Why we have what we've got
Authorities of our healthcare system are very keen to emphasize that we are so lucky to live now, a time of medical excellence, instead of in those primitive days without medical care and with life being governed by superstition. Those sad days when people didn't live long, were unhealthy and poor and didn't have the means to maintain proper health are luckily over. When we look at the history of our knowledge about disease and health we quickly realise that the belief in a primitive historical beginning is nothing more than a rather simplistic view of those times and circumstances. First we have to concede that illness and disease has always existed and has always played a major role in human history and that therefore people have always been looking for answers and have always tried to explain their observations. It is therefore nothing new and although indeed there have been times where surviving wasn't easy, there have also been times when people were much healthier and lived longer than we do today.
It is somewhat arrogant to believe that in those tens of thousands of years human beings have had nothing sensible to say about health and illness, while even today we notice that, no matter how primitive we consider certain people to be, they all have ways of treating diseases. Every tribe or group of human beings that have ever lived has had a way of responding to diseases. What I find hard to believe is that people will continue to use the same method to combat illness for thousands of years if they get confronted, time and time again, with the uselessness of that method. You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all the people all of the time. Just imagine these people were building their boats based on that same principle. Time and time again they noticed the boats sank but for many thousands of years they continued using the same trusted sinkable method, simply because they don't know any better. I don't think so. It may go on for a while but by making mistakes people will learn and rectify what they are doing wrong. Take a look at our own methods. For over a century we have been using radiation and chemotherapy to fight cancer and even though we all observe that people are not being cured of the cancerous process by these methods we persist in our habits. But that, I can guarantee you, won't continue.
It is hard to consider in which way every group of human beings on this planet approaches every possible disease and it is hard to register every method they use. What we can do is taking a look at scriptures that have laid out philosophies and healing methods, guiding us throughout many centuries. The oldest known writings in this respect are on the one hand the Vedas and the Ayurvedic medical system (5000BC) and on the other the Chinese medical system (3000BC). Two independently evolved systems so long ago and neither have felt the need for major changes over all these years and, remarkably, the basic principles of both have many similarities. The same principles and the same methods are present in both systems and are still applied today as they were thousands of years ago. Throughout the ages and throughout many changes in human life none of the fundamental ideas within those systems have been seriously challenged by those changes.
What are those fundamentals? The human being exists in two parts, body and mind. The mind is the driving force of life and governs the body. Health is a balance and every disease is a manifestation of a disturbance of this balance. Life consists of three basic forces. In Ayurveda they are named as energy, the force that brings life, as wind, the force that expands, and as earth, the force that contracts. In Chinese medicine they mention Qi, the life force, and yang, the expansion force, and yin, the contraction force. Both systems only consider two types of diseases, two ways of unbalancing life, either expansion or contraction. Both systems consider all influences to be playing a part in life's balance. So there never is just one cause of a disease, but rather it is a combination of lots of factors coming together. Both systems consider the individual with the disease to be the main factor in the healing process. The healing method is a series of recommendations for this person to implement in his or her life, directed to restoring the balance. In the scriptures we find many recommendations on how to maintain balance for different constitutions, an acknowledgement that not all human beings are the same and are in need of the same. These are directions for minor adjustments to be made and their main aim lies in the prevention of a major imbalance occurring. Other, more drastic, methods were used in serious imbalances. These were never meant to be used on a long term basis and they were the privilege of the temples and clinics where people would become instructed in the knowledge of life. And let's not forget that in a typical Chinese village it was customary for the doctor to visit once a year to help people remain healthy, not to take care of every acute occurrence. Health was considered to be the responsibility of the individual, not of the doctor. In both systems, astrology plays a central role in medicine, in the balance between the individual and the outside world, the cosmos.
In the Western world scriptures of this nature appear first with Hippocrates, who is generally seen as 'the father of medicine'. He was born around 460BC on the isle of Kos as the son of a doctor. And although we now know that not all writings are of his personal hand, he is celebrated for rejecting the idea that cosmic influences can play a part in the disease processes on earth. This is a first known diversion from the two traditional philosophies and medical systems. In the West, for the first time, a choice has been made to divert from the existing knowledge and the reason it takes root is because the existing knowledge is being ridiculed, being laughed at without understanding it. There are no further arguments in the assumption that those influences are not important. They simply are not, because it is an inconceivable idea!
