I spent a good deal of time this weekend wrestling with the modern medicine machine. I have a weird condition where every once in awhile, maybe once a year or so, my bladder gets irritated and becomes painful. The pain is very manageable for an hour or so - it's not that intense, sometimes closer to discomfort than pain. The maddening part is that the pain is constant and can go on for 2-5 days. Whenever this happens, it's an agonizing couple of days. I'm scared, frustrated, worried and in pain. Yuck.
So why am I telling you about my medical history? Well, as always, to make a point about the creator crisis.
This weekend I saw two doctors, four or five nurses, and two pharmacists. I spent most of my weekend in and out of medical facilities and I was left with a few questions:
- Why don't we have an ethical and efficient way to track narcotic prescriptions?
- Why can't we create a system that prevents abuse of these drugs while still providing them to the people that need them?
- Why can't my doctor push a button and be able to see that I've had maybe five narcotic prescriptions in my entire life?
- Why can't I ask for pain relief when I need it without feeling like a drug dealer?
- Why can't the ER give you a rough estimate of when you'll be seen by the doctor? Waiting is so much easier when you have a count down clock, even if that clock reads "you will be seen in four hours and twenty minutes".
- Why is talking to a doctor such a dis-empowering experience?
- Why are waiting rooms and doctor's offices always ugly and uncomfortable, filled with trashy magazines and an annoying television?
Modern medicine is one of the great creative accomplishments of human beings. We've alleviated so much suffering in the world and given the average human being decades more time to spend on this planet. I'ts amazing.
And yet, there's still so much more to do. Despite all of our technology, the average interaction with medicine is still expensive, frustrating, and dehumanizing. When we have so much work to do even in just this one system, how can we possibly think that unemployment is about a lack of jobs?
A lack of jobs? Really? In a world that still runs on fossil fuels, a world with the medical system we've just discussed, in a world where some people - many people - still don't have clean water to drink, in this world, our biggest problem is that there aren't enough jobs?
We've got enough work to keep us busy for generations. The question is, do we have people motivated to do that work?
Or do we instead have millions of people waiting for a job where they'll get rich by doing what they're told? If that's what we mean by 'jobs', then yes, we're absolutely right, there aren't enough jobs. Those jobs are mostly gone.
I say let's celebrate. Let's celebrate the death of a world where most people do what they're told for a living. Let's celebrate this new world, where there is no end to the work to be done, where we can do whatever kind of work we want. Every human being has the capacity to innovate, to create, to connect with other human beings. We are amazing creatures and the factory was never good enough for us anyway, so let's celebrate this new world.
Let's celebrate and then get to work.