The Interrelation of Freedom Arguments and Health-related Issues


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In this essay, different but related arguments such as stoicism and freedom, stoic critique of anger, John Stuart Mill analyzing the idea of liberty, examining the value of individual liberty and the principle of non-interference will be analyzed. We will look at how these different topics are related to individual and how it is related to health-issues such as vaccinations, body ownership, gun control, mental disorders, diet and nutrition, coronary heart disease (CHD).

We will start by first talking about stoicism and what it is. It started in Ancient Greek and it is described as an idealization of incapable of being injured and impaired to strong emotions, and an indifference to death. The stoic prescription if is that we become hopeless, it is because we keep thinking of out problems in a negative way and if we think in a different way, it will change. It is said that reasoning is a disciplined practice and the only individuals who achieved this are people who practice reason. It has been stated that things go wrong when passion rules you, and the body will deteriorate and experience pain but how we respond is still our decisions. Stoicism is an enormously complex and diverse movement in philosophy.

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For example would be an individual being affected by comments of other individuals about their self (she’s not good enough or you’re fat). These are examples of judgement of others and he/she let it affect himself/herself. Individuals let it affect them by being depressed or developing lower self-esteem. Instead of doing something good about it such as ignoring or improving themselves independently, they let it sink to their minds and hence, affecting also their physical body. Another example would be, woman separated from partner who was abusive and cheated on her, she was diagnosed with depression because she says she feels miserable, anxious and pre occupied due to the failure of her relationship with him. Wanting to make it right this time and even though, the partner abused her, she still wants to get back to him as she thinks its her fault. The detachment from her partner she hasn’t mastered yet, that is why it is considered that she is not free yet.

A health – issue that could develop towards the process of having not mastered the art of detaching one’s self from negativity is mental and emotional problems which affects the physical body in long – term run. Sometimes, in affects short-term as other people couldn’t deal with struggles anymore, they commit suicide to end the pain. Mental disorders do exist and it is increasing especially it is easy to access negative feedbacks as time goes by social media usage is increasing. It is easy to type a dis-pleasant comment.

Another argument that is related to freedom and stoicism is the view of Seneca’s critique of paper about anger. It claims about humans being social creatures and work with cooperation with each other. Anger gives rise to excess and we can recognize it in everyday life. The author claims that anger is unnecessary and it does not do us good. This is connected with stoicism in freedom as it stated that having the taste of freedom means having a sense of control of one’s emotions. The elements of freedom consist of the notion of being wronged, disrespected, revenge or intimate, everyday and political realms. Life should be on with non-anger.

For example of a real life situation would be if someone has wronged an individual and this person who was wronged reacts in a inappropriate way such as seeking revenge through verbal or physical abuse. This is viewed to be not freedom as the person could not control his/her anger, which led to more damage. Hence, if a human wants to be effective, he/she has to be well trained and strategic in approaching a situation.

A health-related issue that is associated with anger is future coronary heart disease (CHD). It means in the long-term, anger has a harmful effect in physical health wise. There are evidences that tell us so, one example is Chida’s and Steptoe’s Meta – Analytic Review of prospective evidence. Their conclusion states that CHD is very much so associated with Anger and hostility and are both CHD outcomes both in healthy and CHD population.

Another argument would be John Stuart Mill’s idea of liberty and non-interference. The claim is that it is an ethical judgement and individual liberty means a person has to put it at the center of what is good or right. It is the idea of an individual celebrating his/her distinctive and different individuality. It’s the notion of choosing for ourselves which makes us human, to be able to think and to choose on the basis of our thinking. Mill also wants to emphasize that is the predominant view is wrong, it is the chance for prevailing the truth or alternative scenario and if the new claim might be wrong, but it is interesting to examine to know. It would strengthen and clarify the situation. In terms of comparing of stoicism with Mill’s ideas, John Stuart is an admirer of the stoics but has another ideas of liberty of individuality and it is the notion of “I choose the way I want to live” and that should be respected.

An example of real life situation would be people not taking medicine when they are extremely ill. Some individuals would prefer dying natural with no aided medicinal support and try to heal themselves with their own way. It might not ideal to most people but at the end of the day, it is the individual’s choice if they want to be medically aided or not. Another example would be are tattoos. Not some people would want a tattoo and some employees would discriminate people with such art in the body but Mill’s ideas apply to this, as this is an example celebrating one’s individuality.

In relation to health – issues regarding to liberty and interference, the HPV vaccination is a perfect example of it. Although it is suggested that it is vital for young girls to have it, which helps prevents cervical cancer, some agrees that they should be given a chance to choose for themselves and hopefully, made the right decision. However, some suggest that it should be all girls below 12 years old as it is for their health but Mill’s idea would come in and ask, who are you to say what do I do with my body? The compulsion and non-interference idea, which it is legal to convince or use power for the good of others, implying is against the will of an individual for the protection of others has its point.

