Fundamental flaws of the Western approach to healing

June 14, 2007 at 10:13 pm (medicine, philosophy)

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In ancient britian and other areas, the role of priestess included not only being an intermediary with the gods, but a healer as well.  They were trained in magic, herblore, music etc.  This is great wisdom in this approach because humans are not just flesh and bone.  They are emotional complex beings of several different types of energy, western medicine completely fails to see this so as a result they completely fail to heal.

Everything is interrelated.  A drive through a major city theses days begins to roughly look like a drive through a transistor board, and as more and more people get sick (and believe me they know people are getting sick and they know why, it is just not profitable to cure them) the hospital more often then not dominates the landscape. Western Medicine runs on the assumption that the body is to some extent fundamentally flawed and that you cannot totally rely on the natural healing and immunity systems of the body to fix it.  This is as far as I am concerned a direct off shoot of the Patriarchal thought of subjugate the unconscious, because just as the unconscious is rooted in the sacral/kidneys, so is the lymph and immune systems of the body.  As a result I think there are in reality very few true success stories arising from such a healing framework.  I was stunned and overjoyed to see as I walked downtown today that there is a federal initiative to see how many people really do die in hospitals.  Their solution is to use a whole crap load of fancy equipment (again because their own intuition, from the unconscious, might be flawed) that uses a whole crap load of electricity and magnetism and in the end they either cut you open or send you home with a bunch of pills that are so unstable and powerful, half the time they only succeed in making you sick in a different way than the one you first went in for. Immunizations are one of the most insidious things I have ever seen. You have only so much life essence to fuel your immune system unless you practice the regeneration I mentioned previously.  Pumping it full of dead viruses that cause an immune response (building anti-bodies) is capriciously spending a most precious reserve.  If you bath regularly in pure water, drink pure water and eat healthy, whole foods, you will not get sick.  My son and I are living proof of it. 

As far as I am concerned, corporate heathcare is in it for the money, in direct violation of the Hippocratic oath that all physicians make. They are greedy, egotistical oathbreakers and as a result I feel that they deserve no less than being destroyed, not necessarily destroying them as people, but that their healing “art” should be destroyed.  In addition, modern Psychiatry is hell on earth.  First off, Freud was a coke-addict that cheated on his wife.  Secondly whereas I think he did have some great insights I think he fell into the common trap of western thought that things should be simple, they should be black or white.   Heaven or Hell, right or wrong, a direct off shot of Christian Dualist thought.  To take any drug, whether it be street or pharmacuetial, operates on the fundamental premise that a person is not good enough they way they are.  I’m sorry but we are created the way we are for a reason, and letting a person’s conciousness be taken over by a drug is beyond horrible.  It strikes me as being the same category as possession.  I have taken psychology in college, and I could barely get through the course, not because it was over my head, but because of the inhumane, numb and removed approach it took.  It was horrible to open up my book to see picture of animals that had been experimented on with switches mounted on their skulls and electrodes in their brains.  As a supporter of animal liberation and a person who has done animal rescues this was beyond disturbing to see.  Mahatma Ghandhi once said “the greatness of a nation and it’s moral progress can be judged in the way in which it’s animals are treated”.  This cruelty, this inhuman atriocity that that is animal research is what all of western medicine is based off of.  Again, if looked at through the perspective that what is present at the beginning of something is what will rule it throughout it’s entire existence, it is no surprise to me that they have become what they are. 

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12 Comments

  1. PalMD said,

    “Western Medicine runs on the assumption that the body is to some extent fundamentally flawed and that you cannot totally rely on the natural healing and immunity systems of the body to fix it”
    Are you saying that you CAN totally rely on “natural healing” to fix all medical problems?

  2. etheria888 said,

    Yes.

  3. ArekExcelsior said,

    As silly as the contention is that ALL medical problems can be fixed without the use of modern surgery, antibiotics, etc. (which is just as “natural” as meditation or holistic medicine if we’re being serious), I think one can reject that contention and nonetheless adopt a notion of a body-mind wholeness and the innate healing properties of the body and mind that is always a useful tool. In some cases, the body as an empirical fact can’t handle the job on its own, but Western medicine still has yet to fully integrate the idea that it’s always a vital element.

  4. etheria888 said,

    In response to ArekExcelsior’s comment I have this to say. If given the conditions, that a person is educated in nutrition, especially in the use of nutrition as medicine, and they are not bombarded with poor food choices day in and day out, it is possible to never get seriously sick. But obviously we live in a world full of all sorts of destabilizing agents such as fast food, soda, sugar etc and so people (including me when I’m stupid a eat that stuff) get sick quite regularly. In the world we live in right now these things (surgery, antibiotics) are quite necessary. But if people would stop debasing themselves, and start turning away from unhealthy nutritional and lifestyle choices, we could very definately get to the point that such dirastic things were not necessary. Antibiotics are extremely destabilizing, they are like the atom bomb and it can take years to fully remove the residues of them from an individual. To boil it down, from a very young age we are ingesting very powerful drugs and substances that compromise us, and it’s like a top that starts to wobble more and more, the more we take these things, the more we need them, because we never regain our center and just get further and further off balance, take more and more powerful drugs, resorting to more and more powerful procedures until eventually we lose the battle and die, much sooner than we really need to. I am impressed by the fact that you must belittle my arguments as silly, it means I struck a nerve and you find them somewhat threatening. But they are not silly and the speak of something deep and fundamental that has been eroded by time. We are not just flesh and bone, we are beings of light and divinity and by debasing ourselves with tools founded in disequilibrium we are selling that birthright short. I very definately apprieciate your comment and your viewpoint and I am thankful for you giving me the opportunity to defend my ideas.

  5. ArekExcelsior said,

    “In response to ArekExcelsior’s comment I have this to say. If given the conditions, that a person is educated in nutrition, especially in the use of nutrition as medicine, and they are not bombarded with poor food choices day in and day out, it is possible to never get seriously sick. ”

    Evidence indicates otherwise. While the degradation of food, water, and air under capitalist industry is almost impossible to exaggerate, all the available evidence regarding genetics and epidemiology indicates that diseases are not totally within our grasp, and indeed never may be. In fact, those non-Western philosophies like Buddhism and Taoism would tell their practitioners not to wait for humanity to master the world to that degree. Bugs are very smart and have been bred by billions of years of evolution to spread effectively, and it seems to smack of hubris to think otherwise. Of course food choices and proper nutrition free of preservatives and chemicals impact health, but other things do as well. Some studies, for example, have shown that meditation can have a larger impact on heart attack outcomes than dietary changes!

    “But obviously we live in a world full of all sorts of destabilizing agents such as fast food, soda, sugar etc and so people (including me when I’m stupid a eat that stuff) get sick quite regularly”

    Agreed. I argue this is due to the externality problem of capitalist society and think part of the solution is a revolutionary reordering of society. However, disease plagues people free of those things. While one could argue that those who are free of those things lack dietary completion in other regards, this seems like special pleading. In any respect, it seems inaccurate. Ancient people’s skeletons do not show as much tooth decay as modern people’s on average. This is despite worse diet and no dental care. So if anything the evidence indicates that simpler diets like those practiced abroad are safer, yet disease spread exists there as well.

    ” But if people would stop debasing themselves, and start turning away from unhealthy nutritional and lifestyle choices, we could very definately get to the point that such dirastic things were not necessary.”

    One can hope, but it is not rational to assume that that is the case. Genetic deformities like mental retardation, some cancers, some predispositions to mental illnesses, etc. are going to exist to some degree no matter the food of the society.