All factors causing diseases were seen to be earthly and all treatment methods were earthly too. This, of course, forms the basis of western thinking in terms of health and disease, although we still, over the years, see many time frames and many important philosophies that reconnect with the traditional thinking and scriptures. From the early days there is heavy protest against the views of Hippocrates. The duality of either regarding solely earthly influences or regarding all influences as playing a part in the disease process is played out in our Western history. Let's take a brief look at some important facts from our history books.
- During the Middle Ages there is a return to a cosmic cause for diseases. It is simply seen as a 'punishment by God'. Disease was simply the result of a mistake the person has made and the way to healing was to ask for forgiveness. Spontaneous recoveries were said to be caused by something holy. Health and disease were claimed by religion as a way to instruct people in life.
- At the same time, in the Arabic world the development of chemistry and alchemy were the main scientific focus. Later, this knowledge would arrive in the West, allowing a return to the idea that there existed a physical link between disease and its possible causes in matter, on earth.
- 1221 - The first officially organised medical school was established in Salerno (Italy). It was generally believed that a formal education would lead to better informed doctors and the Roman Emperor Frederick II declared "only graduates from Salerno were allowed to be known as doctors".
- In that same period we see in Britain the official registration and organisation of barbers becoming surgeons by Royal Charter. Authorities are being created to establish what is right and what isn't. Big hospitals were erected by religious organisations and were part of abbeys, monasteries and nunneries, safeguarding the power of religion over the individual.
- During the Renaissance in Europe a scientific revolution seems to be taking place with people like Galilei, Brahe, Kepler and Copernicus. Paracelsus re-establishes the link to Hippocrates, with the exception that he believes in supernatural powers that may influence health and diseases. He introduces chemical medicines to replace the herbal remedies, bringing that knowledge across from the Arabic world. Vesalius elevates dissection to a science and delivers new insights into the anatomy of the human body. On the basis of his work, disease is now seen as the mechanical failing of a machine. At the same time one is keen on empirical proof and statistics, which brings scientific fields such as astronomy, physics, biology and anatomy into the picture.
- During the 17th century we see Francis Bacon, René Descartes and Sir Isaac Newton lay the foundations for western modern science. Now the human being is considered to be a machine that functions mechanically. The focus shifts towards examining the mechanical aspects of the body, rather than the potential influences on the body. All diseases have to be caused by mechanical failings. Besides this line of thinking there is a school that fully focuses on the chemical processes of the body and of nature. They want to explain everything via chemical interactions.
- In the 18th century we notice the development of two opposing, fundamentally different, lines of thinking. In 1761 Giovanni Batista Morgagni published what has become the basic work on modern pathology. He sought a connection between the state of the tissues at a post-mortem with the clinical picture during life. To this day this is still a very important factor in western medicine whereby we use the autopsy as a definite way of 'understanding' what has happened to a person during his life. We also still use the way the tissues look as the ultimate knowledge about what is happening and in order to enhance that kind of understanding we use scans and other imagery to provide us with the necessary pictures.
- During that same period, John Brown, a Scottish physician, described disease as an imbalance of 'excitement'. The body responds to stimuli and depending on the degree of excitement, measured as we measure temperature, there is either balance, health, or imbalance, one of two disease patterns. The first form of disease is caused by overstimulation, too much excitement, and the other form is caused by too little stimulation.
- Samuel Thompson (1769 - 1843) became a celebrity in Vermont (USA) and way beyond because he collected and used natural remedies from the Natives. He established herbal colleges and botanical societies all over America. Dr A I Coffin brought the Thompson system of medicine to England and Europe and in 1845 he founded the Association of Herbal Medicine (UK), which a year later became the National Institute of Medical Herbalists. This is still the oldest professional organisation of herbal medicine in the world.
