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


8.0  Sorting Out the Myth from the Mysticism  (.8.0)

8.1 While Jamison recognizes that a communicating, interactive relationship contributes to the placebo effect in the holistic paradigm (7.1), Mootz is willing to carry the idea further suggesting that alternative medicine (including chiropractic) may need to "explore beyond contemporary patterns of thinking (7.2)." How we do this is anyone's guess since noone seems to be able to define what holism is all about. The definitive characteristics of holism have yet to emerge that pinpoint the use of tools for inquiry.

8.2 Chiropractic, in particular, has not been able to fulfill Kuhn's requirements for paradigmatic change; that modeling of the subluxation complex along present lines of inquiry is not sufficient to explain the effects of chiropractic intervention (manipulation). Nor, for that matter, when Keating questions the emergence of a "new holistic biology (8.2)," can holists (and chiropractors) consider themselves as forerunners of a new paradigmatic shift without evidence to support their claim.

8.3 Obviously, if tools for inquiry into holistic (and chiropractic) care cannot be found using present reducto - mechanistic methods, then some reexamination of the original theory may be appropriate. To avoid contention, this is not the same as arguing that chiropractic "doesn't work." For all practical purposes, chiropractic clinician's appear quite satisfied that something is working. The mechanistic model of the subluxation (and its complex) has been a pragmatic indicator to representational changes within the paradigmatic definition of chiropractic theory [8.3].It has not, however, found the ability to find tools for inquiry that provide a cumulative record consistent with the observable findings.

8.4 Previous discussion has focused on constructs in thinking that define holism within a contextual sense. Much of this thinking stresses the role of information as an artificial construct to explain the effects of the holistic encounter. It involves a global approach in which information modules/constructs are subjected to analysis as a model of the real event. More elaborate analysis might involve computational modeling in an attempt to find probability in the data.

8.5 While the above may appear straight-forward using a contextual model as a possible tool for analysis, the problem for holism, however, is complicated by the classical ideas of holism. Sorting the myth from the mysticism in the classical holistic sense is slightly different than viewing holism from a contemporary perspective. The distinctions between mind and body are remarkable but nowhere near the ability to examine with demarcational exactitude. Holism, and chiropractic, continue to explain their art from the classical Platonian perspective in which the continuity of life is contained within the thread that links man to his creator. In a Descartian sense, the dualism that represents the "stuff" and the "stuff'n" suggest that a direct link from material to nonmaterial is not possible. Those who pursue inquiry into artificial intelligence as a quantum leap from classical physics might argue that "we do not yet understand physics sufficiently well that the functioning of our brains can be adequately described in terms of it, even in principle (8.5)." Perhaps the myth is contained in this inability to traverse the gulf between the mechanistic, bioengineering model of body function versus that of an information system that seeks self-organization through a communicative intelligence. The former relegates intent and design to a deterministic, fatalistic outcome whereas the latter interacts through mutual causal loops in which the intent and design is through self-organization that manifests as a biological function. The nature of man, in the former context, is one containing a dualistic description of opposites that can only be supported by a leap of faith in the mechano-engineering model of inquiry. On the other hand, taken from the perspective of an information system, a coordinational system begins to emerge that represents an integration of mutual causal loops with self-organization as a non deterministic attribute.

HOW TO CITE THIS ARTICLE
Seutter, V. "Commentary: Holism, Alternative Medicine, and Why Chiropractic Embraces It. Sorting Out the Myth from the Mysticism" Chiropractic Resource Organization. 8 Oct 1997. ChiroZine ISSN1525-4550
(c) 1997-2001 Chiro.org. All rights reserved.


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(c) 1997 Chiropractic Resource Organization. All Rights Reserved. Reprint by permission.


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