A small, but select, number of individuals in our society can be seen to be suffering from the mysterious problem of “Scientifically Unfounded Attitudes“.
This is a significant issue for society as a whole since those afflicted tend to hold high status, influential positions in the academic, state and corporate medical community, and have been complicit in cobbling together a rag bag of ideas (under the guise of a theory) which has had profoundly negative effects on many people’s lives, economically, socially and personally.
This is also true of its effects on taxpayers money, a great deal of which has been wasted on spurious processes whose only objective, it seems, is to channel vast amounts of money into the pockets of private companies.
So how has this situation arisen?
A biopsychosocial model is very helpful in the analysis of these individuals:
First it is necessary to address the ‘bio-medical’ element (in order to get it out of the way, which is the usual concern of these adherents).
Exhaustive medical data is not available for this group, but considering their fairly advanced average age, and the fact that they are still furiously active, and able to travel extensively around the world touting their ‘theories’ suggests that they belong to a privileged sector of the health spectrum.
That is, they are those in whom illness is relatively absent.
This is confirmed visibly by the absence of any ‘aids’ in their conduct of work.
It can be reasonably assumed, then, that they have been in the main favoured with good health.
Further, and here we introduce a social aspect into the analysis, a singular feature which connects all these individuals is their tenancy of high profile positions within state, academic or corporate agencies.
Occupying, as they do, the top strata of the employment scale, which attracts to it a slew of benefits extra to the significantly high salaries these positions command, they are comfortably placed should they ever find the spectre of ill-health casting a shadow across their lives.
This ‘social’ lens, then helps to explain how their distorted perspective on illness may have been reinforced by their privileged social location. The protection of affluence provides an impenetrable buffer against physical or mental affliction.
And it is the second of these, the mental, which perhaps offers the greatest insight into the behaviour and attitudes of this group.
The psychological element of this model is able to highlight the source of shared distortions in beliefs that manifest within this sector of the population. Significantly this group place an excessive value upon psychological explanations of illness.
Perhaps this is an instinctive acknowledgement of the fact that they, themselves, suffer from psychologically deluded ideas about the sources of illness (for reasons not unconnected to their own bio and social circumstances).
Many of them, some explicitly, some tacitly, derive their understanding of illness from what is termed ‘positive’ psychology (or the rather more respectable ‘cognitive behavioural’ theory).
The ideas underpinning this minority field of the discipline is that it is not the circumstances of people’s lives which determine the outcomes for them but their ‘attitude of mind‘.
More rational people consider this ‘wishful thinking’, or when applied to the dire circumstances of some people’s lives by an outside agent, abuse.
Other psychological dysfunctions are also visible among this group, particularly that of the persecution complex which is evidenced in ‘knee-jerk’ responses to any legitimate criticism that those actually suffering from illness have the temerity to raise.
This has been a brief analysis of this afflicted group, but it has also been a demonstration of just how widely it is possible to apply the BPS model.
I believe it has been put to a far more realistic use here than it has by the group in question, who stretch one or two ideas to breaking point in their attempt to legitimise their theories, with their notably unbalanced emphasis on the (out-dated) psychological at the expense of those accompanying elements of the model.
Interestingly, this analysis too has found more significance of the ‘psycho‘ aspect in revealing underlying attitudes and distorted beliefs surrounding an issue.
Perhaps that ultimately is this model’s failing, in that under the aegis of a purported ‘scientific’ paradigm it is able to provide a platform for the legitimisation of any, or all, biased attitudes.
Hopefully this small exercise will have enlightened people as to the uses to which the BPS model can be put.
Anyone who wishes to give an apparent scientific gloss to their biased propositions need only to remember to quickly dispense with the ‘bio’ and the ‘social’ and focus excessively on the ‘psycho’ where, given its controversial history, psychology is certain to furnish them with something with which to underpin their claims.