Health, the Individual, and Integrated Medicine

Revisiting an Aesthetic of Health Care

David Aldridge

Paperback, ISBN-10: 1-84310-232-3 ISBN-13: 9781843102328, 224pp, 2004

Case Study Designs in Music Therapy
Edited by David Aldridge
Paperback, ISBN-10: 1-84310-140-8 ISBN-13: 9781843101406, 304pp, 2004
Music Therapy and Neurological Rehabilitation
Performing Health
Edited by David Aldridge
Paperback, ISBN-10: 1-84310-302-8 ISBN-13: 9781843103028, 304pp, 2005

Performing health


We are performed beings

When we consider people with neurodegenerative diseases then we are essentially talking about people confronted by minds and bodies that are failing to perform as they have previously expected. This situation is for them and their families a tragedy. Futures are damaged and hopes challenged.

I choose the word performance carefully as it is at the centre of my argument here. Indeed, as I have written in my other books about music therapy, my contention is that we are performed beings; that is, we realize ourselves in the world, mentally, physically and socially as performances. And what we see in the process of the neuro-degenerative diseases is a restriction in performance of movement, of communication, of thinking and, for some, a sense of becoming lessened as a whole person. The reason why I use the performance metaphor is that it is active and dynamic lending itself readily to an artistic activity. Furthermore, it is a temporal activity not necessarily a permanent product. All too often we concentrate on art products, the material that has been made, when it is the actual doing of the art that is important. Music therapy reminds us of this very activity. We bring ourselves into form continually throughout each day. And we commit these per-form-ances with others.

Form naturally decays. The whole notion of entropy is that the world is falling apart. But contrary to this stream is that or negentropy, the bringing together. We are part of that forming the world together and that is why the arts are important. We have the ability to recreate forms. When this ability fails then we experience an existential loss. Performing ourselves back into the world, a world of others, is a vital activity of being alive and being human. Yet from is fleeting, we must be continually present for a new performance. The reason behind this is simple. A fixed form is a fossil. It no longer has life. We are continuously forming, as living and losing form, as dying and the challenge is to see the bigger gestalt.

Health as performance - the performative body

David Aldridge

READ MORE in Collected Works
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Dementia careDementia_care.html
Spirituality referencesSpirituality_References.html
Photography projectsPhotography_projects.html
Making senseMaking_sense.html
Performing health
Bliss seriesBliss.html