    “Antibiotics are extremely destabilizing, they are like the atom bomb and it can take years to fully remove the residues of them from an individual. ”

    True, and they are over-prescribed. But, like an atom bomb, there are some tasks one can imagine them being useful for. The body simply isn’t up to fighting every disease, no matter the diet and lifestyle of people. Again, these diseases have been around for hundreds of times the span of human existence. They’ve developed ingenious ways of attack and infiltration. And they will continue to do so, and our immune systems will continue to evolve to counter them.

    “To boil it down, from a very young age we are ingesting very powerful drugs and substances that compromise us, and it’s like a top that starts to wobble more and more, the more we take these things, the more we need them, because we never regain our center and just get further and further off balance, take more and more powerful drugs, resorting to more and more powerful procedures until eventually we lose the battle and die, much sooner than we really need to. I am impressed by the fact that you must belittle my arguments as silly, it means I struck a nerve and you find them somewhat threatening.”

    The fact that an argument is silly doesn’t mean it touches a nerve with anyone. In fact, it might be so silly as to be immediately rejectable and in fact laughable. I don’t think this argument is THAT silly 😉 . But it simply is an untenable position. Yes, part of the problem is ingestion of toxins, but do you honestly believe that is entirely surmountable, ever? No matter how free of preservatives your food is, no matter how well regulated, you will eventually ingest a toxin, a disease, something to trigger your immune system. It’s all a matter of dosage, as chemical scientists repeat constantly.

    Indeed, you should hope so. The irony is that you seem to be buying into a key part of Western medicine: Avoid all negative impact instead of mitigating it. This causes the fighting/counter-fighting process you note. Studies show that those born in dirtier environments, say doing farm work, have fewer incidences of auto-immune diseases and allergies. The body needs a slight bit of toxin and exposure in order to calibrate its systems.

    So, yes, I agree with you that improving the quality of our food, water, air, etc. will contribute to better health and happier people. But to imagine that there will never need to be a surgery, an antibiotic, an exercise regime, a physical therapist, a psychologist in the future (all of which are part of Western medicine) where that occurs is, again, silly, and in fact absurd to think about. You are needlessly pessimistic about the impact of our food and thus ignore other serious mechanisms that cause disease. What about stress? That’s also a problem with our society. And to blame Western medicine for preservatives is, again, being pretty silly.

    “But they are not silly and the speak of something deep and fundamental that has been eroded by time. We are not just flesh and bone, we are beings of light and divinity and by debasing ourselves with tools founded in disequilibrium we are selling that birthright short. I very definately apprieciate your comment and your viewpoint and I am thankful for you giving me the opportunity to defend my ideas.”

    Assuming that humans, what with all our myriad flaws and failures, must by essence be divine seems to me to strain believability 😉 . As a Buddhist, I feel all life is sacred. But to really embrace the sacredness of that life means to abandon our pretenses. We are not creatures of light but of flesh, blood and bone. Nor would I have it any other way.

    Putting that aside, notice the contradiction your argument places you in. If we are truly so pure, then how can yellow #5 weaken us? If we are made of an immortal essence, why would partially hydrogenated soybean oil have any impact? What weak divine essences we are!

    And how exactly is yellow #5 founded in disequilibrium? When did the cosmos declare that X chemical is equilibrium-conducive and Y chemical isn’t? Yes, some things are toxic and some things are not, but toxic things occur in nature and non-toxic things occur in laboratories.

  6. etheria888 said,

    “Evidence indicates otherwise. While the degradation of food, water, and air under capitalist industry is almost impossible to exaggerate, all the available evidence regarding genetics and epidemiology indicates that diseases are not totally within our grasp, and indeed never may be. In fact, those non-Western philosophies like Buddhism and Taoism would tell their practitioners not to wait for humanity to master the world to that degree. Bugs are very smart and have been bred by billions of years of evolution to spread effectively, and it seems to smack of hubris to think otherwise. Of course food choices and proper nutrition free of preservatives and chemicals impact health, but other things do as well. Some studies, for example, have shown that meditation can have a larger impact on heart attack outcomes than dietary changes!”

    Well I need to start out by saying this, you need to read the rest of my blog, because some things you are talking about I have written about already. For one thing I wholly agree with you that meditation is an invaluable tool, see my posts on “stability and foundation” and “taking back the wand of double power”. Whereas I have not gone in to great deal in my posts, you are talking to a person who meditates pretty regularly either in the traditional form or in magical ritual which is also a theta wave state for the brain. When you say “mastering the world” you are putting words in my mouth that I would not say. By our thoughts we create the world, and so that being said, disease is a direct reflection of our internal world. Worrying about external things is a sign of the sickness if you will, it reflects a fundamental disperception that we are separate. By focusing within, you can change the world around you because we are all one.

    “Agreed. I argue this is due to the externality problem of capitalist society and think part of the solution is a revolutionary reordering of society. However, disease plagues people free of those things. While one could argue that those who are free of those things lack dietary completion in other regards, this seems like special pleading. In any respect, it seems inaccurate. Ancient people’s skeletons do not show as much tooth decay as modern people’s on average. This is despite worse diet and no dental care. So if anything the evidence indicates that simpler diets like those practiced abroad are safer, yet disease spread exists there as well.”

    Again I am totally on board with the fact that our society needs restructuring, my entire blog so far has been an attempt to inject some revolutionary thought into the world in one of the few ways I can and as I see it with the financial crises going on in our country and the so called green revolution, the foundation is being broken up a little. Destruction is a form of creation and in this period of chaos would be the perfect time to make ones move to restructure society. As to disease plaguing people free of McDonalds etc. my point is food can be used as medicine. There is a balance that has to be maintained. Obvious impure food choices aside, there are foods that warm(yang) and foods that cool(yin) If one eats to many warming things they can get sick(usually with things ranging from influenza to bipolar disorder to agression to stroke), and if one eats to many cooling foods there is a whole other set of disease that may manifest(such as things like emaciation, nervousness, memory loss, pnuemonia). The thermal nature of food can also switch if the food is extreme enough (such as cayenne pepper, which is extremely warming but later switches to cooling because of it’s diaphoretic nature). Environmental factors also affect a person constitution. The key here is balance, and it is the fundamental issue behind most of the problems we as a society face today and again it is a direct reflection of our internal world. I think you see what I mean about by our thoughts we create the world when you mention the externality problem of capitalist society. As to ancient peoples, I do not agree that their diet was worse, if anything that is the standard to which modern people’s diet should be compared. The “Paleolithic Diet” for the most part was the proper balance. There was no tooth decay because there was not only no sugar, but also no dairy which tends to breed excessive dampness within the body, and with the dampness comes proliferation of parasites, such as systematic candidasis, which weakens qi (I’ll explain in a second) and breaks down immunity. So the combination of the dampness and the parasites causes the rot that is tooth decay and weakens the immune system to the point that the body cannot defend itself against the bacteria that comes with it. I have to point to the cultural and architectural achievements of the ancients as proof of the superior mental clarity of our forebears. I do not agree that modern society is culturally advanced, in some respects it may be, but in other aspects such as sustainability, permanence, and spirituality, we are quite impoverished. I do not think that the ancients were a utopia, obviously they had their own set of problems, but it seems like we’ve gone from one extreme to the other. We are at a point in our evolution where we have experienced both ends of the spectrum as is being both the masters of our environment and wholly dependent on same, we need to create a new synthesis of the two, a balance, and that is exactly what I am aiming for.

    “One can hope, but it is not rational to assume that that is the case. Genetic deformities like mental retardation, some cancers, some predispositions to mental illnesses, etc. are going to exist to some degree no matter the food of the society.”

