Wishing for a return to what never was

Amy Tuteur, MD wonders “Is alternative health a form of fundamentalism?” at KevinMD. The example is from a common class of desires based on fantasies about returning to something that never really existed in the first place.

they long for an imagined past that literally never existed. … The desire to return to a “better” lifestyle of the past. The longing for a mythical past that never actual existed. An opposition to modernism (in daily life and in medicine)….

both cancer and heart disease are among the primary causes of death today represents a victory, not a defeat. Diseases of old age can become primary causes of death only when diseases of infancy and childhood are vanquished, and that is precisely what has happened.

Alternative health as a form of fundamentalism also makes sense in that it has an almost religious fervor. It is not about scientific evidence. Indeed, it usually ignores scientific evidence entirely. All the existing scientific evidence shows that all of the myriad claims of alternative health are flat out false. None of it works, absolutely none of it. That’s not surprising when you consider that it never worked in times past; advocates of alternative health merely pretend that it did, without any regard for historical reality.

The same phenomena can be seen in an entirely different venue. The Wally Byam Caravan Club, an Airstream brand RV owner’s club, is now over fifty years old. Some new Airstream owners hear tales of the Capetown to Cairo caravan or the world tour or other adventures and fantasize about what it must have been like. They then join the club and try to force it into their fantasy world. That creates dissonance that tears at the club’s structure and values.

People tend to forget things that are unpleasant. That can be good for comfort but not so good when it comes to making important decisions.

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