He discusses the problem that in medicine, as in agriculture, the focus is often on details: specific treatments or diseases, that offer specific challenges. While that may or may not be true, such a discussion ignores the large context of these concepts; we can argue for or against the use glyphosate, but the larger context is an agriculture that depends on these kinds of chemicals. We can argue for or against the use of certain pharmaceutical medicines, but usually we ignore the larger context of what it means to be healthy, and what can be done to stay healthy.
Charles argues that
“we can return medicine to the people. The power to heal ourselves and each other has, like so much of modern life, been professionalized, turned into yet another set of goods and services. We can reclaim that power. The future of medicine is not high-tech. Technology has its place (for example in emergency medicine), but it has usurped the place of other powers: the hand, the herb, the mind, the water, the soil, the sound, and the light. Can we imagine a healthcare system that fulfilled the promise of the medical alternatives that have touched millions of lives in the shadow of the conventional system?”