FEE – Treating symptoms is not enough. When we fall ill, our bodies give us symptoms to signal to our brains that trouble is afoot. A fever, for example, lets us know that our body is working in overdrive to fight off some sort of infection. While it may be causing us tremendous discomfort, we know that the fever itself is not the real problem, but rather a symptom of a greater problem that is about to manifest itself.
But if we are in search of lasting relief, we must first discover what is causing the fever in the first place. Sure, we can try to mask the discomfort by using aspirin or ibuprofen, but this relief is conditional and only lasts for so long. Unless the root causes are identified and treated, the symptoms will come back as soon as the medicine wears off.
Many charities and organizations perpetuate this cycle by focusing only on treating the symptoms of poverty, completely ignoring the root causes.
When put in terms of our health, recognizing that symptoms are merely consequences of a bigger problem but not the actual disease seems obvious. But many fail to see how this principle translates into other realms in life. Poverty, for example, is a vicious cycle with many observable symptoms. Starvation, lack of clean drinking water, and insufficient housing are all symptoms of poverty, but they are not the cause.
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