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The idea of suffering as a' call to the Other' - Assignment Example

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The idea of suffering as a' call to the Other'

That year Eric Cassel published a paper on suffering based on his experience as MD. This work that first appeared in New England Journal of Medicine launched a new direction in discussing suffering in healthcare setting. Lots of representatives of other disciplines used Cassel’s understanding of suffering in their publications to draw attention to the fact that suffering is not related just to physical injury or some disease, but relates to human suffering as well (Cassel, 1991). The core idea of Cassel’s perception of suffering is that the latter is “experienced by persons, not merely by bodies, and has its source in challenges that threaten the intactness of a person as a complex social and psychologic entity” (Cassel, 1982, p. 639). Moreover, the author expresses the view that suffering can include pain, yet is not restricted to it. Importantly, he asserts that to relieve human suffering is the obligation of the medical care. Cassel’s comparisons and studies in the area of pain and human suffering, as well as his thoughts on meaning are compatible with the themes of nursing and medical care explored in history. However, in practice one can find that despite their historic meaning, both medicine and nursing often fail to carry out this important duty within modern healthcare. Instead, they have become over technical and depersonalized. To our exploration of suffering as a Call to the Other, Cassel’s study of the illness and its meaning seems specifically relevant since it can be well applied to the nursing practice. Cassel thinks of personal meaning as a basic and principal dimension of what we know as personhood. To add, Cassel provides explanation of the importance of recognition of personal meaning. In particular, the researcher states that this recognition is crucial in understanding people’s illnesses and sufferings. Finally, Cassel rebukes current medicine for its ignorance of person’s spirit that drives human life, or in other words for its failure to include the transcendent dimension. ORIGINS OF SUFFERING In his study “Medicine and Human Suffering”, Professor Hiram Caton asserts that the origin of suffering within humans is their anxiety of death. He writes, “The fundamental human suffering is knowledge of mortality” (Caton, 1998). However, the vision of origins of suffering is far more complex. Suffering is classified as physical and psychological. For instance, Tudor speaks of physical, psychological suffering, and affliction. Recognizing the existing dichotomy between mind and body, Tudor defines physical suffering as “suffering felt as physical pain” and psychological suffering as “suffering felt as psychological pain” (Tudor, 2001: 23). In relation to psychological suffering, the term of affliction has been successfully developed by Weil. In his interpretation, suffering is perceived as affliction and it involves a combination of psychological distress, pain felt physically, and some social elements. In addition, psychological suffering is also known as ‘sorrow’, which seems to be unable to accurately reflect such states as distress, despair, anguish, shock, etc (Wyschgorod, 1990: 34). Psychological and physical suffering differ not just in the nature of pain that the Other experiences, but in terms of expressibility as well. On the basis of careful observation, Scarry has come to the conclusion that Physical pain does not simply resist language but actively destroys it, bringing ...Show more


Running Head: The Idea of Suffering as a' Call to the Other The Idea of Suffering as a' Call to the Other [Name] [University] INTRODUCTION Every day nurses are involved in witnessing human suffering. In a variety of settings, within people of different ages, and across diseases, suffering is inseparable from being ill…
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The idea of suffering as a call to the Other essay example
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