I’m going to tell you about an amazing new alternative therapy that you should consider. It’s called procrasteopathy, and its treatment modality is exactly what the name suggests: procrastination. For whatever condition you believe you have, the treatment is simply to find something else to be getting on with. Licensed procrasteopaths work with patients to find exactly what sort of procrastination will fit best with their lifestyles. Unlike boring, reductive Western medicine, practiced by boring, reductive colonialists, procrasteopaths target their treatment specifically to you as a whole person. They are treating the whole you, not just your disease.
It is for this reason that procrasteopathy is so hard to test: because each treatment is customised based on a person’s life—work, relationships, diet, values, education, family, attitude, mood, clothing choices, most recently seen movies, mobile phone tariff, preferred pizza toppings—it is very hard to test procrasteopathy in a clinical trial setting. Cold-hearted skeptics like to suggest that as with homeopathy procrasteopathy is a form of placebo, and thus indistinguishable from the placebo control group used in a clinical trial. But this only shows that they are indeed shit-breathing smug wankstains of no significance, a pox on our intellectual community, and they like to eat babies at dawn.
Furthermore, skeptics and boringly orthodox pharmacologists and medics are likely to point out that use and advocacy of procrasteopathy is unethical. There are a great many diseases, they say, where non-treatment causes massively negative effects to both the patient and—in the case of infectious conditions—risks the lives of other people.
If one is limited to a boringly narrow, scientistic and epistemologically fundamentalist view of medical practice, the non-treatment of serious clinical conditions may seem irresponsible and possibly even depraved, but this misses important ethical benefits of procrasteopathy, such as:
- Holism. Procrasteopathy does not attempt to use narrow categories of biological science to treat patients. It approaches patients as whole units, preferring to treat the whole person rather than simply the symptoms. In fact, the symptoms are thought of as a positive and important part of the patient, and something to be embraced rather than attacked.
- Non-intrusiveness. While biological medicine seems to be improving, there are still many drugs which cause terrible side effects. Procrasteopathy comes with no side effects, except the warm feeling of not doing anything.
- Procrasteopathy respects patient’s wishes. If a patient says that the procrastination prescribed for them is not something they enjoy, the procrasteopath is strongly encouraged to reformulate their treatment plan to include a different mode of procrastination better suited to their life and values.
- Professionalism. Procrasteopathy is attempting to become professionalised, with a Society of Procrastopaths being set up to provide professional training and regulation, and we intend to register with the Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council.
Now, these individual factors on their own may seem trivial compared to the suffering and death that would be brought about by widespread use of procrasteopathy to treat serious medical conditions. The memories of the thousands of children dying from easily preventable diseases that lurks just a few decades ago before the advent of widespread infant vaccination may seem nightmarish; or more recently, the disastrous deaths of tens of thousands of AIDS patients before the availability of highly active anti-retroviral therapies may crush what little spirit of hope you have left. But a fair-minded observer must weigh up such woeful clinical outcomes with the positive ethical benefits of procrasteopathy.
If you find this kind of reasoning compelling, I strongly recommend a paper published by Levy et al. in the Journal of Bioethical Inquiry named A Gentle Ethical Defence of Homeopathy (PDF preprint). I’m sure the philosophically-informed reader will find the reasoning that Levy et al. present to demonstrate the ethical acceptability of homeopathy on utilitarian grounds to be as compelling a defence when applied to procrasteopathy.