Wars of Medicine

June 10, 2010 |  by

Have you read Howard Bloom’s The Lucifer Principle? It’s one of the popular Bibles on cultural memes. He discusses how social groups (memes) compete against each other for influence and power. One example is the battle between homeopathy and allopathy (“traditional medicine”) in the 19th century. In 1900 there were 15,000 practitioners of homeopathy in the US, but by 1950 only 75. Bloom writes:

At first glance, this was a battle between two scientific truths, two systems of belief. But under the surface, it was a struggle between superorganisms over the lucrative proceeds of the medical trade. The allopaths won.

As we’ve mentioned before, today’s doctors–the heirs of the allopaths–are only able to deal effectively with about 50 percent of the complaints brought to them. The other 50 percent they [dismiss] as representing nonexistent ills. Yet many of the symptoms they overlook may be produced by the very same allergic problems the homeopaths claim to have dealt with successfully. The result: you and I are saddled with a medical community whose “knowledge” is the result of a battle between subcultures. Because we are in the hands of the winners, a set of cures that could have healed us has all but disappeared.

I’m not an expert on the subject, but things like this are exactly what we’re looking for. A system supposedly for our benefit has an agenda of its own. The question that follows: What is the effect on the well-being of humanity?

Examples like this are everywhere.

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2 Comments


  1. Points well taken. The effect, however, can be good and bad, just like yin and yang to an element. My question – what action would you propose?

  2. You’re very right: action is important. But so often in our society, we try to fix things without really understanding the problem. In this blog, I want to build a foundation of understanding first. We need to see before we solve.

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