
    3. Non-Association of Beautiful
    4. Non-Association of Good
    5. Non-Association of True
    6. Non-Association of the Beautiful-Good
    7. Non-Association of the Good-True
    8. Non-Association of the Beautiful-True
    9. Non-Integration of the Prior
    10. Non-Anticipation of the Subsequent
    11. Privileging of the Self
    12. Exclusion of the Non-Self

    These meta-ethical qualities relate to the principles of integration within the depth of complexity attained, the inclusion in its span of care held, and the implication of the enactments undertaken. Rather than being features of the Integral philosophy, they are qualities of its enactment, being a test of an applied ethic in terms of an aesthetic. (p. 17-18 of the paper)
    More clarity - these are his three main concerns of contemporary health ethics:
    a). when we know we are ill and are told we are well ~ phenomenological oppression
    b). when someone is told they are ill, when they are in fact well ~ social suppression
    c). when we believe we are well and are in fact ill ~ physical negation
    Important question: What does an Integral ethic of health look like?
    In answering this question, useful distinctions can be made between:

    a) an Integral ethic;
    b) an Integral view of ethics;
    c) the ethics of Integral practice,
    d) the ethical canons of an Integral philosophy.
    If you are, like me, still a little unclear on all of this - here is something I found quite useful, and maybe you will too. This is the appendix to the paper, which he gave us as a handout:

    Appendix: 12 Integral Ethics, Unethics and Expressions of Grace
    This meta-ethical inquiry into the ethic of an integral philosophy examines the presences and absences within the conjunction of the three meta-ethical qualities of integration, coherence and orientation. Each resultant ethic is explained using an ethical slogan as an abstract principle (Ethic), a description of the presence of that in absence (Unethic) and the reversal of this as its presence in an enactment of grace (Grace).

    1. Acceleration without Integration:
    Description: The attempt to embody an attainment without integration of the elements needed for its embodiment, with the effect that an attempted enactment of sufficiency, will create the circumstances for the attraction of deficiency.
    Ethic in Grace: Include and Ascend
    2. Elevation as Resolution:
    Description: The solution to the tension of the elevation of the higher being a fixation on the partialness of the lower, with the effect that although a deficiency is alleviated, the existential question giving rise to its causation will remain forever unanswered.
    Ethic in Grace: Embrace and Allow
    3. Carelessness of Mindfulness:
    Description: To engage in performance in accordance with a commonly held virtue without any prior regard, with the effect conscious intention is misplaced, misconceived or entirely absent, leading to a claim the effects were unforeseeable, because they were unforeseen.
    Ethic in Grace: Intend As
    4. Expression without Communion:
    Description: The privileging of a personal experience held only in private language creating a solitary realization, with the effect of the truth not having a community of validity, being that there is a sense of isolated superiority.
    Ethic in Grace: Walk With
    5. State without Assimilation:
    Description: The attainment of a transcendent experience by the disassociation of the somatic-self with one’s reality, with the effect that there is subsequently a failed individual integration into one’s own embodiment, notwithstanding the validity of the experience had.
    Ethic in Grace: Ground In
    6. Irrealism of Reality:
    Description: The holding of an abstraction of reality derived without grounded participative inquiry, with the effect the truth gained is only confirmable through one’s own self-assertion.
    Ethic in Grace: Engage Through
    7. Assertion without Injunction:
    Description: The attribution of a belief held from a personal experience as being universal, without reference to a range of contexts outside one’s experience, with the effect those not holding that limited belief as a widely held and common truth, are made other.
    Ethic in Grace: Ask to Know
    8. Enactment without Endpoint:
    Description: The exertion in a practice without reference to the desired intention or any guidance given on action, with the effect of perfecting oneself in a delusion of pointlessness.
    Ethic in Grace: Do to Be
    9. Rejection of the Proximate:
    Description: The preclusion in acceptance of prior selves (in self and others) in a denial of the humility of development, with the effect of unwriting the historicity of the integrative self.
    Ethic in Grace: Own as Was
    10. Dismissal of the Ultimate:
    Description: The identification of self with the ultimate attainment in rejection of an intuition of non-completion, with the effect that the present self is seen as being at the end of all paths.
    Ethic in Grace: Be the Unyet
    11. Communion as Solitary Union:
    Description: The seeking of the union of the self with the One, in exclusion of the relation of the self with the All, with the effect of negating collective contributions in extreme solipsism.
    Ethic in Grace: Infiniteness in Compassion
    12. Partialness as Exclusion:
    Description: The structuring of an ethical attainment that denies other ethics, with the effect that even in extension by universalism, the expression of that grace is unattainable for some.
    Ethic in Grace: Respect All Wisdoms
    When I read this, I was like, "This is the handbook to being a good therapist, to being with a clients." Very cool. If I understood little else that Will said, this was enough.

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