- Samuel Hahnemann (1755 - 1843) is known as the inventor and founder of homeopathy. This system rested on a number of pillars. First of all, all influences have an effect on a single life and all signals and signs from that life belong to the same effect, the same imbalance. Secondly, characteristics from one tissue can be transferred to another tissue and water is a tissue that absorbs such characteristics readily. Water adapts very quickly to its environment and can pass these characteristics on to other tissues. Thirdly, only a small impulse is needed to stimulate living tissue into receiving the message of specific characteristics. Hahnemann discovered that less matter, a lower concentration, actually meant a higher stimulating effect. Fourthly, he determined that in order to establish healing one needed to stimulate the disease rather than trying to oppose it. Stimulating the disease process by a single remedy that has the specific characteristics of the disease itself results in a reaction from within the living system to rebalance life, to heal the disease. Hahnemann demonstrated that all effects are important, that there is information exchange between various tissues, that this exchange does not happen via chemicals but via a non-physical (energetic) pathway and he demonstrated that disease disappears when you stimulate the disease process, not when you are fighting it.
The duality between the approaches via the purely physical way or the energetic way, via the singular detailed way or the multiplex holistic way, has remained present to this day in our western medical scientific world. These systems are not being treated equally though and a definite choice has been made whereby the system preferring the mechanical/chemical causes of diseases has been expanded and promoted, thereby denigrating the other system. This is a process that has been completed over the next two centuries.
- In the 19th century, Louis Pasteur repeated experiments from researchers like Claude Bernard and professor Antoine Béchamps without fully understanding conditions and working methods of scientific research and he drew conclusions from these experiments that to the scientific and academic powers of that time were irresponsible and way beyond the scope of the experiment itself. Pasteur declared that infectious diseases were caused by micro-organisms in the outside world, penetrating the human body and causing great destruction to the tissues. These micro-organisms are all individuals and do not change from one form into another. His firm recommendation was that each human being needed protection against these micro-organisms and that this could be achieved through vaccination. The scientific community of that time proved that the presence of these micro-organisms in the diseased tissue was a result of the tissue being already diseased and that the micro-organisms were in no way responsible for the beginning of the disease. First the tissue becomes dysfunctional and diseased, which leads to a breakdown of tissue structure and from within this debris bacteria originate spontaneously to feed on the specific debris that is present. It was also demonstrated that bacteria are all related and that they alter form according to the outside circumstances. One bacteria changes into another one, if and when needed. The scientific consensus was that there is only one real protection against infectious diseases and that is to stay healthy, to remain in balance. Investors backed the Pasteur idea.
- Günther Einderlein, Wilhelm Reich, Royal Raymond Rife are all researchers who have independently confirmed and publish results to show that micro-organisms originate from within the diseased tissue. Gaston Naessens even describes the various evolutionary steps that micro-organisms go through in their cycle of life, changing from one form into another. He discovered sixteen stages in this transformation process and in those stages all known bacteria and fungi are present. Medical authorities backed by governments destroyed much of this research.
- In the United States of America a massive outcry after the death of President G Washington in 1799 questioned the medical practice of the time. In this framework John D Rockefeller, a billionaire and oil tycoon, championed the idea to use coal tar, a derivative from oil, to influence body and mind of the human being. He had noticed that a lot of medicines actually are toxic products, of which he had an awful lot, waste from the oil refinery process. In his day medicine consisted mainly of chiropraxie, naturopathy, homeopathy and herbal medicine and there was very little need for toxic matter as medicines.
- Rockefeller hired Abraham Flexner to produce a rapport (1910) that showed that there were too many doctors and too much diversity in medical schools. According to the rapport, there was an urgent need to standardise medical training. Flexner proposed that only allopathically trained doctors (Hahnemann: allopathic medicine is medicine through suppressing symptoms) would be given a license to practise medicine. All other forms of medicine were banned and determined to be unscientific quackery. Only schools that were recognised by the American Medical Association, founded in 1848, were entitled to train doctors. The American Congress approved the proposal, which resulted in lawfully banning all other forms of medicine. Rockefeller had managed to sweep all obstacles of the table and opened the road to the development of a medical industry, protected by law, without any opposition. Government chose to take control of knowledge, of what is true and what isn't. Government now owns the truth.
