Thursday, July 28, 2011

on superheroes and villains

Sometimes I feel caught between two worlds. Stranger to both. I think I missed the memo from Madeline about how best to wrinkle between worlds. I suppose not being sucked into either vortex could be advantageous. Namely, the advantage of perspective on both.

To hear the naturopathic community and all its appendages, drugs are mostly evil. Look at how those Kryptonite laden Pharmaceutical companies are in bed with Lois Lane, MD! Existing to torment individuals on the planet, these toxic poisoning agents of some Lex Luther character in the sky, bring down the Clark Kents of this world, which conveniently happens to be an herb-toting, birkenstocked, crunchy doctor. Treat the cause, the root of the problem. We like roots and all in naturopathic medicine.

To hear the allopathic community and some of its quackwatch appendages, the naturopathic medicines I prescribe daily are either placebo or toxic agents bordering on the realm of negligence and my practice of medicine and admiration of the genius of Hahnemann harbors some similarity to following a cult leader. Hahnemann and his minions were some crusading characters insanely bent on--Like cures Like fighting the "dark aged" Regulars. 

And yet Naturopathic world misses the point. Fish the telephone pole out of your own eye. Isn't Clark Kent, ND in bed with Nutraceutical Company? How is that relevantly different from Lois and Pharma? Can't we admit that vaccines are rather naturopathic and save lives? Can't we acknowledge that Allopathic medicine does certain things like Emergency Medicine, amazingly well?

And yet Allopathic world also misses the point. Fish the telephone pole out of your own eye. Can't you see how the history of human kind is all about the history of human mistakes and the process of detecting and overcoming those errors in thinking? Isn't it possible that in waging this war against those that think differently from you, you've missed the point? If you aim to squelch the position that balances out your own, you burn the bridge to future growth and banish yourself to an island of your own idiosyncratic thinking?

Can't both worlds ingest a dose of humility? And, no I don't mean a homeopathic dose. Can't both acknowlege that extremism and polarization help no-one?

Unfortunately, all of medicine merely seems to mimic the culture at large. We live in culture of extremist sound bites. A culture that needs the boxing ring to keep the viewers interested. How will we ever get our message into the limelight without an evil villain character? Who is the foil? And so we polarize. We spin. We push the gap between two ideals wider and wider. In the name of spin or viewers or "ideals" we feature our opponent's ideal in a crossbow on a website or pronounce a democracy focused camp, a "Hitler Youth Camp." Really? Accuracy doesn't seem to matter so much as capturing that emotionally reactive content, placing our message center stage at Carnegie Hall.

In the meantime, outside polarized TV world, boys sucked into the story, show up with guns at grocery stores in Tuscon or youth camps in Norway, and blow up evil villain characters for ideals.

Taking our lessons from culture at large, maybe its time for medicine to back away from extremist-superhero-naturo-or-allo positions, acknowledging that at least some portion might be spin designed to harness emotionally reactive content. Our voice as medical moderates might not be as glamorous, might not take sweeps week, or win us roles on Jerry Springer Live, but it will be heroic nonetheless. For it will be our voice acknowledging that many of our fiercest idealistic battles are not waged in order to contend with some evil villain force outside ourselves. Rather, those battles are often waged when we can't aknowledge  the villain within who gathers strength precisely as we feed our superhero counterpart.

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