MICHAEL ATTAS Council of Contributors
Just when we thought the finish line was in sight, grief and anger swelled again. My colleagues in hospitals from far and near are suffering from combat fatigue right now, but still suffer from PTSD which has not been honored since last winter. They are haunted by death and sadness as well as schedules that leave them no time for personal healing, psychological reflection, or their own daily needs. For one, they’re frustrated with talk show hosts and self-proclaimed pundits citing one quack after another on social media.
Meanwhile, body bags are full, mortuaries are full, and life and death procedures and cancer treatments are postponed. Politicians bowing to their grassroots in the name of “personal freedom” is a badge of honor in some circles, while solid science is ignored or ridiculed by politicians and secular “experts” – most recently by the governor of Florida Ron DeSantis, who decried what he called “medical authoritarianism.” Our children are caught in the crossfire of our national dysfunction, and the price to pay for that alone can be a huge price to pay for our selfishness and willful ignorance.
What can we do? What do we hope for? Perhaps more importantly, what kind of America do we want to bequeath to our grandchildren, assuming we have a country that we recognize even then?
I am immensely puzzled by human behavior – the claims we make, the decisions we base those claims on, the actions we ultimately pursue. Almost 40 years ago, I was drawn to a branch of philosophy called “epistemology”. As I got to know the eminent philosopher Robert Baird and his late colleague and friend Stuart Rosenbaum, both at Baylor University, I was drawn to this truly exciting field. Basically, this poses a question: how do we know what we know? It pushes us, probes us, and forces us to step outside of our comfort zones of accepting things just because “well, I just know” or because “so and so says it’s true”. It forces us to examine our beliefs and the true and false assumptions we make.