Descartes’ Mind-Body Dualism Has Failed and Taken Our Health With It for Hundreds of Years
René Descartes‘ is famous for coming up with the phrase “I think, therefore I am.” Of course, it was written in Latin at the time. Back in 1633 when Galileo was being condemned by the Catholic church, Descartes was formulating the “mind-body problem” as we know it today.
Also known as “Cartesian Dualism,” the mind-body problem is partially to blame for today’s failing American medical system. We know now there are as many paths to self-healing as there are people on this planet, but that’s not the way we’re treated. Without ever taking into consideration the role our consciousness plays in healing, it becomes glaringly illogical for our medical system to treat everyone’s body the same.
So now it’s obvious that the concept of Dualism isn’t working when it comes to our healthcare approach. After hundreds of years, we’re coming to our senses and realizing that treating the mind as separate from the body is absolutely not making us any better.
“By isolating the ‘mind’ from the ‘body,’ medical practice rooted in dualism discounts the significance of mental states in the maintenance of health.”
? The Problem of Dualism in Modern Western Medicine
Part of the problem with the “mind-body problem” is that Descartes and adherents conflate the concepts of mind, brain, soul, and self-awareness into a spectacular mess which has taken humanity almost 400 years to untangle.
René Descartes’ illustration of mind/body dualism, circa 1637
We can also point to Descartes as a primary influence upon the divergence of modern medicine away from integrated healthcare. It certainly explains why doctors still treat the body and the mind separately, and why dualism continues to survive within the medical ranks.
“Today, our understanding of human beings has changed significantly.”
? Mind-body Dualism: A critique from a Health Perspective
Considering that modern psychology, mind-body medicine, and integrative healthcare all treat the mind and body as a single system – and with great success, it puts to rest ancient ideas which gave rise to the “magic bullet” theory of disease treatment.
The idea that all disease can be traced to a “single agent,” growing from the work of Louis Pasteur (mid- to late-1800’s), also discounts consciousness and is partially to blame for the “drugs solve everything” approach today.
The Mind Body Problem
Ignoring the role of conscious self-awareness is what plagues our current pharmaceutical-medical system. Surprisingly, “the current medical crisis” has been highlighted in the West since the 1970’s. Here are a couple examples which illustrate how it has taken us at least 40 years to start waking up!
Integrative Health Treats Mind-Body As One System
Once we combine the ingredient of “self-awareness” with the mind-body as an integrated system, a path towards healing becomes evident and dualism is resolved. Plus, we can discuss the advantages of this health perspective without getting mired down in age-old arguments about where consciousness comes from.
“Here’s the theoretical and conceptual problem with the mind-body split: it almost exclusively addresses the body/disease part, omitting the psychological and social aspects involved in mental disorders. That is, modern medicine practices a biomedical model and, thereby, is not consistent with the modern theory of science.”
Robert C. Smith, M.D.
An Integrative Mind-Body Healthcare approach does not ignore willpower, self-awareness, or consciousness. Instead, it has the capacity to treat disease and chronic illness with evidence-based approaches which can, in most cases, help us avoid drugs and surgery altogether.
Mind-Body Problem Cartoon by Roz Chast
Self-Awareness Is A Critical Factor In Wellness & Suffering
Our degree of healing or suffering is directly proportional to our level of self-awareness. There aren’t many doctors who will tell you how critical your self-awareness is to your degree of wellness. Dr. Lissa Rankin is one of them. In her book, “Mind Over Medicine,” she presents abundant “Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself.” She is one of a growing army of 21st-century doctors who are embracing Mind-Body Medicine and Integrative Healthcare.
The idea that we should become masters of ourselves is no longer an esoteric Eastern philosophy, as we’re familiar with through the Martial Arts. Mastery of oneself should be everyone’s philosophy of life.
This is why a fundamental portion of TheBodyIsMind™ website is dedicated to helping you discover more self-awareness in every way possible.
The Role Consciousness Plays In Self-Healing
The evolution of our species indicates we are on the verge of learning widespread conscious control of all our autonomous “bodymind” systems which keep us alive. It means we’re learning to escape the hellish burden of our animal mind which stores trauma and pain. We do this by exhibiting self-healing powers which live within every cell of our body – all 37 trillion of them.
Dr. Wayne Jonas explains the biology of healing and the science behind the discovery that 80 percent of healing can be attributed to the mind-body connection and other naturally occurring processes.
? How Healing Works
Your self-healing powers are already programmed into your very being. Learn about your self+bodymind relationship and discover the power of increasing your self-awareness! The mind permeates every cell of the human body, and you can learn to have self-mastery over this intelligent organization of 37 trillion cells in many different ways.
This is not a glib statement; the science rolling in to support modern mind-body wellness is astonishing.
Our body averages 37 Trillion cells