The Body: Made of Miracles Not Molecules
While your first hand experience is considered of secondary importance in the Biomedical Age, which looks at your body as a biomachine best characterized in molecular terms, the “placebo effect” has opened up an entirely new world of possibility which may end up transforming Medicine and our world view as a whole.
One of the greatest if not the greatest triumph of biomedical science today is its role in validating ancient healing modalities that long before the advent of science, and even recorded history itself, were passed down “orally” from generation to generation in the vast body of folkloric medical knowledge that still forms the basis for the majority of the world’s primary health care system. These so-called “natural” or “alternative” modalities, which our species owes its present day survivorship to after eons of dependency on them, are increasingly gaining the attention of men and women in white lab coats intent on unlocking the mysteries of how they work, and in many cases, why they work better than patented, synthetic, chemical-based medications.
Before we had the penetrating and increasingly all-seeing gaze of Biomedicine and its technologies, we did not know how a plant or drug’s molecules interacted to bring about changes in the molecules within our body. Spurred by the avowedly amoral vivisectionist tradition of René Decartes, and cutting into the very sentient fabric of living things, the biomedical gaze opened up the vastitude and fractal dimensionality of biological space for the first time, also cutting through ancient moral and intellectual codes that explicitly forbade such information-gathering techniques. Billions of animals were sacrificed to bring to the world this morbidly obtained body of information, no doubt imprinted in some way with the distorting karma of unnecessary suffering. And yet, while dark in origin, today, we have at our disposal literally millions of published studies, with hundreds of thousands specifically identifying the mechanisms of action subtending the healing properties of plants, minerals, vitamins, and other natural compounds and therapeutic actions. This has legitimized the use of food as medicine, even in the eyes of those who once applied the most ruthlessly skeptical criteria to validating medical interventions conceivable: namely, that a substance should be considered invalid, despite thousands of years of safe and effective use, until proven scientifically to work – even if capital restrictions to fund research and clinical trials were prohibitive. Of course, we have yet to see the vast majority of physicians prescribe lifestyle and dietary modifications as a standard for primary care, but there is now legitimate scientific justification for doing so which did not exist even a decade ago.
But truth be told, this body of “hard science,” e.g. the scientific fact that we are bodies comprised of tissues comprised of molecules comprised of atoms, never was, and never will be something we experience directly, i.e. it is not within the realm of phenomenological experience but rather abstraction. After decades of technocratic/scientistic enculturation, we know think we know molecules and their effects in our life, e.g. adrenaline, caffeine, testosterone, better than we know our own feelings, thoughts, intentions; and so, we risk profound alienation by the reification of abstractions, such that ideas about our experiences become more real to us than those actual experiences themselves. For instance, if you see your body only as a thing, instead of also a capacity to render the entire universe of things perceptible, or that thing through which the universe experiences itself, you are living an illusion. You have allowed the “wave function” of experience to collapse upon itself, rendering yourself and by implication all things you experience to be objects in an infinite expanse of objects.
Biomedicine’s sorcery-like power is in making the invisible within us visible. An MRI reveals to the onlooker, we imagine, what only a shaman of the pre-modern era could perceive. But what is visible, this very limited band of the electromagnetic spectrum, is so partial a glimpse of all that is there to perceive, that embracing this layer as primary, relegating our synesthetic, lived-experience, and the hyper-intelligence of unfiltered perception and intuition, to a secondary or tertiary authority in our lives, can only be described as epistemologically absurd. And yet, is this not exactly what the Medical Industrial Complex, and the reductionistic materialist cosmology of the Great Object (cf Merleau-Ponty), has succeeded in having us do to ourselves? A subject who has not only been convinced that it is an object, but should occupy itself with further self-objectification itself under the ruse of self-knowing or bodily self-preservation, down to the deepest, most granular layer of structure, is more algorithm than human. We are more than bodies, despite what biomedicine would posit. I can be a lesionless, biologically perfect specimen, but retain but a fragment of my humanity and self-presence as a human; or rather, as a soul living within a body and having a human experience. I can be riddled with cancer, my body falling apart under the weight of entropy, and feel wholer than I ever have been in my life, moments away from death.