    Actually there was just a study published that said that genetic markers could be altered by diet, and within a relatively short time frame, as in a few months. Humans are quite malleable, more so than most could ever imagine. I’ve known this for years being and adept and being able to alter things that are supposed to be fixed, but there is science to back this up, I really wish I could remember the study, it just came out a few weeks ago, if even that long ago. Many cancers and other autoimmune diseases appear in the context of the dampness I mentioned before, and it is rational to extrapolate that such a thing could be multigenerational. That is that if a persons parents had a deficient diet (and I mean deficient in the context of quality, not quantity) it is quite reasonable to assume that the deficiencies could be passed on to the child via genetics so that the child would be starting with a negative balance, that would be further compounded by their own poor food choices. That is just two generations, consider the fact that sugar (which strips minerals and is extremely destabilizing) has been in major use since the 16th century and you start to see a much bigger picture and deeper problem. And might I add that the beginning of the boom in technology began at around the same time, as did the age of exploration, indicative to me of an increased focus on the external as opposed to the internal:)

    “True, and they are over-prescribed. But, like an atom bomb, there are some tasks one can imagine them being useful for. The body simply isn’t up to fighting every disease, no matter the diet and lifestyle of people. Again, these diseases have been around for hundreds of times the span of human existence. They’ve developed ingenious ways of attack and infiltration. And they will continue to do so, and our immune systems will continue to evolve to counter them.”

    Oh my Lord I can’t believe you went there. There are some tasks that an atom bomb is useful for?!!! Along that line of rationale there are also some tasks that genocide, abuse, and rape are useful for, like widespread murder and agony, something our world has far too much of already. That is horribly Machiavellian of you and at the risk of insulting you is quite arrogant and elitist. As to disease being ingenious and devising all sorts of means of infiltration, your right, but as you also alluded to, the human body has the same adaptability that viruses and bacteria do. You forget we are infested with bacteria, and much of our immunity is derived from a healthy intestinal flora, made up of beneficial bacteria that also have the same adaptability as the malecious ones. That is where the concept of qi comes in. It is derived from food, the air we breathe and our congenital life essense (jing/ojas) and it is our immune response but it is also our energy and what animates us. An imbalanced diet weakens this protective qi and allows pathogens the foot in the door. If you eat a proper diet and meditate and practice good hygiene, your qi will not weaken until you run out of jing and as a result you won’t get seriously sick. Now that touches on the topic of regeneration. It is possible to increase a persons life essence and therefore qi, through practices as the qi-gong and sexual alchemy. But that aside, strongly destabilizing substances such as antibiotics interfere with homeostasis and therefore qi. Anitbiotics, kill off not only the bad bacteria, but the good ones as well, they suppress the immune system when an individual is taking them and in the end provide a fertile environment for anything to come in and take hold. As to other extreme practices such as surgery resulting from personal injury well that is a whole other ball game. But I should point out I have noticed that like energy attracts, and if you are full on negative energy due to food or other causes, the likelihood of something bad happening to you (such as getting burned or getting in an accident) goes up. This need not be looked at from a spiritual perspective (although it works from that point of view as well), people stressed out and tired are more likely to make mistakes, that could result in injury. I do not know if you could ever get to the point of absolutely never needing such things, but as a limit it does exist. It may have a null value when you get there, but you can approach that limit and you can get far closer to it then most are right now.

    “The fact that an argument is silly doesn’t mean it touches a nerve with anyone. In fact, it might be so silly as to be immediately rejectable and in fact laughable. I don’t think this argument is THAT silly . But it simply is an untenable position. Yes, part of the problem is ingestion of toxins, but do you honestly believe that is entirely surmountable, ever? No matter how free of preservatives your food is, no matter how well regulated, you will eventually ingest a toxin, a disease, something to trigger your immune system. It’s all a matter of dosage, as chemical scientists repeat constantly.

    Indeed, you should hope so. The irony is that you seem to be buying into a key part of Western medicine: Avoid all negative impact instead of mitigating it. This causes the fighting/counter-fighting process you note. Studies show that those born in dirtier environments, say doing farm work, have fewer incidences of auto-immune diseases and allergies. The body needs a slight bit of toxin and exposure in order to calibrate its systems.

    So, yes, I agree with you that improving the quality of our food, water, air, etc. will contribute to better health and happier people. But to imagine that there will never need to be a surgery, an antibiotic, an exercise regime, a physical therapist, a psychologist in the future (all of which are part of Western medicine) where that occurs is, again, silly, and in fact absurd to think about. You are needlessly pessimistic about the impact of our food and thus ignore other serious mechanisms that cause disease. What about stress? That’s also a problem with our society. And to blame Western medicine for preservatives is, again, being pretty silly.”

    I do not say that you can ever fully avoid toxins, pathogens etc. What I do say it that we are shooting ourselves in the foot healthwise by ingesting large amounts of impure food. I also never said anything about not exercising, quite the contrary, at least in one of my posts “solutions to the problems” I mentioned walking everywhere as opposed to driving and for the record I’ll just lay it out, you need some form of regular aerobic exercise. It dries out dampness (obesity is a damp disorder) like a towel being wrung out and it also contributes to mental clarity. But exercise is not the brainchild of western medicine, maybe as a separate concept it is, but before the advent of so much technology we got plenty of exercise naturally, so it wasn’t an issue. My arguement is not untenable or unsupportable, one need only look at the many cases of religious adepts who regularly fast, meditate, abstain from meat and intoxicants and see the legendary feats of these individuals, surviving poisoning, psychic ability, absurd amounts of strength and stamina, and ability to overcome pain (such as the monks who set themselves on fire) Whether this has to do with diet or mental discipline is inconsequential, the two go hand in hand. One should not avoid things entirely and try to live in a bubble, I never said that, you are quite right that we need stimulus to be strengthened, you can see this from the perspective of immune response or from the view of character and experience. We need all sorts of stimulus to flourish, but more than anything we need to be able to truly know ourselves and master the world from within. Food is one of the few things that actually enter our internal world and as such it needs to be recognized for the fundamental role it plays in our conciousness and health. We are what we eat. As to what you say about dosage that strikes me as how fast do you want to be poisoned, do you want a nice slow death or would you like me to speed it up for you? These chemicals you speak of are synthetic creations that are made by a people who do not truly know how the world works and how the human body works. There are still many things that are a mystery in medicine. Either way these substances do not come with the mineral “governors” needed to regulate metabolism or they are something the body cannot purge and as a result is left with for an entire lifetime, continually affecting conciousness. As to stress, you need to read my post “powerlines”. As to blaming western medicine for preservatives, it is a culture that spawned the idea of preservation. But I will concede this, Western Medicine is a symptom, not the disease.

    “Assuming that humans, what with all our myriad flaws and failures, must by essence be divine seems to me to strain believability . As a Buddhist, I feel all life is sacred. But to really embrace the sacredness of that life means to abandon our pretenses. We are not creatures of light but of flesh, blood and bone. Nor would I have it any other way.

    Putting that aside, notice the contradiction your argument places you in. If we are truly so pure, then how can yellow #5 weaken us? If we are made of an immortal essence, why would partially hydrogenated soybean oil have any impact? What weak divine essences we are!

    And how exactly is yellow #5 founded in disequilibrium? When did the cosmos declare that X chemical is equilibrium-conducive and Y chemical isn’t? Yes, some things are toxic and some things are not, but toxic things occur in nature and non-toxic things occur in laboratories.”

