What does it mean to be healthy? Is healthiness intrinsically good and ill

What does it mean to be healthy? Is healthiness intrinsically good and ill

What does it mean to be healthy? Is healthiness intrinsically good and ill health intrinsically bad? When we consider ourselves to be in good health, it seems like we are referring to a linked but disparate set of qualities such as 1) absence of pain generally and normal levels of environmentally-caused pain, 2) ability to experience normal range of pleasures, 3) lack of any bodily impediment to a full range of behaviour, and 4) absence of indication of impending issues which may lead to 1, 2, 3 or death in the future. Those are, at any rate, the qualities that I link with healthiness (though maybe it doesn't capture some issues, such as discomfort, as distinct from pain). Pain seems to be more basic and primitive than illness or health but why is it bad to be in pain? Pain is not a reliable indicator of damage to the body; it is just a feature of consciousness that has its own qualitative characteristics. Buddhism-as-therapy encourages detachment from the experience of pain in order to observe it as a spectator and view those characteristics dispassionately (or something of the sort). Levels of pain, life expectancy and degrees of freedom of action are just facts about each of us which do not seem intrinsically good or bad. We generally all share preferences about each of them (low, long and high, respectively) so is healthiness just good because it enables us to fulfil our preferences? If so, is there anything wrong with, for example, a heavy drinker who does not heed the warnings of health professionals? Can such a drinker form a rational preference for a sozzled lifestyle over her health?

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