This post is about the biopsychosocial medical model and how it relates to the treatment of chronic pain. As an anthropologist, I’m particularly interested in the social part of that model - what societal factors contribute to the causes of chronic pain? What societal and contextual factors could be used to help individuals recover from their conditions, and help society recover from the current chronic pain epidemic? To get to that though, I’m going to need to talk about the biological and psychological aspects too, because the three are inextricably connected, despite Descartes assertions about the distinction between the mind and the body. To illustrate this, I’m going to share with you my own experiences. They’re highly subjective of course, and my journey will not be identical to anyone else’s - what has worked for me may not work for you, and I’m certainly no medical professional. But I gift my experiences to you here for you to evaluate for yourself.
As Rama becomes more and more the icon of “virile Hinduism” and the symbol of a new kind of hegemonic, patriarchal, masculinity, so Krishna is held up as the counterpoint: masculine but not man; gendered but fluid; and sexual but not bound by cultural or even biological norms.
Hierarchies persist, which is why factions, such as covens, coalesce in the first place. They emerge from a place of need. A need to counteract isolation, disparate power within disciplines, or the worlds anthropologists inhabit as part of fieldwork, and the worlds that meld and twist as part of the analytical process.
Returning again to the ethnography by Conklin that started my thinking on this issue, the experience of compassionate cannibalism of the Wari spoke to the collective experiences of saying goodbye in a way that is supported culturally and emotionally. This exemplified a place of grief where both individual and collective experience were privileged equally.