    To start out with, here is how I see God and the Divine. I believe that each one of us has a small spark of Godhood within us. Taken as a collective, all these small sparks add up to one really hot fire, called God (or Goddess). Taken as such God is an entity unto itself, and as such no one human has dominion over It, but we are all still part of it, each one of us has that personal link. Now divine sparks if you will come not only from humans but every living thing, no matter how great or small. As an adept you learn to travel outside of yourself along these channels and come into contact with such profound things as the Divine, the spirit realm, the Askashic records etc. You consecrate yourself to the service of God/Goddess and as a result have a little more umph than the next guy, it’s not quite that simple, but I’m going to go with it in the interests of time/space constraints. It saddens me to see that you do not see anything more than matter when you look in the mirror, because you are missing out on a whole other world and you are selling short your potential. Matter and all that is manifest is only half the picture, there is the divine spark of spirit that is exhibited on a grand scale in the stars, but exists in each one of us as well, how else could we move? We’d be nothing more than a gooey pile of rocks if we did not have some form of energy to animate us and when I say beings of light, I am using light as a generic term for energy. As to how can yellow #5 weaken us, most people shut off this link, because more often than not it makes life much harder to live, it makes you do things that are right, but not always socially acceptable. Most people would prefer to fit in, not have prophetic dreams and see things that defy explanation. There is also an abdication of personal power and responsibility that comes with this. All that being said, when you suppress that, all the other systems of the body begin to fail, because this spirit which emanates from the heart and mind(that is why meditation can have a greater impact on heart attacks than diet, it calms and focuses the spirit), is responsible in part for the qi I mentioned before. Immunity breaks down when we fail to acknowledge the profoundness of our existence. As to these chemicals being founded in disequilibrium, they are the product of a society fundamentally imbalanced, that does not respect each other, that does respect itself, that does not respect the environment, and has sold itself short of it’s birthright. I tell you we have capabilities far beyond most people’s imagining. If more people realized this, we would not feel the need to create such useless and needless things. Again thank you for the opportunity to debate and defend my ideas:)

  7. Amanda said,

    I am so glad that this website exists. You write both eloquently and with strong messages. I hope that the West catches up with the East. Europe has had massive reforms regarding the treatment of mentally ill. Finland has the highest success rate and uses minimal medication and a lot of healthy, common sense approaches: exercise, socialization, counselling.

    Of course, the prognosis for the mentaly ill IS best in the third world. The biggest embarrasment to psychiatry yet, and published by the WHO.

  8. ArekExcelsior said,

    “Well I need to start out by saying this, you need to read the rest of my blog, because some things you are talking about I have written about already. For one thing I wholly agree with you that meditation is an invaluable tool, see my posts on “stability and foundation” and “taking back the wand of double power”.”

    Those posts are approaching meditation from a mystical perspective. While that may be possible, I’m approaching it from a spiritual, psychological and practical perspective.

    “Whereas I have not gone in to great deal in my posts, you are talking to a person who meditates pretty regularly either in the traditional form or in magical ritual which is also a theta wave state for the brain. When you say “mastering the world” you are putting words in my mouth that I would not say. By our thoughts we create the world, and so that being said, disease is a direct reflection of our internal world.”

    But we don’t. There is an objective world. There is an objectively existing body. No amount of hope or magic will bring back an amputated limb. No psychological recreation of reality will stop gravity from obeying an inverse square. We cannot will away the limits of our sensory apparatus: For example, we simply cannot see in the infrared spectrum, and cannot perceive certain dimensions. So, no, disease is not SIMPLY a reflection of our internal world, it is also the causal result of, say, a virus replicating our genes in a particular malevolent way, or a bacterium growing.

    By your reasoning, we could simply imagine away the pollutants in food. It doesn’t work that way. Our bodies are fragile and we do not control everything that happens to them. Other organisms harm them, whether it be other people, animals, bacteria, fungi or viruses.

    “Worrying about external things is a sign of the sickness if you will, it reflects a fundamental disperception that we are separate. By focusing within, you can change the world around you because we are all one.”

    What does this mean? Does this mean that if I sit alone in my apartment for ten years and simply meditate that I can cause world peace? No. That’s bizarre and silly, and worse it’s anti-social. The problem with the “Everything is just our perceptions” crap is that it completely gets rid of the notion that someone else might have something to contribute to your perception, to your reality. (Aside from it being solipsistic fodder, of course.) Does it mean that people working on their internal issues can then bring about external changes more effectively and more positively? Does it mean that sometimes we mistake an external problem for a kneejerk reaction that’s actually our fault? Yes, and so on and so forth.

    Regarding medicine, yes, our internal mechanisms and immune systems are powerful and are affected by our psychological state. But that doesn’t mean it’s ALL in the mind, only that the mind is one of a variety of things that determine prognoses.

    I should bring up the irony that you castigate Western medicine, yet your notion of pollutants, pesticides, etc. must inherently be based on the conclusions of the Western scientific medical apparatus, which empirically analyzed the results of its own creations.

    “Again I am totally on board with the fact that our society needs restructuring, my entire blog so far has been an attempt to inject some revolutionary thought into the world in one of the few ways I can and as I see it with the financial crises going on in our country and the so called green revolution, the foundation is being broken up a little. ”

    To look at a financial crisis that affects millions of people negatively and hope that it “breaks up” the system is the classic Old Left problem, so I find it disheartening that it’s being brought up here. The system can survive economic crises: The poor are victimized, sure, but the rich have enough clout to survive through. We need to fight it, inevitable demise or no, NOW, in order to mitigate further catastrophe and poverty.

    The Green Revolution is a relatively old phenomenon, so I wonder why you brought it up.

    “As to disease plaguing people free of McDonalds etc. my point is food can be used as medicine.”

    Of course it can. And in that regard, yeah, hospital food sucks, that’s a big deal. But it’s not the ONLY thing that can be used as medicine and it’s not the only thing that SHOULD be used as medicine. Antibiotics, surgery, meditation, psychotherapy, psychotropic medication, etc. all have their place.

    “Obvious impure food choices aside, there are foods that warm(yang) and foods that cool(yin) If one eats to many warming things they can get sick(usually with things ranging from influenza to bipolar disorder to agression to stroke), and if one eats to many cooling foods there is a whole other set of disease that may manifest(such as things like emaciation, nervousness, memory loss, pnuemonia).”

    Putting aside that I reject the scientific foundation of these claims, bad food CANNOT cause influenza. Influenza is caused by the influenza VIRUS. Unless warm food contains more flu in it than cold, this is an absurd statement. The idea that eating too much of any food, “cooling” or otherwise, can cause emaciation, is also, frankly, absurd.

    But let’s accept the general conclusion that, yes, our dietary choices impact our bodies in a variety of complex ways, some of which we may not fully understand yet. Doesn’t mean antibiotics are bad…

    “The thermal nature of food can also switch if the food is extreme enough (such as cayenne pepper, which is extremely warming but later switches to cooling because of it’s diaphoretic nature). Environmental factors also affect a person constitution. The key here is balance, and it is the fundamental issue behind most of the problems we as a society face today and again it is a direct reflection of our internal world. I think you see what I mean about by our thoughts we create the world when you mention the externality problem of capitalist society. As to ancient peoples, I do not agree that their diet was worse, if anything that is the standard to which modern people’s diet should be compared.”

    Was it? Then why are their teeth NOT better taken care of than modern people who keep up with their cleaning? (Yes, ancient skulls are better off than those today who don’t brush their teeth, but NOT those who keep up with their dental regimen. I have never gotten a cavity. Imagine that occurring in Paleolithic times. Nope.) Why did they end up turning to agriculture in the first place? Why did they end up breeding in order to broaden their outcomes? Why did the Sahara desert emerge? (Hint: Those Paleolithic people with their ostensibly perfect diet trampled the grasslands into desert. Not so pretty.) The picture you are painting is bizarre.

    Is there ancient wisdom, say about strong grain diets? Sure. But you don’t have to look to ancient wisdom for that. Japan has among the lowest obesity in the world. Their high rice diet is healthy.

    There’s another problem you’re overlooking. This isn’t the Paleolithic era. We don’t live the same lives, we don’t engage in the same activities, we don’t have the same amount of people, we don’t have fun or sing or dance in the same way, we don’t have the same schedules of work and of meal times. So diets that may have been very effective for certain Paleolithic people in their particular climes with their particular social systems and technological development would be horribly inappropriate. It makes sense for the Inuit people to eat whale blubber and to be on average fatter or stockier. It makes no sense for someone in California to do the same thing.

