- by WH Auden in As I Walked out one Evening.
I wondered about this short poem for some time thinking that Auden must have meant something deeper than just a rhyming couplet. During my counselling training the worst thing to be compared to was a nurse, or a rescuer; many times we were reminded not to rush in but to wait until the client found their own way out of their troubling issues. I often remind myself of that if I am tempted to take a perceived short cut and tell a client what is happening before they are ready to see for themselves.
The more we do for someone, or look after them the less able they are to stand on their own two feet. I see this all the time, from over-fussy mothers and helpers in schools, to people’s over-reliance on their GPs and numerous remedies that are completely unnecessary and often ineffective. A little patience and some time will often either cure or present a completely different picture and better way forward. Obviously this doesn’t apply if someone is literally bleeding to death!
I think this unintended consequence is what has happened regarding the NHS; perhaps it should be renamed the National Disease Service? People have become disempowered and irresponsible for their own health and wellbeing. Not only do we tend to expect to be cured of everything including old-age, regardless of what we have brought on ourselves but also we mistake screening for preventative measures. If we can’t be cured it must be the government’s fault for not warning us adequately, or not taking care of us properly. Nanny State indeed.
The drug companies are laughing as they become ever-richer and would no doubt, research medication to cure such unintelligence if it wouldn’t result in the scales falling from our eyes and a loss of revenue for them.