Another argument is libertarianism as a framework, which put individual freedom as a pre-eminent value. It is a matter of right and it is the notion of, if an individual loves freedom, he/she hates the states. People are free in a natural world and there’s a world of society that humans are not entirely free. The problems of the natural world, is that, it is bad because of violence. The powerful might walk over to the less unfortunate. However, a society, which is not natured, has protection, that’s all the society idea is for.

For example, there are things that individuals do not like living in a society such as paying expensive taxes and sometimes it is unjustified of the state’s doing. Libertarians claim that these things are not right and we own our own bodies and we make our own decisions. Comparing it with stoicism, it has a similarity of being able to control of oneself if freedom but different in a way which the states are involved besides one’s emotion. Libertarians dislike the idea of paternalism (nanny state) and this means the state do things for the society without asking consent from the citizens of such environment. “How can a person lose the right to his body? By being deprived of the freedom to care for it and to control it as he sees fit”.

An example would be the recent Florida shooting. There is a debate that some think it is better that guns should be banned and some think this is a way of taking away the freedom they have. Wayne LaPierre, the executive vice-president of national rifle association thinks that the alternative should be to use gun better, not banning them. It is the notion of using freedom on important topics such as this. In relevance to health-related issue, using the example of gun posession, there is a trauma that is heavily built to each of the victims of gun shooting and the worst is death. If there violence that is attached to guns, in health wise, it will negatively impact the people who are involved with such situations such as the recent Florida shooting.

Another argument would be the concept of libertarian paternalism and choice architecture. There point is that the meaning of freedom is, it is good to choose. The main point that is implied is people are capable of reasoning but a lot of the time we don’t use our full capabilities to have good reasoning. This is where real implications in some sense that some people have no chance to do good. Humans being self maximize and arguing what we value and we get it. The notion that humans have cognitive bias and blunders, there’s two- brain system which is automatic and reflective. Automatic is the things we do, we just do it without to think. This is human behavior of creating a habit. Reflective is when you stop and think first before doing an action. The libertarian wants to say that everyone should do what they like. The idea of try to influence people’s choices but try to work around it and respect individual’s choices. The concept of designing the context to encourage healthy option, paying attention to small details and encouraging virtues acts. Easy picking to default options, would work and if a person have to choose another, they have to do something active to get it.

For example of a real situation would be in supermarkets. For their marketing tactics, they use the art of visualization. The goods that they want to bough first are at eye level (different customers, different tactics). Chocolates are placed on a kid’s eye level because they know it will attract them. Another nudge example would be is when it is good to provide guidance such as giving a feedback. You get the ideas if you are in the right track. Another one would be reminders. In clinics and hospitals, patients tend to forget due to busy schedules and this might potentially risk other patient’s health or their own. Hence, a simple email, text or call could be a benefit, not only to the patients, but also to the medical staffs.

In relevance to health-related examples, having to give an informative/genuine/honest feedback to someone will be helpful and could increase productivity or happiness. A simple compliment or constructive criticism could be vital to an individual’s growth and self-esteem hence, healthier mental health. Also, plan of errors could affect an individual’s health. It is really vital in he health-care sector as for example making mistakes about medicine is crucial and could cause death to patients so hence, is it important that there is an emergency plan.

Analyzing these few arguments about freedom, it is clear that there are ideas that have their own points and connected to each other. For example, stoicism is concentrated on that human freedom is predicated on the exercise of reason and that emotional disturbance can be avoided or remedied through the disciplined practice of reason. As we saw with the Stoics, John Stuart Mill and the libertarians, a vital point can be placed on the potential of people to freely reason, and choose for themselves. However, it might be observed that people do not always realize this potential and that actual everyday choices are often far from reasoned. This is the starting point for the work of Thaler and Sunstein, which is having individuals, hitting them with a (good) nudge would have to happen that allows every person to create their decisions. However, should let themselves aware of what is a good or bad nudge.

In other ways, these different arguments, is relevant to our health. We will be concerned with the meanings of freedom and how this relates to matters of health, justice and individual wellbeing. It is important to analyze the points and views. Seeing it in a non-biased way, to be able to comprehend what is really freedom. Also, how would it affect an individual’s health, whether in a negative or positive way. For example, in stoic mind, one should be able to control their feelings and do not show emotions that can affect their wellbeing negatively. This is also related to the concept of anger, which is, if not controlled can do harm to individuals. However, being angry is a normal reaction for humans if there are situations that trigger this emotion.

Freedom is always seen as when individuals can do whatever they want and by that, there could be consequences such as abuse, violence and harmful things they can conflict in themselves and other people, primary value, non-dominating, do not always make rational sense, etc. but is that really freedom? Perhaps, studying these kinds of arguments is an eye opener that freedom itself has many different concepts. In conclusion, as discussed, given examples of real-life situations and health-related issues, it is clear that Freedom and philosophies has indeed given a significance of freedom for health and wellbeing.

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