Our Sense of Self
By putting on funny hats, do these WineFest revelers become someone different–better, more interesting, unique? Does being a member of the Grand Pubas change the way they think about themselves? Does it enhance their health in the same way having a pet increases life expectancy?
By putting Vicks Vaporub on my big toe for year, did that ointment make the ugly toe fungus disappear? Or was it because an authority, a doctor friend, told me he’d had good results from this very off-label folk remedy? He might have told me to wear a funny hat for a year and ended with the same beneficial results. I don’t know.
But I do know this: I can wear sandals without socks again. But I don’t know how much of my healing was “just in my head”–nothing but placebo.
But hang on a minute here. You can find dozens of sophisticated experiments and meta-analyses (studies of studies) that show an amazing thing, and a disturbing thing if you are Big Pharma: the power of a sugar pill, saline injection, mock surgery or its equivalent is often more effective at pain reduction, disease remission and healing than the multi-million dollar purple pills that are foisted upon us by the blur of a doctor.
That same purple capsule filled with NutraSweet by a true giver of care–the old-fashioned kind that knew us, listened to us, touched us literally and figuratively cared for and about us–would likely have as much or more power to make us well as the prescription simply because that kind of investment in our “hope and wholeness system” (let’s call it) is triggered by our high expectations of improvement.
We think, therefore we are.
With modern American health care, what are our expectations? To be heard? To be nurtured? To be treated with care? Not likely.
But where’s the funding to help us learn how to effectively use this powerful, knifeless, gadget-free, hard-wired healing system that is hidden in the power of a placebo? What we have here is the solar energy of the soul. The Big Boys are not so interested because the ultimate source can’t be patented, bottled or advertised on the Superbowl.
Do you have examples of the power of belief, suggestion or outright benign deception that made you or someone you know better? Please share, as I’m hoping to use this topic for the next Floyd Press piece I’d like to have done by end of day Thursday.