Friday, July 16, 2010

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Is human a machine? --- some thoughts about modern medicine

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I am currently reading the book "The history of knowledge" by Charles Van Doren (even though I have not read many history books I still cannot help to say it's one of greatest history books I personally have ever read! Brilliant!). In chapter 8 "the Invention of scientific method" the author talked about how those geniuses' discoveries and ideas contributed to the later revolutions in Europe. One of the biggest idea changes at the time was the fact that people realized that our mind could truly understand the nature - the nature that works as a machine. Of course this idea was not new but at the time it was encouraged tremendously by Newton's mechanics. And one of scientific fields that was encouraged the most was modern medicine.

This part of reading inevitably induced my further thinking of modern medicine. Now, looking back, was it if not a mistake but a short-sighted perspective to consider human as a machine? My answer is "yes". Not only my personal experience but millions of other unknown diseases sufferers' situations already proved that this immensely complicated modern medicine system has been not enough to take care of us as it claims. It is getting very clear that even though each parts of our bodies can work perfectly fine but as a whole they just don't work as they are supposed to. So it is reasonable to say that by focusing on studying parts of our bodies like parts of a machines simply is not enough to deal with something as complicated as human.

Again I am not crazy about Chinese medicine but, there is one thing I believe very valuable about it - Chinese medicine consider our body as a holistic being. It was this view led Chinese medicine into a "superstitious" way because it believed that there was some "magic" power inside this complicated system - our bodies knew better how to cope with diseases than our minds did. There is a popular saying within Chinese medicine practitioners: Chinese medicine doesn't cure disease, it just helps our bodies recovering to a decent condition so they can cure disease by themselves.

As I have not really taken much advantage of Chinese medicine, I really don't have much proof myself to say how effective Chinese medicine is, but I do believe there is some truth inside of it, as thousands years of experience/practice is not something we could just ignore by claiming it as superstition just because we don't understand it.

Also, I do not mean to underestimate the achievement of modern medicine. I truly respect science and I believe the discovery of human body's mechanical functions was truly amazing at the time. However, I believe this achievement is only the first step of medicine. Now, medicine faces new challenges. As more and more unknown diseases comes out, medicine institutions will be demanded to rethink their starting point - the mechanical view on human, which by my belief is the true reason why modern medince is so clueless when deal with some new dieseases - and widen their perspective, develop some new methods and solution for diseases.

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