Advertisement Hide. The Old Fears. Pages The New Sense of Crisis. Prophecies of Hope and Despair — The Great Disillusion — Indexers seldom got to it -- occasional mention of 'handicap' might appear; or individual categories such as 'blind' or 'cripples'.
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You could check 'beggar', 'mad', 'mental', 'social welfare', and might turn up some case histories. That is why the present compiler began making annotated bibliographies on disability across Asia, the Middle East and Africa -- being convinced that there was in fact a great deal of knowledge held within the languages, cultures and concepts of these vast, ancient and modern continents, but it would remain mostly hidden unless searched for in accordance with those indigenous cultures and concepts, and a fairly extensive vocabulary of terms now considered 'politically incorrect'.
Looking for SMOD, one would find only a weak echo of some already-forgotten official promise, generated by pressure from some well-meaning European advisor! Mental health may be different.
The modern biomedical system loses ground where frontline practitioners are so busy and immersed in the technology and the screenful of blood results and 'fixing' the fixable parts of the body, that they are unable to listen to the patient. They can hardly get close enough to hear or feel the pain and suffering, the griefs and despair, the hates and envies, fears and worries -- so those remain unheard, unsmelled, unaddressed, untreated, and may drag down the physical body.
Hence according to some of the literature, it is in the sphere of 'mental health' that the Traditional practitioner is more likely to overtake the Modern, because he or she takes more time to listen, and expects to address the undivided body-mind continuum, rather than thinking of mind and body as separate departments. Nevertheless, massive asymmetry remains, and seems non-remediable. The modern system does have a large component of 'mental and psychological' reported trials and scientific tools and reported experience, though the modern mental health workers may be less directive than the traditional.
In terms of pills and potions, the occasional maverick senior psychiatrist may admit that modern psychiatry has little more than a handful of mood changers, pep pills and tranquilisers. The counselling profession may become quite good at listening, and gently nudging people toward doing what they know they should do - while yet displaying the post-modern shyness about actually telling people what to do. Not all of it can be blamed on social pressures; or on civil wars, water shortages, air pollution and micro-nutrient deficiencies; or on spending 9 hours per day on Facebook or Instagram; or whatever the most recent media-induced panic-of-the-week suggests.
Yet it is also widely recognised that the resources of trained therapists, counsellors and purveyors of calming wisdom, whether modern or traditional, fall short of meeting even the surface of current needs in the 'modern' world. Much can be learnt from the study of the several current systems.
Yet one may also try to figure the size of some obstacles, which can be checked by a brief google on the data above. The modern system also has its quota of mistakes and false or deliberately tampered data e. There are systems of review in place to prevent or deter people from making mistakes or deliberate deceptions -- but such systems are far from foolproof, as discussed in the next section and Appendix 4. Some elderly people can remember that length of time, or more, when 'village remedies', herbs or potions using animal fat or common chemicals, were known to be effective for many hurts, scratches, bumps, stings or at least had sufficient 'placebo effects' to be worth trying.
HUME, Appendix 1, below] -- though they had no antibiotics until the s, and no clear basis for antiseptic precautions before the s. In the past 50 years, there has been increasing focus on 'evidence-based medicine', where evidence may be acquired by selecting three or four 'statistically balanced comparable groups' who undergo five or six different regimes e. Complicated trials are seldom easy to control and standardise.
They are often expensive, may take several years to come to credible conclusions, and by the time they are published there will be new competing treatments Y, and Z, making even bolder claims for wider groups. The modern 'evidence-based' researcher normally lives and works amidst a continuous whirlpool of rumour, guesswork, hunches, contradictory evidence, new theories undermining 'well established facts', and unexpected snags, in addition to the fact that most patients cannot afford new 'wonder-drugs', or their insurance company may dictate the limits of their entitlement; or their national health service sets up a committee to evaluate evidence and counter-claims, and decide what the nation will or will not provide.
Yet without the rigorous, sceptical and often lengthy testing and cross-testing sketched above, guesswork is likely to be dominant. There is probably a great deal to be learnt from all the major treatment approaches. It is not obligatory that they should cut one another's throats; but economic competition tends to sharpen mistrust and animosity. The annotations [still only partial in this April version ] intend to focus mainly on matters of disability, deafness, abnormality, mental debility, and healing, appearing in or with a religious, moral or ethical context within Africa, broadly understood.
In some cases the major contents and thrust of listed work may be given a few words only, or are understood to be sufficiently indicated by the title, while the small part pertinent to disability is given more description. No disrespect is intended toward the omitted contents, which are often of great value but are not the immediate present concern.
Of course, all mention of disability or deafness should be seen within its context; and in much African history, the social context and the religious context probably have a large overlap. Within the annotations, square brackets [ ] around a comment usually indicate some kind of alert, i. In some cases, material that could not be obtained and read in time has been included on the basis of its title alone; or because a review in an academic journal indicates its pertinence.
