I was on a trip recently and there was a medical doctor in the group. Each time a question would come up that was related to health, the doctor would speak up as though he were the acknowledged authority to answer the question. If anyone else in the group tried to offer their insight, he would quote clinical studies and medical textbooks to gradually silence everyone in the group regarding anything health-related.
Now when were doctors given inalienable rights over knowledge of the human body? One thing I see day in and day out is that each person knows their body better than anyone, even their doctor. Yet they will tell me they have a diagnosis, are receiving treatment for the diagnosis, and still feel that their body is not “right”.
I feel this is because the knowledge that a physician has is predominantly objective knowledge, while people have experiential knowledge. Medicine seems to have given objective knowledge exclusive priority when looking at the human body, and intuition, experience, emotion and lifestyle have all been relegated to a position of non-importance, that place of N/A or not applicable. But when we want our bodies to heal, we are seeking to feel whole again. If we only pay attention to objective knowledge, then everything that is “us” is disregarded. We are treating only the objective part of ourselves that is identical to everyone else. We can never be whole in that way…
The word knowledge comes from Middle English and means to acknowledge or recognize. In other words, knowledge isn’t objective, it’s subjective. It has to be “acknowledged” and we as patients have to “recognize” the validity of what the physician is saying. So he has to explain things in a way that allows us to understand sufficiently to have that moment of “recognition”. So why do doctors believe we don’t need to understand what is happening? Why should we be content with a name and then go scurrying home to the internet to try to make our diagnosis personal.
The problem here is that only licensed physicians are acknowledged to be able to “diagnose” an ailment. Now again, if we look at the word diagnosis, it means to “distinguish, to discern, to recognize”. Doctors are applying the BIG BOOK of medical facts to your symptoms to obtain a diagnosis. And we believe that only they can do this. They are attempting to point out that your symptoms have occurred in numerous other people and so what their diagnosis was is also yours – what happened to them (the prognosis) is the same as what is happening to you.
But if every body is different, then how can your symptoms be identical to those of another person? The answer is, they can’t. They are YOUR symptoms and they are expressions of your body – in other words they are subjective, subject to your body and its history, lifestyle and experience. This is why there are people who survive an illness and those who don’t, those who become debilitated and those who thrive, those who smoke and drink and live to be 100 and those who die at 40 while jogging.
Knowledge is not something that should be isolated into the hands of a few “specialists”. Because then it becomes simply objective and loses the ability to bring objective and subjective information together for knowledge to occur. If we constantly look to an individuals’ credentials to determine the value of the knowledge they provide, then are we shutting off the idea lightbulbs before they even happen. Haven’t the most amazing things come from those moments when the lightbulb went on?
That is what is necessary in medicine – for us to respect the lightbulb. When our lightbulb illuminates, then we have recognized, we have knowledge. Knowledge is power, and power should never be concentrated in the hands of a few. If we believe that only licensed physicians can know what is the cause of our symptoms, then we will lose the illumination of millions of lightbulbs and our bodies will never be truly healed.