Blokeology is all about an evidence-based approach to life and health. And the skepticism is a ‘healthy’ one – I hope it is a warm and inclusive skepticism rather than a combative and polarising influence.
Blokeology is my effort to explore, in my own little corner of the internet, how to live a decent, healthy life that doesn’t screw over too many other people and fits with the evidence. I’m a doctor so that involves stuff like physiology and psychology. And all the ‘ologies’ of medicine. Cardiology, neurology and neuropsychology. It’s a lot of science and ‘ologies’ across a whole spectrum of disciplines. They are others we can chuck in too: epidemiology, sociology, behavioural economics, gender studies, anthropology… The list is huge.
Most of us want to squeeze out the crappy habits in our life and be happier. Sometimes it might be the mundane stuff that everyone wrestles with, like losing a little weight or getting a bit more exercise. Other times it might be altogether more serious and big and scary. Like understanding about prostate cancer or managing your mental health. We need to understand evidence to make good decisions about the wider policies in society we should support or how to reduce our personal use of plastics. I also believe that being a skeptic doesn’t mean we have to demean and condescend people who aren’t aware of evidence on a topic or have come to different conclusions.
Blokeology is really about anything I’m interested in – I guess I’m the ‘bloke’ in blokeology. So it is definitely not limited to men’s health – there are some important niches there to explore but it’s definitely not the full story. I do think that when men get it wrong, when they are unhappy and ill, then the consequences for the rest of society are severe. And, of course, men hurt themselves in the process. That’s a serious and worrying problem. Male suicide is the most obvious manifestation of that. Often, when things get violent, then men hurt other men but, just as importantly, women and girls bear the brunt of it. You only have to take the briefest of glances at the figures for domestic violence, homicides, and sexual assaults.
I hope I can help people use the evidence that does exist to live a better life (whatever the hell that means to them). It’s easy to get lost in the details of research and helping people tease out the good stuff is as important as ever. I want to improve inequalities in health and society. As a doctor, as a person, as a bloke, it’s the one core value to which I keep coming back. That means I support progressive polices. I try to look through a health equity lens when assessing any intervention to improve health.
My definition of health and wellbeing is wide. It’s not just going to be stuff about running, diets and sleep. Productivity and living well are just as important. How we spend our time, the products we buy, the causes we support, our politics, are all just as important to our health.
What blokeology isn’t?
Just to be clear – blokeology is not, in any shape or form, some kind of push back against women. As I said above, I’m the ‘bloke’ and so, inevitably, I do bring a male perspective and I can’t do much about that other than be reflexive and keep questioning my own assumptions and preconceptions. The suggestion that somehow, as a white middle-aged male doctor living in the UK I am, in any way, anything other than privileged is complete bollocks.
Blokeology is just normal life
All of this sounds rather heavy. But, actually learning about new stuff is fun. And doing it with the benefit of science is exciting and satisfying.
As I said, most of what blokeology is about is the day-to-day stuff with which we all wrestle but some of it is bigger picture as well. How can I squeeze the right amount of exercise into my life? What else can the evidence tell me about how to reduce my carbon footprint? What’s the evidence for diets? What are good health and social policies to improve lives? What do I need to understand about economics? How should I look after myself in a heatwave? How can I feel a bit happier and less stressed?
Just the usual stuff.
See you out there.