My English is fluent and practically perfect. My written English is less good but it still serves me well.
My English proficiency is a highly prized skill because the English language makes a decent claim to be the earth’s primary language. If Aliens ever do arrive, the attempted introductions are most likely to be in English. And of all the billions of people who have some English language skills, I would rank amongst the world’s elite speakers of English.
Not that this is much to boast about, of course. Such commanding English is hardly noteworthy given that I was born in England. It is my first language and only language, in fact.
But I shouldn’t be too hard on myself because I still have much better English than a huge swathe of my countrymen. And I don’t just mean the ill-advised youth who deliberately mis-speak because they think it makes them sound cool – when in fact it just makes them even more unemployable.
How did your English exam go?
Yeah brov, done good, man.
No, I refer to a growing contingent of adults and often an ‘educated’ elite who can’t speak properly either. Allow me to demonstrate…
I will fetch a pale of water from the well.
Medium rare or well done?
Well, well, well. What have we here?
You can see a theme here, hopefully. These are examples of uses of the short but versatile word, well. I used it earlier when I said ‘my written English is less good but it still serves me well.’ No doubt, you can think of other examples…
But I hope, not wellness.
I know that language evolves and that our vocabulary constantly expands. Woke being a good recent example, no longer just a word for arousing from sleep. Being ‘woke’ now means something quite different. It is a condition where-by people appear to be very angry and it seems for a lot of the time. It must be exhausting. But having ‘woke’ as a word might be necessary because it allows us to have discussions and derivations also, like ‘wokeness.’
But how necessary is the word wellness?
I have a good idea what it means. I imagine that it is the general sense of feeling well.
And here it is then, the case against ‘wellness’ as a word - is that we already have the perfectly adequate word, WELL.
Yes, I am very well, thank you.
Is anyone confused by this short exchange? Is it too vague for some people. No, of course it isn’t. So then why do we need a new word, wellness?
Because wellness means much more. It is broader and more encompassing; a combination of our physical and mental disposition. A more complete sense of being well.
Er… you mean, like healthy? Or happy. Or how about, well-being?
But this is to miss the point of wellness and this happens to be money. Because Wellness happens to be a multi-billion dollar industry. A faux science which has mushroomed in the self-help space where a great many practitioners should check themselves and question its ethics and validity.
A quick search on Amazon throws some light on this with plethora books claiming to hold the secrets of wellness…
Wellness is just dressed up Bullshit
(The last one is not yet the tile of a book but I am tempted)
And not just wellness for humans either. We love our pets, right? And we want them to experience wellness too. So how about…
Energy Wellness for your Pet, or A Complete Guide to Wellness with CBD…
Because it is only in this broad church of self-help that the word wellness is ever used. Never in everyday language. Not in my experience anyway. People ask me all the time, ‘am I well?’ But never have I been asked, ‘hey Dom, how is your wellness?’
Professionals who are charged with our well-being (health), like doctors of medicine (real, actual doctors) would never ask such a thing.
I think we should be wary of such trends. Or mindful even, which brings me neatly onto ‘mindfulness’, another dubious word that we spend a fortune pursuing and making a few people very rich.
Another soft academic science to take advantage of people’s insecurity and their search for happiness. Publishers and authors on-hand and in cahoots to shamefully fill their boots.
My English skills might be high but my mathematical skills are correspondingly low. I am much more comfortable with a fitted sheet than a balance sheet. I have a basic grasp of numbers and just enough to understand that 110% is not a thing. Anything more than 100% is impossible and why I cringe whenever I hear it.
But this is an over-reaction on my part. I know what 110% means and it does no harm. Not really. Unlike the new movements in our social sciences which I think can and do harm people and at the very least, exploits people.
My last gigs this year were in Dubai, an adult playground of hedonism consisting mainly of shopping malls and opulent hotels. And where practically the entire workforce is bussed in from all over the world. It tends to attract people of a certain type. The young of course, on the lookout for fun and excitement but also many people on a rebound or who appear to be on the run from something. Restless types in search of something that they can't really define. I say this because in Dubai this year and trawling yet another Mall, I was excited to find a Borders book shop. I asked for the non-fiction department and the lady took me to the self-help section. And this was it. Self-help was the entire non-fiction department. A huge department that dwarfed even fiction. Rows and rows of books on wellness, mindfulness and helping people to find happiness. And this reflects the characteristics of so many of Dubai's transient workforce.
The Wellness industry is not terribly edified. It cloaks itself in virtue but is primarily self-serving for its practitioners. If the readers are helped along the way, then great. But I imagine that a great number of these books are started with verve but remain uncompleted. Which is fine for the authors and the publishers, just so long as they are purchased and the money keeps rolling in.
And if that book didn’t do it for you and you’re still feeling unhappy, then no problem. Because we have more books for you. Here, try this one at $20, or this one... We have more books coming out all the time and audio recordings…