Same old, same oil
Posted October 29, 2015on:
A few weeks ago my family and I were on a crowded train when a man fainted. The train was so packed I could not make my way to him, but I was near enough to hear a woman shout, “Put oil on him!”
She was referring to a small bottle of pungent, medicated oil that aunties used to carry with them. Apparently they still do.
by mr brown
Such oils claim to sooth a wide range of maladies. Here is an example of the claims of one brand. Even modern medicine does not come close. Naysayers will quickly think of snake oil or the placebo effect.
This incident reminded me of a similar incident I experienced about 20 years ago. The train was emptier and a woman collapsed. I did basic CPR, but not before someone had already put medicated oil on her temples.
The oil did not revive the woman, but it was so strong-smelling it could have knocked me out. If that happened, people might have had to visit a temple to pay their respects. The last I saw of the woman was when she was in the care of train station staff.
What is the point of the story? Everything changes, and yet it does not.
There is no evidence that medicated oil works, but some people still rely on what their elders said and did. If no one tells them otherwise, they will continue doing these things no matter how ineffective (and possibly dangerous) they are.
From an educator’s standpoint, medicated oil strategies might include technology-free instruction; technology to motivate or enhance instead of to enable; chasing the technology tail; or merely using technology instead of integrating it.
First we have to choose to be informed or not. Once informed, we have a choice to change or not. We have no choice in being ignorant for that is our default state. But we have a choice of whether or not to be stupid in the face of evidence.