In other cases where the compiler lacked the diligence or intelligence to read a book or published paper three times so as to fathom the author's meaning, he has cited some academic review s to assist his understanding. The number of readers who are going to read difficult material even once, let alone thrice, might diminish sharply in the generation that runs and rewrites its life continuously on Facebook, MyLife, Me-Pix, Instagram, WhatsApp, Snapchat; or who tries to govern world affairs by Tweet Yet even supposedly 'serious' academic reviews in reputable journals -- whether anonymous peer reviews before publication or post-publication reviews by named author -- can be quite misleading.
Students who wish to know more, and those who would prefer not to get trapped into similar games, evasions, mickey-taking or sharp practice, may wish to read that appendix and follow up.
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Others might find it a distraction from the main field. The world's major languages have recorded histories of words and names that have been used, sometimes politely, often thoughtlessly, through six or more thousand years, to talk about impairments and disabilities, such as being blind, or deaf, or unable to walk, or behaving in strange ways. The main words in the title of this bibliography, and the lists of 'keywords', have the potential to annoy somebody, some interest group, some sensitive critics, somewhere in the world. The terms are not intended to irritate anyone; but 'annoyance happens' anyway.
The use of terms changes at different speeds in different places. Some terms may come to be disliked in one place just when people somewhere else are getting to like them. If an article goes online, within a few hours some people in countries might find it on their screen, and some will certainly find words they don't like. People do not need to get annoyed.
There is a choice whether to 'get angry' or to remain calm when viewing words on a screen! The 'keyword' lists : these belong to different periods in the past, and different languages and regions. Also, different parts of speech e. This reflects the confusion of everyday usage and terminology, as do the variant spellings of some terms, the omission of accents and diacriticals, and even the different spellings in American and British English.
The keywords are mainly intended for search engines to digest, not humans. That is why they appear up front. Many of the terms or phrases are no longer used in polite English, French or German in Western countries, but they may be used in some African countries or elsewhere with no offensive meaning. They were used normally in earlier centuries in Europe, without the intention of insulting anyone. They are used in this bibliography where they seem appropriate. In some ways, this bibliography has been simplified to make it more accessible to people in the majority of countries where English is a second or third language.
In other ways it is far from simple, because the responses that we human beings make toward one other are often complicated, ambivalent and ambiguous.
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The religious and philosophical thoughts behind the responses are not easy to discuss in simple language. Every day, tens of thousands more people, who live in countries with restricted access to public libraries or bookshops, are getting a web connection, going online, beginning to surf around millions or billions of websites. If they find something interesting, and continue reading and searching, they will soon come to see that there are many new and old terms they could use in their search.
The big computers operating the search mechanisms simply handle strings of numbers in 'machine codes'. Computers don't get annoyed about words which may sound 'wrong' in one place, while still being good in other places. Social networking sites will increasingly identify and block 'hate-language' that sometimes occurs in 'cyber-bullying'. Some governments already try to exclude discussion of current and historical events that are flashpoints in local community relations or between opposing national political groups; but these are human interventions - the computers don't yet get emotional as they follow the commands to process instructions.
Phrases such as ' disabled people ' and ' people with disabilities ' have both been used in this bibliography.
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Millions of sensitive, intelligent and well-informed people strongly prefer one of these terms, and further millions prefer the other. Several billion are indifferent to both, because they don't use English at all, and live quite satisfactory lives without it. One peace-seeking response might be to use neither term; yet that would merely lead to new terms being invented, to be argued over by further millions.
Another response is to use both terms, and ask everyone to be calm, breathe deeply, exercise patience, enjoy the terms they like, tolerate the terms they don't like. The English language, let loose across the electronic world, has many varieties and is beyond recapture or control. This bibliography is a small tool in a corner of the Internet. Skilful readers are warmly invited to make better tools, in any language of their choice.
Differences of English-language terminology are probably not a source of suffering for the majority of Africans, who do not habitually think in English and are fully occupied with their own affairs. The title. Does 'disability' not cover things like 'deafness' or 'hearing impairment'? Why do 'mental debility' and 'deafness' get in the title, but not 'blindness'? Originally a series of bibliographies, with which the main compiler engaged since , was titled "Social responses to disability Yet some 'deaf' or 'Deaf' people do not consider themselves to have a 'disability' - their claim is that they simply use a different kind of language, i.
The use of capital 'D', i. The situation of people with various kinds of 'Mental Disorders' or 'Mental Debility' is also complicated. It might be divided more clearly and described in several other ways and levels, e. People having such conditions may perceive their situation differently from the ways in which people who are blind or have a physical disability think about their own situation, or are responded to by the general public. Mental debility?
After using 'Disabled or Deaf' in the title of several bibliographies, the compiler finally decided to add 'Mental Debility' to the present one. It's not a term that I like. More often I've used "mental disabilities or disorders" in other work, but in the present title that would be confusing, so I use 'Mental Debility', and will let intelligent readers work it out. Several decades ago, 'mental illness' was not usually grouped together with 'disability'; but that has been changing. People with mental illness or disorders are now more likely to be included within the 'disability' field, in many parts of the world.
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Among the various major religions or philosophies of the world, exercises of the mind and the mental, cognitive or psychological processes may have some preventative value. Some techniques of meditation, originating in Asian Buddhism or Hinduism through two or three thousand years, have recently been used in western therapeutic and psychiatric practice often without reference to any 'religious' content or origins.