Dear Froma Harrop:
In response to your June 30 column titled "About those who abuse their health," please check yourself in to the Anti-Pavlov Clinic before we here in the imperfect Land of Free Will have to come and get you. We believe you need a heavy course of anti-Pavlovian medication, preferably restrained and under our medical care 24/7, until you realize that education does not, repeat NOT, equal actualization.
Except, of course, we here in Free Will Land don't do that to people. We understand that even persons possessed of mature, functioning reason do not always act in accordance with facts. That "education" is not a railroad track to culturally approved "appropriate action." Thank God.
Education in various places and at various times has held, no, insisted, that there was no such thing as germs, that the world was flat, and that bathing was so dangerous to your health that only the hands and face were safe. You get the point.
The point of education should be to elevate people to reflection, analysis, insight and finally decision and choice, not straitjacket them into whatever is culturally current.
Is there any guarantee that strict adhering to current "educated" standards would eliminate premature death? No. Free will is a two-edged sword, the handle of which is given to each one of us. Neither wealth nor intellect nor education nor any human artifice to date has found a foolproof -- that is, proof against fools -- way to handle it without at least some defensive wounds. Sad, sometimes tragic, eventualities give no man the right to remove it from the hand of another.
I invite you reflect on societies in which free will has been abrogated except in the most egregious cases of wrongdoing. It is not a happy history.