Your post brought to mind experiences Polly and I had when our children were
born, and brought up an interesting parallel between the midwife/medical
establishment axis and the organic farmer/conventional ag axis.
> I've recently had a major "revelation" that I feel reflects
> what we are seeing in agriculture. I have a bachelors degree
> in nursing, and worked for 6 years on a labor & delivery unit...
> ...I had heard all sorts of horror stories about lay-midwives...
> I recently had a conversation with a young couple that had
> their first baby at home, delivered by a lay-midwife,....
> ....I find her to be an extremely intelligent person...
> I just had never thought about health care in those terms
> because I was a part of that "industrialized" system.
Could it be that many of our revelations and feelings about the legitimacy
of competing groups result from social factors? I'll bet you would agree
that there are elements of truth in both systems. How you feel about them
probably depends on who you rub shoulders with at the moment.
We have four children. The first two required medical intervention in the
conventional sense. I have no doubt that in the first one, our baby, or
both baby and mother would have died without surgery. The last two... well
we barely got to the hospital on time, and the obstetrician was totally
superfluous. This wasn't a matter of "paradigms" but of biology.
> (After all, just how "natural" is the traditional birthing
> position used in hospitals? The only position worse than
> having a woman's legs up in stirrups would be to hang her
> by her toes from the ceiling.)
When the biology is working right, those management details don't matter
much. And in agriculture, nothing we do (including all the pesticides and
tillage) holds a candle to the miraculous biology going on. You may
consider certain practices unnatural, but they are not central. And, what
one considers "natural" is rather socially determined (I won't belabor this
point, but I could elaborate endlessly).
Ann is fond of referring to the differing management styles as "paradigms"
and sharply delimiting conventional and sustainable practitioners. I don't
believe this is born out in actual agricultural practice. Such partisanship
is an extremely natural thing for people to do, particularly in the academic
community. But I feel like it is unfortunate.
> I guess that my 2 years away from the "conventional" health
> care system gave my mind a chance to open up.
I think our challenge as individuals is to not be overly influenced by our
social context, to avoid seeing everything through the lense of group
identity, to take everything with a grain of salt. I think we need to be
tuned in to the biology. And that is where ag education should focus.
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