Saturday, April 20, 2024
Speak Your MindBeyond symptoms

Beyond symptoms

Through symptoms, we gain insight into our illnesses. However, this does not mean that diseases can be treated by solely addressing symptoms. Symptoms serve as indicators, like the dashboard of a vehicle.

Imagine when your car’s dashboard signals that you need fuel – manipulating it to turn off the red light will not prevent the car from running empty. Or when maintenance is due, disabling the alert does not eliminate the need for service. While you may continue driving despite knowing service is overdue, hiding behind obscuring the reminder, eventually, you risk forgetting maintenance is needed as distraction replaces responsibility. But this approach does not prevent wear and tear from leading to breakdowns down the road. Here, the symptom is addressed, not the underlying problem.

All too often, we adopt a selective approach to our well-being, only addressing visible symptoms rather than their underlying causes. There are understandable constraints, such as limits on time, resources, or the level of commitment needed to genuinely solve health problems at their roots. However, we may also intentionally ignore real issues to avoid privately or publicly confronting difficult truths.

The sole result of this selective approach is unchecked damage, as illnesses are left free to advance without limits or oversight.

Cosmetics that conceal skin conditions without treatment allow further deterioration. Camouflaging weight through clothing ignores health risks. Distracting from organizational dysfunction through surface embellishments prevents necessary change. Using rhetoric to cover wrongs instead of righting them postpones justice.

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There is an illusory temptation in attempting to mask underlying troubles with superficial displays of improvement. But darkness, like truth, has an inevitability that no amount of glitter can conceal forever. At some point, the reality beneath the rhetoric will inevitably reemerge, often in an aggravated form made worse by delay. It is always better to face an ugly truth head on than cling to a comforting falsehood destined to disappoint. Personally, I find realized deception far more disheartening than unwelcome frankness from the outset.

The benefit of candor is clarity – we understand precisely what we are dealing with and can work to remedy the genuine issue at hand. Smoke and mirrors, meanwhile, treat only symptoms while the root cause festers unchecked. By the time the veil lifts to reveal deeper dysfunction, damage may be irreparable.

Not only does dissimulation mislead others, it misleads the dissimulators themselves into neglecting real problems.

There is dishonesty in a myopic focus on superficialities that ignores underlying harms. It sustains suffering as illnesses persist unacknowledged and unaddressed. It fails to acknowledge the harm caused by the root issue, perpetuating suffering and preventing any meaningful resolution.

Regrettably, when we attempt to conceal one symptom of malfunction, wrongdoing, or disease, another inevitably arises, followed by yet another, until the sheer number of symptoms overwhelms us. Eventually, we exhaust all possible cover-ups, leaving us face-to-face with irreparable damage caused by an unchecked disease or malfunction.

Prolonged denial guarantees problems grow only more intractable over time. Sadly, by neglecting foundational challenges in favor of superficial solutions, we open the door for minor ailments to multiply into serious conditions over time. A holistic view focusing on prevention and treatment of root causes, though demanding, leads to healthier long-term outcomes than a reactive approach addressing isolated symptoms alone.

[speaker]
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