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Culture, Health, The Swimming Instinct and Placebo’s

December 5, 2013

We are born with an instinctual ability to swim, but lose this ability through social conditioning in our early years that tells us to avoid and be scared of water, due to our parents fear of us drowning, shouting at us when we are near water, for example, and transferring their fear to us. In a similar instance we are told from a young age when we are ill that the first thing to do is go and see the doctor. As a result, a conditioning is set up in our minds that we cannot begin the healing process till we have taken this first step of contacting the doctor. Consequently, many people find they get better on the way to the doctor as there body has relaxed into its natural instinctual healing pattern, now that the fear/stress of their conditioning has been dissolved or appeased.

This leads us on to the placebo effect. Much of this effect is attributable to the releasing of stress in our system that comes when we feel we are on the correct path to healing. Once this purely mental stress has gone, the body is left free to perform its instinctual healing process at full power, without the mental stressors holding it back. So, mentally, we expect a pill in our western conditioning when we are ill to heal us. As a result once we have been given a pill, any pill, it could just be a sugar pill. The natural instinctual healing process is freed up to begin its work. In other words, the placebo effect is a misnomer. It suggests it is a non-significant effect somehow to the healing process, when it is actually the most important aspect of the natural healing process.

Medicine has created this misnomer to justify its own pre-eminence in the healing process. And as a means to skew all evidence and empirical data in favor of the efficacy of their medicines, compared to things such as alternative medicine and other crazy things such as just being there to give someone support and positive caring thoughts! Any of these effects are added on to the placebo, as if this somehow undermines their credibility. When the placebo itself is not a non-significant effect, but is indicative of our own instinctual healing powers kicking into action.

So I have been discussing here how our cultural and social conditioning can move us away from our natural instinctual responses, by setting up stressors/fears in us that inhibit these responses. There is every reason to believe this is happening in many other areas also, and is the source of much of our unhappiness and discontent in the modern world. All these inhibitions can manifest as things such as anxiety and depression. Two of the most common health complaints in modern society. That leads us to turn to things in an addictive manner, such as various drugs, sexual practices, etc..

We have to then ask ourselves the question: Is medicine making us better, or is it making us more ill, to justify finding more ways to make us better? It is not about a luddite denial of good medicine here, but simply of a recognition of ways in which our cultural conditioning can be unhealthy. And that without our own personal awareness and natural instinctual healing powers not all the medical technology in the world could make us healthy.

These thoughts came to me as a result of listening to this fascinating talk between Rupert Sheldrake and Bruce Lipton: A Quest Beyond the Limits of the Ordinary.

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