    There HAVE been positive gains, thanks to science and to millenia of development, in our food and water production. It hasn’t been all routinely downhill. There are some challenges, but also some improvements.

    “There was no tooth decay because there was not only no sugar, but also no dairy which tends to breed excessive dampness within the body,”

    Sorry, the skeletons clearly differ from your unduly rosy perspective. We have with braces and modern dentistry the ability to have nice, perfect, white, shiny teeth with no cavities. http://www.evolutionnyc.com/ImgUpload/P_488177_513311.jpg is NOT that. Teeth are noticeably missing, encrusted with plaque, and decayed. One can go over and over with this. Yes, I think you’re identifying that ancient cultures had some wisdom that has either been lost or is denigrated, but you have instead decided to focus on ancient cultures as if no positive progress has been made in the last ten thousand years. It’s bizarre and unnecessary.

    Asking for a Paleolithic lifestyle now, in the modern era, is asking for war, famine, death and pestilence that will kill billions of people and substantially impact the survivors’ life chances. It is horrifying, not the height of wisdom.

    “I do not agree that modern society is culturally advanced, in some respects it may be, but in other aspects such as sustainability, permanence, and spirituality, we are quite impoverished.”

    I didn’t make that argument. I don’t like to put cultures on a sliding scale of “advancement”. But I think your arguments beg some questions.

    Are we REALLY less sustainable than the ancient peoples who populated Easter Island? (Hint: It wasn’t always a desolate wasteland with only moai).

    Are we REALLY less spiritual, with the vast majority of Americans believing in frankly silly and barbaric religious anachronisms, like divinely guided evolution or the Devil controlling us and denying us free will?

    I’m not anti-spiritual and I’m not an atheist, but I don’t think it’s our “spirituality” that is the problem. I think it’s specific social institutions that turn what would otherwise be positive advances into destructive tools for power and profit. And yes, when we eliminate those, we may find that traditional and ancient wisdom becomes very useful. We may find, for example, that local production is massively superior to more traditional industrial consolidation, even considering the problem of duplicating productive assets, and so we may move towards a more “Small And Local Is Beautiful” equilibrium. But to make those decisions now is the height fo callousness. We need a functioning economic system and real research, not simply kneejerk assumptions.

    “I do not think that the ancients were a utopia, obviously they had their own set of problems, but it seems like we’ve gone from one extreme to the other. We are at a point in our evolution where we have experienced both ends of the spectrum as is being both the masters of our environment and wholly dependent on same, we need to create a new synthesis of the two, a balance, and that is exactly what I am aiming for.”

    We humans haven’t “evolved” in the strictest sense for tens of thousands of years.

    I agree with the notion of synthesis. Fair enough. Obviously looking at past civilizations’ developments and discoveries is wonderful. But to do so by abandoning our universal tools of rationality is silly. We should rationally adjudicate all cultural, technological and medical features and evidence, and be ready to reject that which just doesn’t cut the mustard. So a belief that a man who gets sick if he eats too many sweets is being attacked by a witch is just stupid superstition. He is actually suffering from diabetes. With that discovery, we may find that a creative way of treating diabetes is available in traditional Chinese herbs, say, or in meditation (as we actually do find). But it is not “an imbalance of chi”, but a misproduction of insulin. Even acupuncture specialists agree with this conclusion, mind you. They say that, yes, the physical result of the chi is the malady of diabetes. Even if we find a spiritual reality that we can rationally assess, which we certainly have not, that does not obviate the need to also know, understand and treat the purely physical.

    “Actually there was just a study published that said that genetic markers could be altered by diet, and within a relatively short time frame, as in a few months.”

    First of all, link me that study.

    Second of all, so what? We know that genes can be altered or damaged by food. For example, foodborne toxins cause gene mutations that can lead to cancer. That’s not new information. But the point is that it is NOT possible, or at least there is absolutely no evidence to support the conclusion, that ANY diet can change PARTICULAR markers reliably. Even Western science can’t do that, with its more invasive (but usually direct) approaches. So, yes, some macro-level genetic effect may occur from different diets, but there is no diet that will invariably 100% of the time prevent Alzheimer’s by disabling that gene, or counter a genetic predisposition to cholesterol. Eating your broccoli will not cure genetic retardation. The problem is that you are taking studies and evidence done within a very specific context that support very sober and specific claims and then irrationally telescoping those claims into absurdities.

    Let me mention something about how genes actually work. It is possible to change genes anywhere within the body, sure. But once the body has been fully grown, it tends to have a genetic “inertia” where it continues to grow based on past information, not on new data. So even if we inserted a gene to the body that said “Grow wings”, it’s unlikely it’d actually occur. That’s why genetic therapy is so difficult and will have to be so particularly targeted.

    “Humans are quite malleable, more so than most could ever imagine. I’ve known this for years being and adept and being able to alter things that are supposed to be fixed, but there is science to back this up, I really wish I could remember the study, it just came out a few weeks ago, if even that long ago.”

    Then show me an example of a proper diet curing an amputated limb.

    When you fail to do so, you’ll have to admit that there are certain limitations to the human body’s malleability, as vaunted and as wonderful as it is. And that means we need a variety of interventions and tactics.

    “Many cancers and other autoimmune diseases appear in the context of the dampness I mentioned before, and it is rational to extrapolate that such a thing could be multigenerational”

    Assume that’s right. (The scientific evidence for it is nil, but I’ll accept that.) Now let’s say that someone does eat a bad diet and an autoimmune disorder does develop. Will THEN, at THAT point, a good diet retroactively cure it? Fast enough to save lives? No. Which obviously means steroids, prescription medication, doctors, hospitals, ORs, MRIs, etc. will be needed in the future.

    “Anitbiotics, kill off not only the bad bacteria, but the good ones as well, they suppress the immune system when an individual is taking them and in the end provide a fertile environment for anything to come in and take hold.”

    Some of that’s true, some of it isn’t. And we’re only now discovering how double edged a sword antibiotics is. But sometimes, the risks of NOT taking the antibiotics MASSIVELY outweigh the benefits. Strep throat, for example. I have a friend who lost a kidney because of a cough they didn’t realize was strep in time. Streptococcus MUST be nuked by a powerful course of antibiotics. If you get the flu because of that, fine, you can then ratchet back and fight the flu.

    Of course, the antibiotics case is where you can make one of your most compelling stands. Because we know that yogurt (ironically that dairy you seem to dislike) is full of wonderful probiotic agents and helps repopulate the good bacteria after the bad are dead. So, yes, after a course of antibiotics, I splurge on some delicious fruit and yogurt, and end up feeling a ton better. This is so mainstream that Good Eats, an entirely scientific show, has mentioned it.

    The suppression of the immune system… not really. The primary agents of the immune system, T cells, white cells, and antibodies, are not killed by antibiotics. Some powerful antibiotics can zap the whole body and weaken the immune system, true, but again, in many situations the costs outweigh the risks. Especially because DISEASE also weakens the immune system and kills off rival “good” bacteria and microcellular organisms in the body. I had an upper respiratory tract infection recently. I had bloody sputum. Good diet and rest didn’t work. Antibiotics and decongestants did.

    “But I should point out I have noticed that like energy attracts, and if you are full on negative energy due to food or other causes, the likelihood of something bad happening to you (such as getting burned or getting in an accident) goes up.”

    Fair enough, but that doesn’t mean anything. It’s not a criticism of Western medicine that a pissed off person will get in a car crash. That will happen no matter what, as long as we have flawed human beings. The fact that Western medicine saves lives after such tragedies is the relevant part to this argument.

