Join the discussion. Visit the forum
Link:http://www.wholepersonmedicine.co.uk/sitemap.htm
The World of Natural Therapy A Guide to Holistic Medicine An Appreciation of Chinese Medicine Foundations of Medical Humanities Links
Introducing Whole Person Medicine
Basic argument
Bodies are not machines
The defects of clinical medicine
Spiritual treatments
Link:mailto:drledermann@wholepersonmedicine.co.uk

This is a web site on Natural Therapy, and allied treatments for the Whole Person. It includes details of my past work, my current beliefs, and several articles that will greatly assist the reader to an understanding of what Natural Therapy and True-self Psychotherapy has to offer.



different interpretations of holism

back
    For Smuts, who coined the term holism, wholeness is a feature of the universe, "present in the crystal, the cellular living organism, in the mind ". The ultimate reality of the universe is neither matter nor spirit but wholes.

    Holism as the principle of the whole can be so defined in its progressive applications that it fits inorganic as well as organic situations, and mental, personal and spiritual situations as well. The most important result of the idea of the whole is the appearance of the concept of Creativeness. It is the synthesis involved in the concept of the whole which is the source of creativeness in Nature. Evolution is creative in proportion as it consists of wholes which bring about new structural groupings and synthesis.

    The concept of Freedom is rooted in that of the whole, organic or other. Necessity or external determination is transformed by the subtle metabolism of the whole into something of itself. Necessity or external determination is transformed into self-determination or Freedom. At the human stage Freedom takes conscious control of the process and begins to create the free ethical world of the spirit. Love, Beauty, Goodness, Truth, the whole is their source, in the whole they find their satisfying explanation. Mechanism is incipient holism.

    This form of realism is unacceptable. It prevents the distinction between mechanism and holism, between determinism and libertarianism. It obscures the essence of spiritualism. The serious fault is prevented if we allow a distinction of different types of holism: a biological holism which unites the different parts of the body, a mental holism which integrates the different aspects of the mind, for instance the restoration of a mind, deranged by shock, to its wholeness. Finally it provides the opportunity to call for the recognition of spiritual wholeness as a recognition of the supreme human dimension of ethical freedom. There is still the possibility of postulating that spiritual holism incorporates biological and mental holism. The integrity of our bodies and minds depends on the activity of our spiritual strength. The patient who is suffering from bodily and mental disharmony is saved from a total breakdowm by mobilisation of his spiritual resources, perhaps the result of medical help.


back to top

the impact of existentialism

back
    Holism requires a further extension. This is provided by referring it to a philosophy which was born from the necessity of our age shaken in its foundation. I am referring to the philosophy of existentialism.

    Different existential philosophers arrived at different and even contradictory solutions. Jean-Paul Sartre declared our existence to be absurd, Kierkegaard, the founder of the existential movement, was a devout Christian and saw the problem as one of reconciling faith and reason.


back to top

the spiritual-ethical stance

back
    David E Roberts, a philosopher of religion, has provided us with statements which clarify a spiritual-ethical stance, cited in my Medicine for the Whole Person.

    Roberts makes four points which I consider to be acceptable for the manifestation of ethical freedom. They are his interpretation of existentialism

    i) To Roberts existentialism is "a protest against all forms of rationalism which find it easy to assume that reality can be grasped primarily or exclusively by intellectual means. It is an emphatic denial of the assumption that construction of a logical system is the most adequate way to reach the truth."

    ii) In the second place, " existentialism is a protest against all views which tend to regard man as if he were a thing, only an assortment of functions and reactions. This means that in the sphere of philosophical theory , existentialsim stands against mechanism and naturalism ( the view according to which only the operation of natural as opposed to supernatural or spiritual laws and forces is assumed ) ; and in the sphere of social theory it stands against all patterns of human organisation in which the mass mentality stifles the sponaneity and uniqueness of the individual person."

