"A Vision of Vitalism"
Hello, my friends.
"Why am I here?"That question has occurred to most of us at one time or another in our lives.As a baby boomer who spent his teens and twenties during the heyday of "hippies" and "flower children," I'm no stranger to discussions on the meaning and purpose of life.
I may be somewhat unusual, however, in the fact that at the age of almost 54, when many people are slowing down, taking time to "smell the roses," or even retiring, I'm still tormented by my lack of vision.What do I want my life to be like in 5 years, or 10?What do I want to accomplish?Isn't each of us here to contribute something unique?
I read a quote the other day to the effect that if we are not specifically following our own vision and mission for our lives, we become instruments used by others to pursue theirs.That seems true to me, and I suppose it's okay, as long as the mission is one we can live with.But I can't help searching inside my own heart for some direction.
One of my mentors wrote the following:"Your vision comes from within you.Inside of you is a voice that is telling you what your vision is.Listen to it!"
Okay, so I'm listening.But I don't seem to be getting any clear message.Maybe I'm expecting too much. Maybe it's too late.Maybe when that inner voice was talking, I was too busy having fun, or chasing in the wrong direction.
The poet Wordsworth had this to say:
Look for the stars, you'll say there are none;
Look up a second time, and, one by one,
You mark them twinkling out with silvery light
And wonder how they could elude the sight!
The Philosophy of Vitalism
The thing that led me into the chiropractic profession in 1974, after changing my major 5 times during the first four years of college, was its vitalistic philosophy.Briefly stated, this is the view that there are forces at work in living things that cannot be explained by chemistry and physics alone.There is an Innate Intelligence within us that organizes and controls the processes of life.
Oh, how that initial introduction to chiropractic philosophy stirred my soul!The concept of a Universal Intelligence in all matter!An Innate Intelligence within living things!The idea that we're all designed to be perfect, to be healthy, to achieve our maximum human potential, through the uninterrupted expression of this inborn power!The principle of a unique type of doctor, whose job is simply to locate and remove interference to that expression!I don't mind telling you, we were something awesome to behold, we young and restless chiropractic students, "chomping at the bit" to get out of school and save the world.
The Philosophy of Mechanism
The medical profession has, for some centuries now, ridiculed the age-old and universal concepts of vitalism and based its practices on a purely mechanistic approach.If something couldn't be measured in the laboratory, with double blind, controlled studies, it wasn't recognized.It couldn't possibly be scientific.
The arrogance of that view should be obvious.One need only examine the work of Albert Einstein and other early physicists to understand that just because we haven't the technology or the wisdom to see something, that doesn't mean it doesn't exist.Even the most mechanistic scientists now know that the deeper we look into the subatomic world, and the farther out we look into the universe, the more the old laws of Isaac Newton become suspect.The obvious truth becomes… well… not so obvious anymore.We may find out tomorrow that we're not as smart as we think we are today.
One of the books I'm reading right now, Energy Medicine: The Scientific Basis by James Oschman, discusses concepts that I believe will, within just a short time, shed tremendous light on how the body's own innate intelligence controls it, and how we can communicate with that "vital force" to help facilitate its fullest expression.Concepts of energy fields, the crystalline "living matrix" that permeates and interconnects every tissue of the body, and the computer-like "electronics" system that we are only beginning to understand make the future of health care seem very bright indeed, and without the toxic side effects of trying to pharmaceutically "force health in" from without.
A Vision Worth Sharing?
That same mentor of mine, the one I mentioned earlier, in trying to help us find our vision, asks this:"What gives you that great expansive feeling of achievement?"For me, it's writing these little articles, and in particular, writing about that wonderful chiropractic philosophy that so inspired me in the seventies.As we sat around our college cafeteria after a hard morning dissecting cadavers, we would exhort one another to "just tell the story.""Just tell the chiropractic story."And so I will.
Wishing you health, happiness and peace,
Dr. Frank Bowling