    “I do not know if you could ever get to the point of absolutely never needing such things, but as a limit it does exist. It may have a null value when you get there, but you can approach that limit and you can get far closer to it then most are right now.”

    I agree with that, but the admission of asymptotic benefit or diminishing returns from a diet-based medical system alone is the case for Western medicine. True, it’s also no reason to reject diet, and given the obesity crisis in America, Western medicine could hardly be closer to you in that regard.

    “I do not say that you can ever fully avoid toxins, pathogens etc. What I do say it that we are shooting ourselves in the foot healthwise by ingesting large amounts of impure food.”

    Agreed, but it’s far from the only phenomenon going on. But when you concede that argument, you concede the necessity of Western medical intervention. Because if toxins are inevitable, and if the resulting diseases are therefore inevitable in a statistically significant proportion of the population, and if those diseases are treated most effectively by Western medicine (all of which you have implicitly or explicitly conceded), then Western intervention will be necessary. Less? I’d hope so. But we will still need antibiotics, surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, etc. The point is to add diet, meditation, herbal treatment, and whatever else we can make medically useful TO the toolbox we have, not get rid of tools that clearly work.

    “But exercise is not the brainchild of western medicine, maybe as a separate concept it is, but before the advent of so much technology we got plenty of exercise naturally, so it wasn’t an issue.”

    This is a classic mistake of this line of argumentation: Assume that the only thing Western medicine has contributed is “Exercise is good”. Primitive cultures did not know about cholesterol, good or bad, triglycerides, etc. It took scientific observation (not “Western” but just good science) to discover this fact. We also know that exercise raises the heart rate and thus flushes cholesterol. Ancient people did not know that. True, ancient people were far less sedentary. But that was hardly an unmitigated advantage, because they were working TOO hard, TOO onerously, doing damage (ANOTHER thing that “Western medicine” has discovered: Exercise can do damage to the body).

    What Western medicine contributes is HOW and WHAT exercise does that is positive. With that knowledge, Western medicine and science in general can contribute new ways of doing things. We don’t just run around the block, we monitor our heart rate and try to get to an optimal level to flush cholesterol or lose weight, burning from fat instead of carbs or protein. Bruce Lee did not just “lift weights” blindly or just run around, he monitored empirically what worked, what developed the muscle tone he was looking for, and what didn’t. If we can resolve the sedentary problem, we will be even healthier than Paleolithic people, because we will be combining DOING physical activity with doing the RIGHT physical activity. And it’s denigrating to an entire massive set of research into biology, exercise science, food science, etc. to think that this is meaningless data that we can do without.

    “My arguement is not untenable or unsupportable, one need only look at the many cases of religious adepts who regularly fast, meditate, abstain from meat and intoxicants and see the legendary feats of these individuals, surviving poisoning, psychic ability, absurd amounts of strength and stamina, and ability to overcome pain (such as the monks who set themselves on fire)”

    First of all, many of these feats are exaggerated or mythical.

    Second, equally amazing feats are done thanks to modern knowledge. Houdini’s ability to escape. Michael Johnson’s running speed. Modern Olympics. Modern martial arts. Modern strong men, benefitting from modern understandings of weight lifting. People like John McCain trained to endure ridiculous amounts of pain under brutal interrogation. The problem isn’t that Eastern or traditional spiritual cultures don’t have any amazing skills, the problem is that you’re denigrating real Western advances that are equally laudable. And it is the fusion of these knowledges that produce the most amazing results. Again, Bruce Lee combined traditional Chinese martial arts knowledge with Western philosophy, Eastern philosophy, and good solid exercise science to produce one of history’s greatest bodybuilders, athletes and martial artists. We should be looking forward to how we can combine these, not arguing about which is best.

    Third, those VERY SAME MONKS are disagreeing with your opinion. The Dalai Lama, in Ethics for the New Millenium, makes clear that he believes that psychotropic medication, antidepressants, modern food production and modern medicine (as well as cars and watches) are wonderful developments that need to be properly harnessed and added to traditional knowledge. A Shaolin Monk doing amazing feats of martial prowess still needs to see a doctor when his appendix bursts.

    Fourth, the superhuman feats of people subsidized by society to spend most of their time constantly meditating or in spiritual activity is hardly relevant to a discussion about medicine, which is by its nature about real ordinary people, a full cross-section of them, doing a variety of occupations and tasks.

    “Whether this has to do with diet or mental discipline is inconsequential, the two go hand in hand.”

    I beg to differ. One can be incredibly disciplined and have a shitty diet. One can have a wonderful diet and not be superhumanly resistant to pain. And it is frankly disingenuous to hand wave as if the two were EXACTLY CONGRUENT phenomena, instead of merely slightly correlated.

    Hell, let’s accept your argument for the moment. Mental discipline is all inside. Those monks with superhuman capacities must therefore be able to resist toxins, right? Preservatives, food coloring and pesticides shouldn’t harm them? You’re conflating an INHERENTLY individual phenomenon with an INHERENTLY social one. It makes for absurd conclusions.

    “One should not avoid things entirely and try to live in a bubble, I never said that, you are quite right that we need stimulus to be strengthened, you can see this from the perspective of immune response or from the view of character and experience. We need all sorts of stimulus to flourish, but more than anything we need to be able to truly know ourselves and master the world from within. Food is one of the few things that actually enter our internal world and as such it needs to be recognized for the fundamental role it plays in our conciousness and health.”

    I just wonder why it is FOOD that enters our “internal world” but not water, sunlight, bacteria, viruses, fungi, electromagnetism, ambient sound, etc.

    The problem is that you’re advocating for a bubble-safe food supply because that would be the only way you’d see the benefits that you advocate that could POSSIBLY eclipse Western medicine. The fact that your approach has innate limitations, risks, balances and tradeoffs doesn’t deter you from advocating it. Why should it stop Western medicine?

    “As to what you say about dosage that strikes me as how fast do you want to be poisoned, do you want a nice slow death or would you like me to speed it up for you”

    But that’s simply wrong and shows you haven’t done your epidemiological or toxicological research. Ask any toxicologist. The mantra is “Dosage, dosage, dosage.” Botulism toxin is one of the most lethal toxins known to man. In tiny doses, it tightens the face but does not instantly kill you in a horrifying way. Ergo, Botox. Yeah, it’s a little messed up, and one can argue that there are long term ramifications, but the point is that critical thresholds MATTER. The simple toxicological fact is that certain tiny amounts of most toxins absorbed over a long period of time have negligible impact. The graph is such that double the toxin does NOT have double the effect. At the low end of any dosage, double the toxin has maybe 1.1 times the effect. At the high end of any dosage, it can leap to 10 times the effect. The linearity you’re arguing for here is intuitive, but it is simply wrong, and it is “Western” medicine and science that can tell you why.

    “It dries out dampness (obesity is a damp disorder) like a towel being wrung out and it also contributes to mental clarity. ”

    So eating too much damp food, but eating NOTHING ELSE and actually being below your caloric intake for the day, will produce obesity? WHAT? Please give me ANY evidence, ANY study, that even comes CLOSE to showing that claim. Obesity is simple thermodynamics, at least at the first level of approximation: Too much energy in, not enough energy out. To preserve equilibrium, the energy must be stored. It is stored in fat, which increases weight and thus produces obesity. To eliminate the fat, one has to reverse the process, making sure more energy lost is gained.

    “Either way these substances do not come with the mineral “governors” needed to regulate metabolism or they are something the body cannot purge and as a result is left with for an entire lifetime, continually affecting conciousness”

    Let’s say that’s correct. (It’s not. Many toxins can be flushed from the system with sweat, through skin flaking off, etc. It is VERY rare to see a toxin that the body can simply never get rid of, though the EFFECTS of the toxin may be permanent, of course). First of all, there’s only so much it affects consciousness. It’s mythical that one CAN’T ascend into higher consciousness without having purged oneself of toxins. It’s just more difficult, so people see new results when having freshened themselves. In any respect, the explanation for this is mundane and has nothing to do with “inner worlds” or soul poisoning.

