Project VRM and e-patients

I’ve been talking to the Project VRM group about healthcare applications of vendor relationship management, also related to the work of the Society for Participatory Medicine and the e-Patients Working Group that preceded it (of which I’ve been a founding member).

Doc Searls and I were talking about this again last week at Fiber Fete; he’s just posted a note about Dave deBronkart’s “Gimme My Damn Data” rant and its implications (expanded and well-overviewed by Dave along with Vince Kuraitis and David Kibbe) to the Project VRM site. Doc takes issue with the use of the word “consume” in the longer piece by Dave et al:

Patients today no longer only consume. They produce. What they want and need is more responsibility for their own health care. More importantly, a patient cannot be a platform if he or she is only consuming. By nature and definition, a consumer is a subordinate creature. It lives downhill from the flow of services. Platforms stand below what they support, but are not subordinate. They are the independent variable on which the variable ones standing on it depend.

Memorial Day 2009

Memorial Flags at Fort Logan National Cemetery“Happy Memorial Day” is a trending topic on Twitter, and I’ve seen several tweets this morning remembering or acknowledging war veterans as individuals or as a whole. I’m not sure that “happy” is the right adjective for a day acknowledging the tragic deaths of so many.

I spent my early years assuming I would join the military, but it didn’t happen, and I often felt a void where that expectation had been – partly relief, but partly a sense that I had lost something important, having been exposed for years to stories of World War II and my father’s memories and memorabilia. (He was on his way to war when World War II ended, and was in the Army of Occupation in Japan.) We played war all the time and saw military service as an inherent part of life. We were raised to be patriots, and were disillusioned at our perception of the politics of the Vietnam war. I think we were the first generation to have enough information, through emerging mass media, to question whether the military was being misused and whether we should serve. I was in college and had a way to opt out, and later there was the draft lottery and I had a high number. I never enlisted so I never went there.

Our sense that the Vietnam war was wrong complicated our thinking and created an internal conflict between our postwar patriotic conditioning and our sense that, in perpetuation the war in Vietnam, our leaders were wrong and the tragic human costs were wasted. One terrible cost of this cultural shift: soldiers who fought in Vietnam returned to a cultural malaise and confusion, no parades, no sense of victory, no sense of moral validation. I had a roommate who had been caught in a Vietnamese booby-trap, and while he survived, he returned with profound disillusionment.

We now know that wars and global politics are complex. Should we be in Iraq? What is the nature of a “war on terror,” who are we really fighting? What is the nature of patriotism in a 21st century era of globalism? Much to think about.

But on Memorial Day, we honor those who served and who died as real patriots. This makes me think of Audie Murphy. I first saw Murphy as an actor in Western films; only later did I learn that he was one of the most decorated war heroes in U.S. history. Audie Murphy represents a whole spectrum of thinking about military service. He was a great patriot who fought hard and received 33 medials, and he was also a victim of post-traumatic stress disorder who was very frank about his own problems and pushed the government to acknowledge the condition and extend health care benefits to cover it. I’m thinking about Audie Murphy today, and I’m thinking about my Dad’s years in occupied Japan, and my brother’s years flying transports into Vietnam. I’m thinking especially about my older cousin Charles, who was at Pearl Harbor when it was attacked and told us rousing stories of that chaotic day. They were all among the fortunate who survived.

I realize that I’m fortunate, in that no one close to me died at war. Thinking on Memorial Day about all those who died, and all those who lost someone, in wars of the past and present. Every death is a cascading tragedy. I’m ready for world peace.

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Resources for hacking consciousness

Clifford Pickover posted at Twitter the url for a very rich web site rich with resources for exploring consciousness… audio and video from Alan Watts, Terence McKenna, Tim Leary, Huston Smith, Robert Anton Wilson, Daniel Pinchbeck, Alex Grey, our pal Mark Pesce, et al. Quote from RAW:

Intelligence is the capacity to receive, decode and transmit information efficiently. Stupidity is blockage of this process at any point. Bigotry, ideologies etc. block the ability to receive; robotic reality-tunnels block the ability to decode or integrate new signals; censorship blocks transmission.

Also a great quote from Alan Watts:

Inability to accept the mystic experience is more than an intellectual handicap. Lack of awareness of the basic unity of organism and environment is a serious and dangerous hallucination. For in a civilization equipped with immense technological power, the sense of alienation between man and nature leads to the use of technology in a hostile spirit—to the “conquest” of nature instead of intelligent co-operation with nature.

Note that there’s also a Bill Hicks video page.