Despite, or perhaps because, of the specter of self-alienation awakened by the rise of Biomedicine, I believe we are presently poised on the precipice of a new phase in medicine, where we will be invited to abandon fundamental, thousand year old assumptions, in order to open ourselves to a type, and an experience, of healing that transcends even our central obsession with the body. Sloughed off will be this 20th century projection of the body-as-machine, in favor of a body we live and experience through first and foremost (making our “subjectivity” first in order of priority, ontologically); a body, which when we talk about it’s structure, is acknowledged to be comprised primarily of information, light and water. Biomedicine, by its fundamental design, assumes like the butcher we are a piece of carrion, whose excreta include consciousness: the kidney produces urine, the brain produces the epiphenomena of thought, no? The latter, the mind, is not even treated as medically relevant in a wide range of conditions that rely on scanning the body as a visible object, and then treating visible structures (organs and their lesions), mostly with chemicals and surgical procedures. But these interventions are operating on an illusory body, that while relevant, is not intrinsically real. There is no actual “meat” in the experience of the lived-body, that body we experience the world through, and which itself can not be seen, as it is the background condition of possibility through which all else is made visible and sentient, relegated as it has been to the ghost in the machine of modern medicine.
Interestingly, my original project to create the GreenMedInfo.com database, making available to the public the science supporting ancient healing traditions, sometimes reiterates some of the same assumptions discussed above. While we have an open access database of over 20,000 study abstracts from the National Library of Medicine’s bibliographic reference MEDLINE (searchable through the pubmed.gov engine), and we are happy to say that we have already cataloged research supporting natural interventions for over 3,000 Ailments, the intellectual framework is still fundamentally biomedical, whether in allopathic or naturopathic expression. And so, our categorization of the research, displayed across conventional diseases, healing substances, and pharmacological actions, can only go so far. We want to go deeper, which is the only way to truly relieve physical, mental , and suffering, none of which are truly separable.
For instance, we’ve reported extensively in the past on the potential of natural compounds to stimulate regeneration of various tissue types, and consider this information to be an integral component of the future medical system (epi-medicine) that is gestating as we speak, though not yet born. Without an understanding of the role of regeneration as the default ontological state of the human body, without an intimate understanding of it, we cannot understand nor treat sickness and disease. The cause of cancer, for instance, rather than a set of malicious genetic instructions – preprogrammed or environmentally caused “mutations” — is to be understood as a regenerative capacity within the body, albeit thwarted and misguided. Stem cells, which are responsible for performing the miracle of regenerating and replenishing tissue that is damaged, and which are themselves relatively immortal, can become cancer stem cells: damaged and misinformed versions of their former selves, wreaking havoc on the multicellular community they once formed a centrally role in healing and sustaining, ironically incapable of dying which makes them a mortal threat to all other cells within the body.
Indeed, formal diseases today are really just reified symptoms of the body’s attempts to heal, often in less than ideal circumstances. But still, they originate from this fundamental instinct and intelligence that performs the miracle of maintaining our wholeness, daily, without thought or action on our part. Imagine what happens when in the name of “saving” the patient, their symptoms of bodily self-healing are suppressed with chemicals? You have added a new, real disease (poisoning/misinformation/dysregulation) on top of a health-promoting process. And when the body often reacts with renewed intensity with new symptoms of self-healing, and the chemical, radiological or surgical suppressive intervention is applied again, the disability and death that follows is often blamed on a “new disease,” a reification of a projected illusion used to justify the wrong treatment approach. And this way the aggressor: the iatrogenic effects of a deranged standard of care, can blame the victim for “treatment failure,” as is so often the case for the overdiagnosis and overtreatment of cancer.
So what about so-called congenital, “fated” diseases? An archetypal example would be cystic fibrosis (CF), but which can be treated epigenetically (e.g. curcumin, selenium, gluten/dairy free, vaginal birth), with examples of those diagnosed with CF living to a normal old age (Katherine Shores, 77 years of age). Even the now vast array of SNPs that have been identified, often described as “gene mutations,” should be called variations and can be visioned performing highly adaptive roles when contextualized epigenetically, nutrigenomically, climatologically, within particular longitudinal/latitudinal ecologically complementary niches. CF, in fact, we now know may protect against cholera. Sickle cell anemia against malaria. Celiac disease, certain types of cancer. Deviations from normality are not necessarily pathologies. No, in fact, the concept of a generic normal that should be applied to everyone, regardless of bioindividuality, could itself be considered a highly pathological/disease-promoting illusion. This is why allopathic medicine, and its in-built assumptions — many of which are false — is beginning to lose its grip on the populace, perhaps in preparation for it being shed like skin as the Zietgeist continues forward.