    Even if you are right, though, Western medicine may be the solution! One can imagine nanotechnology, genetic treatment, or other new medical interventions that can flush toxins in ways that weren’t available before. Indeed, we know this has occurred. Activated charcoal and ipecac are developments that help us fight toxins, among innumerable other antidotes that SCIENCE has developed.

    “As to blaming western medicine for preservatives, it is a culture that spawned the idea of preservation.”

    No other culture ever thought that, hey, maybe objects should be retained in time and space for longer, that’s sort of convenient?! WHAT?!

    Just taking the BRIEFEST look at other cultures shows how ABSURD this is. Buddhism’s whole premise is to cut attachments. That means that a teacher looked around and saw that a human condition around him at the time (and, I’d argue, universally, but that’s moot to this argument) is a notion of “preservation”. Hinduism has similar concepts. Plenty of other cultures clearly have had notions of “preservation”. In fact, since it is other cultures that seem to gravitate naturally towards fascist order (arguably, but just look at, say, China), which is all about the “preservation” of a regime over time instead of allowing a bad regime to die off and be revolutionarily altered, one could argue that Western culture is NOT a preservation-based culture.

    We didn’t make preservatives because we have some bizarre cultural fear of change. We made preservatives because it makes shipping in an industrial context across long distances easier and because it’s convenient.

    “To start out with, here is how I see God and the Divine. I believe that each one of us has a small spark of Godhood within us. Taken as a collective, all these small sparks add up to one really hot fire, called God (or Goddess). Taken as such God is an entity unto itself, and as such no one human has dominion over It, but we are all still part of it, each one of us has that personal link.”

    Fair enough. I see God as being coterminous with and coexistent with the universe. God is everything, the spirit that animates all of the cosmos.

    Nonetheless, this seems to only defer your problem. Because you are saying that even tiny fragments of GOD are vulnerable to DDT. How is GOD remotely spiritual, then?

    “Now divine sparks if you will come not only from humans but every living thing, no matter how great or small. As an adept you learn to travel outside of yourself along these channels and come into contact with such profound things as the Divine, the spirit realm, the Askashic records etc. You consecrate yourself to the service of God/Goddess and as a result have a little more umph than the next guy, it’s not quite that simple, but I’m going to go with it in the interests of time/space constraints. It saddens me to see that you do not see anything more than matter when you look in the mirror, because you are missing out on a whole other world and you are selling short your potential.”

    Making assumptions does not behoove you. I have achieved a state where I can see all of creation as interlinking pillars of light vibrating at high speeds. I have reached states of unconditional love for all of reality and have induced into myself states of far higher potency and euphoria than mushrooms have induced.

    But all those wonderful spiritual experiences do NOT mean we abandon our rationality, our skepticism, our creative inquiry. That is stupid and IS in fact selling ourselves short. Nor does it mean that we consider, for a moment, and have the HUMILITY to say that perhaps we are just carbon-based lifeforms with no broader spiritual truth, that maybe all we saw was a response of our brain to particular phenomena. To acknowledge that as a POSSIBILITY given our total lack of evidence to the contrary is essential. Otherwise, we think we’re hot shit. And that’s when we get into REAL hot water, spiritually, politically and personally.

    One doesn’t need to believe in God to have “oomph”. One needs to have principles, integrity, and personal strength and conviction. I meet atheists all the time who accomplish wonderful things and are inspiring people who have not a shred of spiritual belief.

    In any respect, this is still ducking the absurdity of your argument.

    “Matter and all that is manifest is only half the picture, there is the divine spark of spirit that is exhibited on a grand scale in the stars, but exists in each one of us as well, how else could we move?”

    We can move because it is physically possible to do so. While I do agree that a divine spark EXISTS, it is NOT needed to explain the universe. Perfectly mundane, scientific explanations grounded in understandings of biology, gravity, mechanics, and physics do just fine. We know that stars are massive incandescent reactors fusing various elements to produce energy. That is a beautiful and staggering thing, a wondrous thing to imagine. It is SPIRITUALITY that so often sells us short. Spirituality and traditional superstitions thought that the Sun was bigger than the Peloponnese. Nope. It is millions of times the size of our ENTIRE PLANET. And it is a footnote in a giant cosmos of unrelenting beauty, size and complexity. All of which may, in fact, boil down to quadrillions of iterations of one unifying set of equations. THAT picture is gorgeous. And in fact deeply spiritual.

    “As to how can yellow #5 weaken us, most people shut off this link, because more often than not it makes life much harder to live, it makes you do things that are right, but not always socially acceptable.”

    So then it is people abandoning spirituality, not yellow #5. The spiritually awakened must be resistant to it, right? But no, we find out that those who believe in God or the Akashic Records or magic react EXACTLY the same way when they eat cyanide or get injected with botulism.

    “Most people would prefer to fit in, not have prophetic dreams and see things that defy explanation.”

    And you’re better than most people? It could be a variety of things, not least that prophetic dreams and thinking in that way is NOT for everybody, that having a variety of opinions and viewpoints and philosophies produces more robust and diverse decisions, truths and understandings than if we all advocate some dogma.

    “Immunity breaks down when we fail to acknowledge the profoundness of our existence. As to these chemicals being founded in disequilibrium, they are the product of a society fundamentally imbalanced, that does not respect each other, that does respect itself, that does not respect the environment, and has sold itself short of it’s birthright.”

    All of which still ducks the point that this supposed divine spirit is not in fact divine or separate from our reality at all because it can be corrupted by food coloring, an entirely mundane chemical.

    In any respect, this seems like a ridiculous, society-wide, unprovable value judgment. It’s massively generalizable and doesn’t help us. WHAT parts of our society? Are we hopeless? Or are there attitudes and institutions that are positive? Freedom of speech is good. Captialism is not. Specific claims about specific institutions and facts are far more likely to propel useful change and produce new ways of living and breathing than generic insults to everything with no alternative, no specificity and no hope.

    You also have failed to answer how naturally produced datoura or nightshade or belladonna, all of which are lethal, are somehow equilibrium based but synthetically producing a protein isn’t. What is your definition of disequilibrium? And can you possibly furnish one whose conclusions logically applied you AGREE with? Again: Natural toxins are potent and deadly, “manmade” stuff can be wonderful and efficacious.

    “If more people realized this, we would not feel the need to create such useless and needless things”

    I think people realize something’s wrong. What they’re looking for is for people like you and me to abandon the soaring spiritual rhetoric, inherently alienating, and the criticism, which only adds to cynicism, and instead give them real, concrete things that can be changed.