- In 1913 large subsidies were granted to the best schools for spreading the allopathic medicine message and to study healing properties of plants and herbs in order to identify and isolate the active ingredient. Then this ingredient would be patented and chemically produced. This is followed by a government campaign warning people about the dangers of the plant or herb.
- In 1946 the Hill-Burton Act provided hospitals with building subsidies in return for offering free allopathic healthcare. Once people had switched to this system and had become dependent upon the service, a charge was introduced. Today we have private healthcare whereby the patient is charged for every action and consultation, and we have a 'free' healthcare system whereby every action and consultation is charged to the community. There is a compulsory contribution for every citizen towards this 'free' scheme, that is bankrupting the country whilst at the same time sponsoring a multi-billion industry.
The last two centuries of Western history have consolidated the end of the traditional free thinking and personal decision making regarding your personal healthcare on the one hand and the growth of an industry-led healthcare system on the other. It is like a state religion and nobody educated in a different framework, nobody who has different knowledge, has a right to speak. Doctors are the only profession legally allowed to comment on health and disease. Medical authorities have been handed, by governments, the control over knowledge about health and disease. The entire system is kept alive by subsidies, public money that is given to a private company. An example of this are the large subsidies pharmaceutical companies receive from the government, public money, for cancer research. On top of that, over the last few decades an enormous number of charity organisations collect vast amounts of money to fund pharmaceutical research programmes to find cures for cancer. When this results in a new drug or a new procedure, all paid for by the community - twice!! -, there follows a rigid testing programme, set out in law, which takes a long time and costs a lot of money. However, pharmaceutical companies use the media to sent out stories of people in need who are not allowed this life-saving (unproven as yet!) drug or procedure simply because the government refuses to give them a license to use it. The result is a public outcry, and bingo a license is given, without the need for any testing at all. And by the way, you do understand that this drug or procedure has to be very expensive because of the vast amounts of money the company has invested over many many years, don't you? Only it wasn't there money; it was public money.
The other side of that coin is that more and more 'active ingredients' are being patented and more and more plants are being named and shamed as being harmful to your health. An overview of Western society tells us that growing your own vegetables is dangerous (soil pollution), so are eggs from your own chickens (Salmonella) or using water from your own well (water pollution). Authorities talk about purifying our world, whilst at the same time the industry is allowed to pollute and to leave the cleaning up to the community (take plastic as an example). 'Artificial' still is safer and better than 'natural', even when we talk about baby food. Apparently natural foods need to be enhanced before they are of any real use to us
The correct name for western medicine is not traditional or regular medicine, it actually is allopathic medicine. This refers to fighting or reducing the symptoms, the signs of the disease, inferring that the disappearance of those signs equals a cure, equals the disappearance of the disease itself. Authorities make us believe that medicine in modern times has moved on so much. But although technology has moved fast, the way we approach health and disease hasn't changed at all over the past two centuries. Governments and medical authorities have hijacked knowledge of health and disease and have full control. Although science has seen the breakthrough of quantum physics, proving that all mater is energy and that life is an exchange of energies, western medicine remains stuck in physical causes and interactions. The Uncertainty Principle has established the fact that every observation is subjective and that every observation changes what is being observed. This means that no test can deliver a result with a fixed meaning. It also proves that what is beneficial for one person may not be for another, and what is beneficial to one person today may not be tomorrow. In other words, there is no health scheme that serves the people as a group and there is no best way of treating diseases.
It turns out that diseases are indeed an individual issue, not a group issue, and that only that specific individual can do something about it. When allopathic medicine incorporates the science learned in Quantum Physics it ceases to exist as a system for healthcare. It then has to shift its focus from the industry and control of the market to the individual and the ever-changing circumstances of life. The power over an individual life should be with that individual, and should only be with that individual. Health is an individual issue and therefore healthcare cannot be a system or an industry.
Learning the lessons from science it is long overdue that we cancel the arrangements Rockefeller has imposed on the western world and that we allow individuals to take control over their own health themselves.
Freedom of action.
Freedom of speech.
Freedom of thought.