We Are All Patients
by Igwe Ukoha

"It takes an overdose of apathy to create beings such as modern man."

In this philosophical treatise, the author proclaims that “unfettered lust for wealth and power in the face of our inability to control our basic animalistic impulses is an ingrained disease.” In other words, many have become so greedy for money that, for them, wealth has “more value than the lives of others.” Ukoha sets forth his argument using examples of billionaires who care more for acquiring unneeded wealth than paying a decent wage to employees, a health care system that emphasizes profit over care, and religious and political leaders whose main concerns are money and power. He illustrates these problems through short stories. The book ends with the assertion that society has made meager advances. He also includes a call to action which emphasizes teaching children to think in terms that lead to concern for others, rendering a more altruistic worldview.

This book, written by a Nigerian doctor practicing in the United States, is a timely essay on the failure of the human race to grasp that which is important. Each story illustrates how one can lose sight of what human life should become. Some of the stories are heart-wrenching, such as the one of a young child who is left by a mother who no longer has the strength to carry both of her children while fleeing an army in Nigeria. Each story—whether the emphasis is on one’s propensity to blame others for their own failures, a government that doesn’t place its people as a priority, or the human desire to escape pain and discomfort at all costs—leads one to question his priorities. Ukoha shines a light on how humanity got here. More importantly, he makes the reader consider how to make oneself and society better.

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