From Ross Douthat, an attempt to fuse together the themes of his two books, The Deep Places and The Decadent Society.
Both decadence and chronic ailments cut against the human tendency to imagine a crisis as something that either leads to some kind of fatal endgame quickly or else resolves itself and goes away. Being sick for a long period of time has a baffling effect on friends and family and acquaintances, not because they’re unsympathetic or unwilling to help, but because our primary image of sickness is something that comes and quickly leaves, or comes and threatens your life and needs to be treated intensely with the highest stakes — and it’s harder to know how to respond to having something that apparently isn’t life-threatening but also doesn’t go away.
I can sympathize with Douthat’s attempt to draw parallels here. I certainly understand where he is coming from with regards to how people respond to chronic illness. Most people have difficulty understanding how to deal with illness that doesn’t go away with some modern treatment option or, on the flip side, doesn’t leave you dead. Many times, if people don’t hear from you, they assume you are better. Similarly, I suppose, unless people are raising an alarm, a decadent society is thought of as getting better, as well.
→ Decadence is a Chronic Illness | Ross Douthat
🔗_Via Alan Jacobs_