Author: Virgil Seutter
Date:     October 8, 1997
Parent Node:

3.0  Holism: From Myth to Mysticism and Science Caught In Between  (3.0)

3.1. Science appears to be caught in the middle between myth and mysticism. It has not decided how to view alternative medicine based upon its own terms of reducibility as a mechanistic phenomenon. It is confronted with the holists claim that all things interrelate and that nature is some part of a global networking that defies the ability to subscribe to a definable part as a "mechanism."

3.2. Alternative medicine retains a link to the past. It encompasses myth as part of the remnants of a primitive belief system that would no longer appear appropriate. Mysticism, while rooted in the past, also appears as a phenomenon of the "New Age." It translates into power that encompasses the universe as a holistic phenomenon. It attaches significance to the mythical remnants of the past bonding man to his environment as a mere participant in an ever greater plan of things.

3.3. The mythical union between heaven and earth preserved the bond between man and the universe. It encouraged the Gaia hypothesis (3.3) as a proposed scientific explanation of a living earth where all the world symbiotically interacts. It appears, at first glance, to conflict with man's purpose as a species. The nature of biological species (man) was to control the environment. The belief that man imposes his will (power) upon nature has prevailed into the mechanistic, reductionist nature of things.

3.4. The illusion of power may be misleading. The holist would accuse science of meddling with nature and overstepping its bounds with the natural order of things. On the other hand, the holist appears to seek power through forces that are indefinable and intangible as a mechanism. He uses the forces of nature as a "natural" response within the confines of the limitations set by nature itself. Either the "power" is within (bodies power to heal itself), or it is a translation of power from some external source (amulets, color, food, medicine, etc.) or conveyed through some special qualities (touch, massage, manipulation, etc.), or ventures into the realm of mind control (meditation, biofeedback, etc.) as a special quality of man's relationship to a universal intelligence.

3.5. The illusion of power as an intrinsic quality of the body to heal itself, or as a manifestation of an extrinsic source could be misleading. It fails to recognize the "intent and design" of the biological organism as a mobilizing force that could play some part in the role of biological plasticity, whether grossly evolutionary or simplistically refined as a healing response.

3.6. The ability to understand alternative medicine may not be understood until the myth is separated from the mysticism. Nor will it make any sense until science can find a biological marker that registers change in global response to its environment. The ability for the body to "heal itself" implies a power without a mechanism. The hypothesis that either intrinsic or extrinsic interventions represent an alteration in information processing within biological systems can only be presented as a conjectural, and yet plausible explanation for the holistic encounter.

Seutter, V. "Commentary: Holism, Alternative Medicine, and Why Chiropractic Embraces It. Holism: From Myth to Mysticism and Science Caught In Between" Chiropractic Resource Organization. 8 Oct 1997. ChiroZine ISSN1525-4550
1997-2001 All rights reserved.

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