Wednesday, June 23, 2004

WHO warns on alternative medicine, although what they really do, IMHO, is highlight how much we rely on rules and regulations, rather than learned experience and accumulated knowledge.

I think this maybe comes down to an ultimately scientific way of looking at the world. Is a culture that sets out to establish everything as "proven" through empirical, scientific methods doomed to keep knowledge, and the keeping and dissemination of this knowledge, to an elite versed in the methods rather than what the knowledge means?

Alternative medicines tend, I suspect, to have various benefits long-established over time, but - as is pointed out - also similar side effects. Traditionally, those involved in them would realise the philosophy that went along with them, i.e. when to use them and when not to use them. However, this isn't necessarily the philosophy put forward by our scientific-cum-capitalist culture, where we can buy the latest technology and it will fix us up. Our faith lies in the technology, and the people behind it, rather than in ourselves. (Notice how you almost expect a doctor to instantly know what's wrong with you and cure you.) And in return, we know nothing.

Suffice to say, this is an.. odd position to be in. Perhaps instead of proposing more regulations, the WHO should be promoting education, and learning about how we, ourselves, work. And we, in turn, should be less eager to maintain perfection by any means necessary.

As an exercise for the reader... compare the spread of high-tech, sophisticated technology as an empowering structure to the take-up of alternative, low-tech technology. Sure, there are many people who buy in the former, but there are many more people who would want and be able to afford/make the latter.

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