Bureaucracy – the modern manifestation of the epidemic of Impersonalism

As many of you know, besides my passion for women's healthcare, I have a love for clinic work too. I love spending time with members of the community, navigating the ropes so they can get best treatment and appreciating the heart of community. I love working with the nurses and staff as well as keeping up to date with hospital policies and state available medications.

It is very demanding in a different way – like often no lunch breaks, whizzing through 31 patients in 7 hours, challenging cases, language barriers, small spaces, very sick people, sad situations, compliance challenges, loads of HIV and TB and meeting people who have waited 3-5 hours possibly in the waiting room and possibly 1-3 months for this appointment.

But I love meeting the heart of community health in my little office, often sharing a little joke with a patient and in my own way – humanising the interaction – no pretense or show. For I know I am as human as each one of my clients or patients and we are navigating this lifetime in the best way we can. One small elderly lady once laughed and said

“Jy maak my gesond met lag.”

(translated from Afrikaans – “You bring me to health with laughter.”)

It is true. We are all equal souls navigating these material bodies in the best way we can.

It is often these raw interactive moments when stitching up a patient's wound or feeling their pulse, examining their neck, hearing their pains, griefs and losses, stressors from children, work, finance – the stories whether exchanged in words or by eyes or by touch, the scars and wounds we wear on our bodies, the anxious mother and her new baby – it is in these moments when Divinity is also so clear and present.

There are certain things that flatten all ego and bring us down to real levels. The journey of being born and the journey of dying. And I think sickness can come pretty close too.

The reason I am elaborating on all this and emphasising the humanness in healthcare is because of the overt profound lack of it in general.

 

The profound lack of treating other people like a fellow human being and the tendency to treat another person like a case number that can be juggled around in the system without ever actually being really heard and therefore never solving the problem.

I am speaking about BEAUROCRACY. The tendency to blame or pass on to other services without taking responsibility or truly hearing the problem.

“excessively complicated administrative procedure”

and

“a system of government in which most of the important decisions are taken by state officials rather than by elected representatives.” - as a form of hierarchy.

This awful tendency is coming from the deep pathological denial of personalism and the malignancy of feeding the false ego. The false ego (“ahankara” in Sanskrit) is the sense of self that identifies with our material situation and appearance.

This misidentification (with our material appearance instead of our true spiritual nature in which we are all equal) – necessitates a sense of false defense, false segregation and often manifests as:

“Sorry I can no longer help you and you need to go to this department.” and fluttering between departments for months to get a matter settled because no one can truly listen and hear YOU.

For me this translated into:

“There is a glitch in the system. There is nothing I can do.”

No one really cared that my bank verification was not going through so I could not get paid as it was a glitch in the system and not in their capacity.

Well here is my story:

I have recently had exceptional accounts and extra-ordinary difficulty in receiving 2 months of pay checks from a part time employer. AKA (Also known as) the department of health.

This is a government institution which has so far cost me immense expense to simply adhere to the given process otherwise known as “the system”.

This system is a central database for all suppliers – whether you are supplying delivery services, products from curtains to orthopaedic surgical equipment or supplying clinical medical services like me.

So when there was a glitch in “the system” no one was really too concerned that I was not getting paid for 2 months back as it was not in their capacity to help.

Now I have seen bureaucracy in India, USA and South Africa. In USA my impression was that people are mostly quite co-operative and fearful of the rules and don't question too much. In South Africa – people question it all the time and always try to get around the rules. In India the rules are a facade and can often be overcome if you know how. (My generalization based on my experiences.)

So there I was stuck. Continuing to work. Not getting paid. And no one going out of their way to help me get to the source of the problem.

I tried to explain repeatedly to staff the impact of this lack of expected income on so many aspects of my and my family's life – trying to evoke that human cord. Maybe it helped to move it to source.

It is not yet solved but it does seem imminent.

My point is that this concept of Impersonalism is a dis-ease in each of us and in society at large. The more we regard others as separate from ourselves; the more we are pivoting to the gaping hole of separation. Too many aspects in society are pushing us to being separate from source. When in fact the panacea and the answer that everyone is longing for – is acceptance and love – existing in this material world - as human interaction (for example).

So whether you are a patient, health professional, receptionist, security.... lets just be human and true to who we really are and what we are really doing here.