    iii) "Thirdly, existentialism makes a drastic distinction between subjective and objective truth, and it gives priority to the former against the latter." This point is clarified: "existentialists insist that in connection with ultimate matters it is impossible to lay aside the impassioned concerns of the human individual. They are calling our attention to the fact that in the search for ultimate truth the whole man , and not only his intellect or reason, is caught up and involved. His emotions and his will must be aroused and engaged so that he can live the truth he sees. He is then being grasped by the truth in a decisively personal manner. The subjective point of view puts the individual with his commitments and passions in the very centre of the picture and only by that approach can a man be so grasped and changed inwardly as to deepen and clarify his relationship to reality, even as a thinker.

    iv) Roberts lists a fourth existentialist characteristic: the human situation "seen as filled with contradictions and tensions which cannot be resolved by means of exact or consistent thinking. ...man's whole life is enmeshed within a natural and social order which profoundly and inevitably determines him. He must himself create the answer to his determination by using his freedom."

    This last point confirms that justification of the spiritual freedom which confronts the natural and social order so that they cannot enmesh the person
    .


back to top
Bodies are not machines


Holistic treatment of illness does not believe that orthodox, scientific medicine, with its emphasis on cellular analysis and information, is the best way to promote health and happiness. While a holistic doctor could not deny that cellular pathology is vastly superior to the old-fashioned humoral pathology, (belief in the four humours as the basic divisions of ‘type’ in the body) it is still too mechanistic. The body is not a machine.

The flaw lies entirely in this mechanistic principle of treating a living body on the lines of a lifeless machine, such as a motor car. Just as a motor mechanic takes his machine to pieces when searching for a fault, so the scientific doctor who considers his patient's body to consist of cells forming bodily organs, analyses the cellular object by x-ray and other means to identify and treat the faulty part. Various experts have shown time and time again that the parts of a machine and the parts of a living organism have different significance. In the machine, their relationship to each other is external which means that they can be removed if faulty and replaced by new ones. But in the living being, such relationship is internal, which means that all parts form part of an organic hierarchy. Also, their original properties do not remain unchanged in the course of life (including bouts of disease) whereas the parts of a machine do not alter, but merely deteriorate. In the living organism each part must be given a spatial and temporal significance which does not apply to a machine in the same way. The body of a child is not the same thing as the body of an old person; the health of a child is a very different thing from the health of an athlete or of a mother. The hierarchical principle of course is that of wholeness which vitalists call the ‘Life Force’and which has been accepted by many experts as a necessary definition for the physiological study of the human body.


back to top
The defects of clinical medicine


The clinical implications of the inevitable neglect of this difference between internal and external relations is clearly seen in the therapeutic application of the machine-mechanistic principle, when very serious side-effects of drugs occur in patients whose bodies show a sensitivity which is unknown in the parts of a machine. ‘Side-effects’ is not a satisfactory way to describe what happens to someone’s body, when bad results of ‘treatment’ occur.


back to top
Spiritual treatments


In his Theory of Knowledge, the philosopher Immanuel Kant postulates the realm of phenomena, or appearances that yield knowledge. This is the realm in which we perceive objects of knowledge in the modes of space and time and by the use of such cognitive categories as causality.

Kant postulates another world of things in themselves, or noumena of which we cannot gain knowledge. This realm does not contain the objects of sense experience. This second realm has its own most important significance: it is the realm of values, of morality, the realm of ethical freedom and responsibility, of the spiritual realm and its spiritual experiences. It is the realm of practical reason and our consciousness of morality is accepted as a fact, just as our consciousness of sense-experiences accepted.

back to top

Dr Ledermann would be happy to enter into correspondence with any reader.
He can be contacted at 121 Harley Street, London W1N 1DH.
Tel: 020 7935 8774 or at home on 020 7435 5133.
E-mail: drledermann@wholepersonmedicine.co.uk


http://www.wholepersonmedicine.co.uk/natrthr1.htmhttp://www.wholpersonmedicine.co.uk/holismed1.htmhttp://www.wholepersonmedicine.co.uk/aprchmed.htmhttp://www.wholepersonmedicine.co.uk/fndmedhm1.htmhttp://www.wholepersonmedicine.co.uk/links.htm

Join the discussion. Visit the forum
Link:http://www.wholepersonmedicine.co.uk/sitemap.htm