A classic salesman’s joke will set the stage:
Before the newly hired salesman is sent out into the field, he is admonished that it is important to make lots of sales calls. Returning to the office on the first day, his manager notes that he has made seven calls, and that is not enough.
“I want you to make more calls tomorrow!” And the salesman agrees. He returns proudly, saying that he made 15 calls, but, it seems that this number is also too low. So, he is determined to make an impact on his third day.
He works feverishly, starting early, and coming back in late, never even taking a break for lunch. Again, the manager asks him how he did.
“Well, I made 99 calls today, and it would have been 100 if that S.O.B at the power company hadn’t tried to slow me down by wanting to write me an order.”
Examples exist in most other fields, as well. There are sports coaches who will stick to their game plan even if they keep on losing. There are attorneys who would rather litigate and run up fees, than either try to settle, or keep the client out of trouble in the first place. And, of course, there are plenty of medical examples.
One could probably argue that allopathic medicine per se is dominated by the process, rather than the outcome. Most cases proceed inexorably as follows:
- The patient presents with a set of symptoms
- A diagnosis is made, meaning that a name is applied to his condition
- Based on this name, a therapy is given
- If the symptoms disappear, the therapy is deemed successful
- If the symptoms do not disappear, the therapy is modified
Notably, the diagnosis is hardly even changed.
A few years ago, a woman in the Midwest presents with vague symptoms including fatigue and nausea; she also complains of numbness in the extremities. Although most viewers of forensic TV shows would at least suspect poisoning, amazingly, despite the extensive blood work done, no toxicological tests are performed.
One brainiac at the hospital suggests that her problems could be “feminine,” and orders that a hysterectomy be done. Meanwhile, a nurse at the hospital overhears the husband talking on his cell phone in the waiting room. Incredibly, he is relating the latest poisoning episode to his girl friend, as he had just served his wife a special drink at her bedside.
The nurse takes it upon herself to spill the drink, and reports the conversation to the attending physician. While the attending is sympathetic, all due caution has to be taken, since this is a serious charge. A toxicological panel is run on the woman, who shows significant levels of arsenic, and the husband is unofficially barred from giving her any further nourishment, based on a trumped-up medical reason. A police investigation is started.
But here’s the best part. Despite all this, the needless hysterectomy is performed, since—after all—it had been scheduled.
Fortunately, the husband is stopped, and the woman survives, with a few lingering complications, including no uterus. Please note that the medical system does not help her at all. It is an eavesdropping nurse promoting a criminal investigation that saves her life.
The world of politics offers dozens of examples of our process obsession, a prime one being continuing the tradition of a political convention when the presidential candidate is now determined long before this occurs. Surely, the best green policy would be to eschew the convention, avoiding the massive carbon impact inherent in thousands of people traveling for no reason.
What makes this particularly stupid is that the primary system was created for the EXPRESS PURPOSE of avoiding the old-time backroom deals, that dominated party conventions in the past. How ironic that the old process continues, at least in a phantom sense, as the new process takes over.
Finally, if there is anyone out there so fortunate to have not yet experienced the allopathic medicine process obsession, you surely have seen this phenomenon with the government. From pointlessly spending hundreds of billions of dollars on a war on drugs, to engaging in fruitless diplomacy because that’s “what we do,” to throwing ever more money at failing public schools, it is abundantly clear that outcomes are not even on the radar screen.
This week, though, we can take advantage of the Feds’ process obsession: The celebration of Thanksgiving, which can only be understood as a religiously inspired holiday—(to whom are we giving thanks?)—continues unabated in this otherwise functionally atheistic country.