Knowing Enough About Systems to be Dangerous

May 30th, 2008 by Nick Jacobs Leave a reply »

From the age of about eight until 20 years ago, my entire life was immersed in music, education, the arts and, in a very pure way, people in general.  It was a complex world that required a deep, intuitive understanding of the human condition on multiple levels.  In a very general way, that life, (pre-health care management) was all about systems.  

Obviously, it was never just about one or two individuals, and it was not about life and death, but it was magnificently complex in its own way. It involved working with  people to do something that was extremely challenging, that required incredible hand/eye co-ordination, and an ensemble mindset of co-operativeness that was paramount to success.  Most importantly, it required them to listen intently to each other so as to find the perfect balance, blend and intonation. 

The nuances of taking a systemic approach to the creation of music through the efforts of an ensemble in many ways have escaped our world of healing, at least until now. 

At a recent visit to my dentist, he and his hygienist were talking about the fact that the doc had just taken a continuing medical education course.  When he was asked if anything new had evolved from his class, he smiled and said, "Well, for the first time in 28 years of practice, they admitted that the mouth is connected to the body."  He went on to elaborate about the fact that each and every day he sees the destruction caused by inflammatory disease of the gums, and then told me about his attempts to communicate that information to a physician friend several years ago.  "It just didn't register," he said. 

What little we know about inflammatory disease has us dutifully brushing our dog's teeth to prevent a heart condition, yet we still do not have direct lines of communication between our primary or cardiac physicians and the the dentists who see these problems as they manifest themselves in our body.  

Someone once told me that Descartes' Treatise of Man played a major role in the imposed medical and emotional separation of the brain from the body, as it clearly took the stand that "Hospitals and physicians should take care of the body while the church takes care of the mind and the soul."

One of our scientific collaborators, Dr. Lee Hood, is famous for his work in Systems Biology.  Another collaborator, Georgetown University, is involved in the creation of a medical school program revolving around Systems Medicine, and finally, our Optimal Healing Environment collaborator, the Samueli Institute, is focused on Systems Wellness.  In spite of these wonderful leaps into what would have to be considered common sense approaches to health and life, we still sometimes miss the ensemble approach.

My recommendation? 

Maybe it would help our healers to take their place on the podium, look at every one of the 30 plus lines of music on the score, raise the baton and begin to direct their way through every nuance, inflection, and harmonious signature present in a score of music with the appropriate rhythm, intonation and accents just to remind themselves that; we human beings are basically all made up of systems as well, and those systems will not function smoothly if one is completely out of sync with the other." 

This is something that we all know intuitively.  Maybe immersing ourselves in that world for a while will help bring that concept totally back into focus.  It's all about harmony, balance and nature's perfection, and a disjointed approach to health is as potentially harmful as a disjointed approach to life.   

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18 comments

  1. Mike Quinn says:

    The historical separation of body and mind…aka the Treaty of Decartes reference…had another unconscious casuality…the separation from opportunities for society to collectively develop a framework to evolve knowledge of how to assimulate the field of infinite intelligence that permeates the body-mind and can function as the perfect healer.

    The human body-mind is part of a conscious, thinking field of intelligence. In every second of our existence, the local expression that we call body-mind is exchanging energy and information with the nonlocal expression that we call the universe. The only thing is, we’re doing it unconsciously.

    The tradedy of the separation of body-mind from the universe is to misperceive things as they really are. The body-mind is part of a larger mind, it’s part of the universe, and cosmic rhythms can result in profound changes in our physiology. Nick uses the example of a coordinated symphony. The universe is truly a symphony of the stars. And when our body-mind is in synch with this symphony, everything is spontaneous and effortless, and the exuberance of the universe can flow thru us in joyful ecstasy.

    To become familiar with how to assimulate infinite inteligence into our body-mind is is to acquire awesome power. This power is magical because it allows us to experience the body-mind as more fluid, flexible and dynamic than we can imagine. But first we have to undertand our true nature; we have to know the body-mind as it really is.

    The field of pure consciousness creates, controls, and constantly feeds the body-mind. Get in touch with this field, and we have a completely new reality of the mind and a completely new experience of the body. We realize that we can change our body more effortlessly, more rapidly, more efficiently than we can change our clothes.

  2. Vreni says:

    Amen! I think one of the biggest problems with allopathic medicine is the disregard for the whole human. The dermatologist looks at the skin, the cardiologist the heart, the endocrinologist the endocrine system, the orthopedic physician, the muscles and bones, etc. and there seems to be no one that considers the whole being (not even the GP, who tries to figure out which specialist to send the patient to), except possibly naturopathic physicians or wellness practitioners, whom frequently the traditional medical community don’t take seriously.

    Look at the forest instead of the bark on a single tree, and suddenly the solution to our health problems becomes evident. It is time we looked back at history and studied the healthy instead of the sick, to find out what they did right, in order to be so healthy. Traditional cultures were optimally healthy until they came in contact with white man’s food. No heart disease, no cancer, no obesity, no type 2 diabetes. By looking back at how they lived and what they ate, we can learn a lot about today’s health problems. For more on this, read the book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, by Dr. Weston A. Price.

    Thanks – I enjoy your blog!

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