Thursday, September 18, 2008

Health; Faust and Hubert***

What is health?

The World Health Organization defines health as a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. Do you realize how beautiful a concept this is? Leaving aside the limitations of this definition, it is still a remarkable idea, once you think about it.

Being healthy is not just not being sick. Admittedly there is a continuum, usually, and there is no clear cut demarcation. [There is hardly a moment in time when you suddenly feel sick - excepting accidents and the truly sudden onset problems. Even with flu, there is a day when you are well, and another when you are clearly sick, even a time when you feel like you are 'going down with something', but when you are really truly sick, and think back, surely the problem was there before this phase.] So, where was I? Ah, yes, health is not just not being ill. It is somewhat like light and darkness. Surely absence of light makes darkness, and vice versa. But, if it is not dark, it can still be twilight, or the pre-dawn, or the earthen lamp in a distant hut to a hunter lost in deep dark woods, or the gray of fog on chilly mornings in the vales, breaths of ghosts materialized, or the eerie underwater silent haze.... It is light, yes, in a fashion, but it is not Light. It is not the ultimate brightness we can conceive of, not the light which lights up everything around it with a glow indescribable. It is also a little dark, not wholly so; not the full darkness of an underground cavern on moonless cloudy nights. So with health. True health is like that Light, and death, the Darkness. There are umpteen shades of gray in between, but you know when you are dead, and you also know when you are healthy - when you are ALIVE.

Because health is not just one dimensional, not just the perfect functioning of your systems - it has mental, emotional, spiritual and social dimensions as well, and only when all gears in these draw the arc of life in total cohesion that you feel brilliantly, beautifully, alive. That, I would say, is health. An awareness of that state is a bonus, but I am not sure if it is a requirement.

And then again, health is not a state static. It is not like you have reached the 14th floor, and that is it. Health is a state of equilibrium. It is dynamic. Its composition changes, minute by minute. It is not necessary for each part to be at its pinnacle; it is sufficient that a certain threshold is passed and there is optimum functioning of all components. It is the waterfall rushing continuously, it is the clouds grazing the sky. It is everchanging, and never constant, never to be taken for granted.

Think about how healthy you are, today, just now.

Faust and Hubert. A single leaf today to compensate for the large sites covered lately. No game, just one single animation in which a cat chases a mouse, with appropriate sound effects. Artist is David Torendel of Toddlers definitely find it interesting, especially if you add commentary. The site it is on - Fetchfido online games (U.K.) I would not recommend, since I steer away of such cluttered environs with many advertisements and no coherence of purpose other than being a game arcade. It has literally thousands of games, which I have not checked. But I came across this little animation when searching for cat mouse games at a time cats were THE rage around here (we even watched little kitten photos on stock photo sites!). I have been unsuccessful at finding other animations by the same artist, even at his site. Let me know if you have better luck.

The url -

P.S. There is health in relationships as well. But you all know that, with dysfunctional families and parasitic relationships and such other terms in common usage nowadays. If you were to rate any relationship in your life today - where would it fall on the continual scale of health? Not sick, or the positively salubrious?

What else in our life can we measure against this scale? What else will benefit from knowing that there is a continuum, that something better is not merely not being worse?

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