Yeah, I know. You guys must really think I’ve completely lost my mind because I am now saying the exact opposite of what I wrote in the previous article. The worst part is when you start to wonder if all that isn’t actually done on purpose, just to annoy you (spoiler alert: it is totally done in order to annoy you).
The patient isn’t a machine, nope. Not a matchstick-making one, not a croissant-making one, not a cheese-making one (aren’t they though?). If you read the previous article and understood the opposite, then maybe it is because you read it in a way that produces very specific thoughts, forcing you to see the world in a very specific way, leading ideas to fall into categories without you being aware of it. And I wonder if this isn’t happening to osteopathy, and probably to many other things in the world.
We are so busy nowadays with the “what” we think/feel, that we don’t realize the “how” we think. We can’t see that our thoughts, our way of seeing the world, are the result of a very long and extremely complex evolution. Tons of very smart people have wondered about what life is and wrote about their ideas. Those ideas have shaped our societies and our minds, just like how theirs were shaped before.
I know it is perfectly normal, and my point is not to criticize the way we think nowadays. I mean come on, I read yesterday that in a city in France, they have self-driving buses. No more drivers? Well actually it’s not true, there’s a driver but they are not driving, they are just there in case there’s a problem. I still wonder why they are not driving since they are sitting behind the wheel and looking at the road. Anyway, my point is that through history, depending on their influences, depending on which book they read, and depending on their experiences, different people at different times had very different ways of experiencing the world.
Do you know for example that “truth” is a concept? I mean, how mindblowing is that? truth is a concept that is debatable and that many people through time thought of as being something totally different from what we consider as “truth” nowadays. What’s my point? My point is that even for something that seems as obvious as “truth”, we do not even realize that we are actually thinking in a very specific manner. We are already late when we produce our thoughts because we do not start with facts. We start from a point of view. A great one maybe, but still, a point of view.
Now, let’s just try to reason a bit, my dear unknown reader, and let me ask you a question: what would happen if someone living in the 19th century wrote a book, meaning that he produced thoughts based on his very own influences/way of seeing the world, and we were trying to read those thoughts using our own system of thoughts?
Imagine being a star-nosed mole reading about a human experience of sight. Imagine reading about red if you can’t see colors. How meaningless would that be!
Maybe, just maybe, all that has led us to think of osteopathy as being either mechanical or vitalistic, not because it is, but because that’s our preconceived way of seeing the world. Do you want a proof of that? Look for all the people trying to reunite the body and the mind, like someone trying to fix the matchsticks. Maybe, here again, we need to be a bit more like an engineer. But please, this time try not to think I am calling you a machine. I am talking about a way to think that is not that much oriented towards the “what” and much more towards the “how”.
Back to osteopathy, I have said for a while that Sutherland (hence Becker, Jealous, and co) is going in a direction opposite to Still. Again, don’t get me wrong, they probably got great results and helped thousands of people, my point is not to say that they were bad physicians and I have studied their work for years. The direction they took led to an amazing way of practicing manual therapy. But it has always felt to me as if Still had managed to bring together the vitalistic and the mechanical aspects of osteopathy. I don’t think this thought is correct though. Maybe it would be more accurate to say that he never brought the mechanical and the vitalistic together, he just didn’t take them apart, to begin with. This way of reading his work only was/is the result of my own formatted mind. It never was his idea.
Can I learn to think how he thought? Maybe focusing more on the matchstick-making machine is the way, who knows?
If only the discoverer of osteopathy could have told me to think like an engineer before, I might have saved some time! Oh, wait…