Possibility is what the human body is made of. It’s actual expression at any given moment in space-time, as a measured object, is like the collapse of the wave function in quantum mechanics: more an illusion of structure generated by the instrument of observation than an accurate phenomenological/ontological depiction of what the body is. The monolithic disease model simply will not fit onto such a definition of the human body. In recognition of the true nature of the body, “disease” as it has been known for well over the century cannot exist beyond an illusion we seem intent on reifiying.
Ultimately, all medical traditions rely on the body’s self-healing power to produce positive results, and almost always take credit for it, including even the field of nutrition. In fact, to perceive the true nature of the body and all biological systems is to perceive it like a flame, a dissipative structure, as much process as structure, as much dependent on ceaseless dissolution and “death” as on the building-up process we most associate with life. The concept that “you need to take something” to heal, be it synthetic or natural, is still fundamentally inaccurate. In fact, the act of taking something/receiving something believed to be healing is so powerful (placebo effect) as to be Eucharistic, as to cross, confuse, merge the secular and sacred notions of healing. The psychic root of the placebo effect may stem from the original experience of being born into the primary mother-infant dyad, with breastfeeding — the first meal simultaneous with the first act an experience of sensual love — also delivering the “inert” lactose-rich elixir of breast milk. This experience can not be said to occur on the level of “belief,” but is built into us as a deep, soulful, bodily knowing that Nature/Mother’s kindness gives us permission to relax, to be nourished, and to heal.
This subconscious structure of the original healing dyad can become re-activated within the context of the clinical ritual. If successful, it can release within us a powerful force of self-healing; this “permission” we give ourselves to regain wholeness is at least as much responsible for the healing properties of the placebo effect as anything intrinsic to the ‘thing itself’ being ingested or applied. The “doctor” in this view becomes herself a drug, and all medicine now becomes primarily informational in nature, chemical only sometimes and always of secondary significance. In truth, it is no longer what the doctor says or does that becomes of prime importance, rather, it is how she says or does it. If the medical authority embodies kindness and authenticity, they mirror back to us our wholeness, and this informational blueprint helps our bodies and psyches recover back to our default state of wholeness, health, and sacredness.
But it goes even deeper. As we evolve and individuate, and recognize that our healing power is not dependent on the actions or inactions of the “other,” we move towards a form of liberation from the need for “healers” outside ourselves that can result in the ultimate form of freedom and self-empowerment. How do we reach this high-minded point, while we still appear to ourselves and modern day priests of the body to be biomechanical entities, complex machines comprised of molecules comprised of atoms comprised of quanta?
We are all this living miracle, strangely incapable of apprehending itself as such, despite the obviousness of it…
When you consider the explosion out of the void of the human embryo from two germline cells merging (egg and sperm), this miraculous process from which all our bodies derive, can not be exhaustively explained by the quantity nor interaction of biomolecular building-blocks, e.g. amino acids, lipids, sugars, minerals, available to the process of embryogenesis. Nor can we explain the immortal thread of the germline cells within our body (sperm and stem cells), which are theoretically capable of infinite replicative potential, and all of them existing within the bodies of everyone who inhabit our planet today tracking back without discontinuity to the Last Universal Common Ancestor cell that came into being some three and one half billion years ago. The deeper you look at biological phenomena through the extremely high resolution lens of molecular biology, the easier it is to apprehend that everything is centered and hinged on nuclei of absolute mystery. It is simply awing to comprehend the incomprehensibility of life, though simultaneously, that nonetheless life does indeed exist! In the Eastern tradition, it is sometimes referred to as a perception of such-ness. The fact that things are, relative to the equal if not more compelling possibility that things shouldn’t exist at all, is a fundamental layer of significance in our experience – assuming we cast off the blinders and assumptions – that we can all default to, and it as much matter-of-fact as it is astoundingly profound and awe inspiring.
Medicine may need to move aside for the future of healthcare, which will return to the fundamentals of mindset (knowing we can heal anything), fresh air, water, and sunlight.
Article Source: GreenMedInfo