  9. etheria888 said,

    Well I must say Arek, you certainly have given me a run for my money:) You have a lot of good points and whereas I still think you are pigeonholing me somewhat, what you say has merit and reason. When I write what I write about Western Medicine, I am primarily focusing on the pharmaceutical side of it, the parts that deal with amputated limbs, now that is an entirely other story, they do some amazing things when it comes to trauma. I think the truth in this arguement lies some where in the middle, and I think it is exactly like the Dalai Lama said, we need to take what has been learned and add it to traditional knowledge. My biggest beef however is that for so long alternative healing such as that which has been founded off of Taoist thought (acupuncture, five organ theory, nutrition as medicine etc.) has been poo-pooed by the establishment in this country, when it is what brought me back from having mini strokes and so I am living proof that it works. It’s also based off of five thousand years of observation and trial and error, and for western medicine to denounce it is beyond arrogant in my opinion, considering most of that is only 100-150 years old. I think we are starting to see positive changes where we are seeng this new synthesis of old and new, but to me it seems very slow in coming and I am outraged that the honorable profession of medicine in this country has been reduced to HMO’s and corporations, where doctors have very little say, when they should be controlling everything. I have more respect for doctors than you might think, to a great extent I feel that they are losing out in this system as well. I love my regular doctor, the guy’s great, but medicine has become far too entwined with profits. I suppose the fight against greed is a story as old as civilization itself, but it does not mean that any of us should not try to do something about it. I maintain that psychiatry is severely misguided, I think these psychoactive drugs are far too unstable, the FDA is not as infallible as some might believe, and I think the truth of why there is so much mental illness is because our society is messed up, not necessarily the individual. But you have made your case on many an issue and you’re right on a lot of things you say. My friend the debate is yours:)

  10. ArekExcelsior said,

    “When I write what I write about Western Medicine, I am primarily focusing on the pharmaceutical side of it, the parts that deal with amputated limbs, now that is an entirely other story, they do some amazing things when it comes to trauma.”

    The pharmaceutical industry is very easy to beat up on, but it is nowhere near all of Western medicine. I don’t even like the term “Western medicine”, given that enormous contributions to “Western medicine” are being made everywhere from China to Africa. There are some cultural hegemony problems, to be sure, but let’s call it “scientific medicine” since that’s accurate. Scientific medicine includes far more than just drugs: It includes diagnostic procedures and equipment, tools like scalpels and dentist equipment, a general corpus of knowledge, an approach to problems, surgical techniques, genetic investigations, and an array of other elements.

    Does America in particular and, arguably, Western countries in general overprescribe? Yeah, definitely, particularly antibiotics.

    “My biggest beef however is that for so long alternative healing such as that which has been founded off of Taoist thought (acupuncture, five organ theory, nutrition as medicine etc.) has been poo-pooed by the establishment in this country”

    That’s fair enough, but a lot of the times they’ve been poo-pooed for a core reason: They advocate based on faith and unobservable forces, not empirically observable data, and they argue for cultural “respect” wherein we let in EVERY practice instead of analyzing each practice to see what it does, why it does it and if it’s an effective alternative. A lot of Eastern practitioners want to bring in the entirety of the Oriental corpus (ditto for all sorts of other alternative medicines).

    It’d be as if someone argued that because penicillin is so amazing we should therefore retain electroshock therapy, bleeding humors and Tuskegee-style racist medical experimentation. That claim would be derided as absurd, racist, culturally insensitive, demeaning, and patronizing, and would endanger millions of patients. Scientists who advocate for the positive would be appalled by the negative. But that’s what we see with a lot of Oriental medicine practitioners: Bringing in every bit of “wisdom”, even when it is decidedly unwise.

    “when it is what brought me back from having mini strokes and so I am living proof that it works”

    That’s argument from example, a fallacy. People felt better, and indeed sometimes miraculous changes were recorded, from drugs we now after extensive double-blind testing to be useless or in fact harmful, from bleeding humors and from frontal lobe lobotomies. Oriental medicine could have worked for you because it is independently useful, true, and has wisdom that is generally applicable. Or the gem of wisdom could have been highly applicable in your case but in no others, or your body could have fixed the problem on its own, or there may have been delayed effects from previous Western-style practices, or it could have been a fluke in a hundred other ways. We can’t say in the very specific, we can only make sense of it in the general.

    “It’s also based off of five thousand years of observation and trial and error”

    Is ALL of it? Taoists prescribed mercury extensively. When the patient went mad, they developed all sorts of alternative explanations that didn’t include their treatment. Whatever one might say about modern science, the advantage it has isn’t just that it’s based on “observation” and “trial and error”, which is true of a range of philosophies with wildly varying adherence to reality, but a very specific, rigorous KIND of observation and trial and error. It has discovered errors within its own practice, such as the need for double-blind testing, the placebo effect and so forth. A lot of Oriental medicine is based on confirmed wisdom, true, and Taoists made all sorts of very good scientific discoveries using interesting and quite rigorous methods. But other things are clearly superstition, mysticism dressing up a lack of knowledge (which is fine, science doesn’t have much more), remnants of philosophies that are religious in nature and thus not rational or empirical, etc. Good work will have to be done to sort the good from the bad, just like it’s done daily in every lab across the country.

    “I think we are starting to see positive changes where we are seeng this new synthesis of old and new, but to me it seems very slow in coming and I am outraged that the honorable profession of medicine in this country has been reduced to HMO’s and corporations, where doctors have very little say, when they should be controlling everything”

    Well, HMOs and corporations are because we do not have a rational socialized health care system. That having been said, I don’t think doctors SHOULD be controlling “everything”, for two reasons.

    One is informed consent. Yes, there are inherent limits to the concept, but the basic idea that people should be given options, told what the options entail, and then allowed to select the fate of them or their loved ones is 100% appropriate.

    The other is that being a doctor puts one in what Michael Albert calls the coordinator class. Doctors, lawyers and people in that class or general bracket tend to have disproportionate control over their own lives, necessitating that others have less control than what they deserve, and get a disproportionate share of the empowering work, necessitating that others get less of that share.

    “I love my regular doctor, the guy’s great, but medicine has become far too entwined with profits”

    That’s capitalism, not medicine. It wasn’t science that determined that we’d use nuclear technology to make a bomb and drop it on innocent Japanese. It was the state.

    “I maintain that psychiatry is severely misguided”

    I’m from a more psychotherapist school, but I agree. Nonetheless, what are the core precepts of psychiatry? That people get mentally ill just like they get physically ill (fair enough and true, and releases people from the stigma of some things not really under their control); that these illnesses should be treated like all illnesses (also a good idea); that the brain and body should be understood to determine what effects they have on our personality, happiness and behavior, so that we can rectify any problems. There’s nothing wrong with any of that. There’s even nothing wrong with taking psychotropic medication. The problem is at the second order.

    “I think these psychoactive drugs are far too unstable,”

    Fair enough, but I know plenty of people for whom even unstable drugs are better than no medication. People who are engaging in self-destructive and externally destructive behavior and having a tremendous human and moral cost.

    “the FDA is not as infallible as some might believe,”

    Anyone who thinks the FDA is infallible is profoundly deluded 😀 . Even a good society’s regulatory agencies will make judgment calls and errors. Of course. The FDA’s problem is that it is underfunded and beholden to the corporate interests that pay the bucks, hire their bosses and keep the Congress(wo)men who fund them in power. But that doesn’t mean every psychotropic drug released on the market is negative.

    “and I think the truth of why there is so much mental illness is because our society is messed up, not necessarily the individual.”

    Society’s messed up and yet I don’t suffer from schizo-affective disorder, dissociative identity disorder or bipolar disorder 🙂 .

    At the first level, there are individual health problems, mental and physical, caused by an interplay of genetics, actions we take, actions others take, our internal mental state and personality, and our environment.

    At the second level, of course, broader social conditions will cause any number of phenomena, including illness, in predictable ways. And yes, we find that we have a very fragmented society where many people do not have an authentic social network that allows them to retain a positive attitude and keep social approval up (we are, after all, social animals). We have a society riddled with class inequity, such that we think it’s appropriate to dump someone on the street with enough psychotropics to last them two days, then wonder why so many homeless have severe mental difficulties. We have poor access to health care, physical or mental, due to the extreme inefficiency and class nature of the private health care system. And we find that, for example, white or male or class privilege come with severe mental health costs.

    All that could be true but it wouldn’t obviate the need to continue to understand the brain and to continue to research medical responses to problems as well as social, community, political and economic ones.

  11. sandrar said,

    Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.

  12. Janine Jenkins said,

    Maybe you both have it wrong.

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