Saturday, January 31, 2009

Is the categorical imperative really impossible?

The readings on Marxism and enlightenment got me into thinking about mankind, virtues, and morals. What is the inner drive of people that seek power through oppression of others? Are morals and virtues a result of our upbringing or rather the result of a personal argument with ourselves, asking who do I want to be, how do I want to be when in company with others, how do I want to express myself, where is my place in the world and what is my calling? As a big fan of the great German philosopher Immanuel Kant I felt the need to look up the English translation of his famous work, the categorical imperative.

"Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law."

I liked Mani's writings on feminist scholarship in the age of multinational reception. I find similarities between both her and I, as I am also a scholar that has lived in the the US for 5 years, yet doing research on the effects of culture on sexual behavior in my home country. I liked how she described the different reactions to her work depending on where she talked about it. Through that the concept of cultural lenses becomes even more obvious. Interestingly enough, I wondered, how her own lens must look like? I pictured the Indian lens as her major set of "glasses", covered by two different layers, one for the British influence, one for the US. Almost like covers for regular glasses that you can get to protect yourself from the sun. In this picture her glasses had one thick layer, followed by and fully covered by two thinner layers. Then I was wondering, if it wouldn't be better to picture her glasses (lenses) like a circle that is divided in 3 parts, almost like a cake, and depending on which angle you look through them, you shine a different light on things....

Sati - I think the second article by Nandi made a great point by asking the reader to consider looking at some Westernized traditions through the eyes of an Indian. I can see clearly how an incident of sati is taking to a completely different level by Westernized societies in order to make a marginalized country look even more 'out of the norm'. And at the same time not enough people are asking questions about Westernized traditions or mindsets, that, when it comes to lives of people, take even more victims. It's unfortunate and truely sad, that just because you don't know or understand "something", it is always easier to talk it bad first and look down on it, instead of making an attempt to even understand the thoughts behind it. Some people are too occupied with caring about their own selves and making their own little world function, instead of making an effort to make this world grow together and learn from each other.

I have mixed feelings about the CCC Model introduced by Teal and Street. Here are a few things that I am not convinced about yet: as much as I like the idea to train doctors to be more culturally competent...this brings me back to our conversations last Tuesday, about the fact that there are not many doctors any more that love their job so much, that they would invest that much time to get familiar with a patient. Looked at from a different perspective, 5 communication skill sets for four different areas, that is 20 'angles' a doctor has to be familiar with, not even taking into consideration how different people with different cultural backgrounds can be. From a mathematical and realistic standpoint, is it even possible for a doctor, even if he or she wanted to excel in CC, to achieve this CC? Nonetheless do I feel that if a doctor wanted to be the best in what he or she does, that the model might be a good start into the right direction.


Lala said...
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Lala said...

Indeed Steph. I agree with your last statement but what was the doctor's model in the first place and what led him to where he was.
On my own part, I expressed my views and perspectives in a rather radical way on the CCC and related issues. You have raised some critical questions. The allusion about the lenses of Mani was interesting. Maybe she has lost her original eyes as a result of continually using these lenses and trapped in those perspectives continually negotiating with them. I wonder how will each of our views change/ or has changed over time depending on our individual access to cosmologies and the political economy of our scholarship!! It does take some intelligent thinking to locate the identity we want to live (?) while living in the hegemony.

Steph said...

Lala, I guess what I was trying to say when I wrote "being a good doctor" for me simply entails having the health of your patient as your highest good, and with that said, having that as your inspiration for becoming a doctor. I don't consider doctors that go for the big money, excelling or not in what they do, a good doctor, because somewhere on the way they have lost what a doctor's goal should really be.