This image shows the sale of Indulgences. By paying money to the pope, you got a certificate that guaranteed that the person named would go to heaven. Millions were raised this way. The money was used to pay off the Vatican's debts and to rebuild St Peters. You may laugh at this. How gullible could people be?
The point of this post is that the story of Indulgences is being played out again right now. Today we pay money to the institution of medicine to make us well. The church did not save our souls and medicine today is not saving us from the epidemic of chronic illness.
In the 1500's when the trick was revealed, the result was the Reformation. I think that the same massive change in society is about to take place again. When the fallacy of medicine as confronted by chronic illness is revealed to millions who will have paid their money to have no cure; when it is seen that this has been a huge confidence trick that has enriched people who had a vested interest in our suffering; then the whole system will come down.
We are not quite at this point yet. Right now many still put all their faith in medicine.
Most of us believe that only medicine can save our health. What this means in practice is that most believe that only by paying for drugs, test and treatments have we any chance of getting well. Most of us cannot imagine any alternative. We too have given up all our power to the church of medicine.
But some of us are taking charge. Some of us are using diet and lifestyle to keep us well and even cure us. I had thought that this example might help many others do the same. But I am finding out that this is not true. Many that I know well seem to discount entirely what has happened to me and to Robin and continue to place all their faith in their doctors.
They trust their doctors even though there is no evidence that what their doctors have on offer us making any difference in chronic illness.
For, who knows of anyone that has been cured of type 2 diabetes by only obeying their doctor? Who knows of anyone who has been cured of MS by their doctor? Who knows of anyone that has had their depression "cured" by drugs? Who knows of anyone who has had IBS or Crohns cured by drugs? Who has had bad psoriasis or arthritis cured by drugs? In spite of the "War on Cancer" cancer rates continue to rise. Taking an overall view, while there have been a few victories, deaths are no less than in the 1950's. Heart disease was all but unknown before 1900. Today it remains the # killer - in spite of the billions spent on statin drugs. But in spite of the vast amount that we spend on healthcare, it has not halted the epidemic of chronic illness and it cures almost no one.
So why do most people still depend on their doctor?
I think the answer to my own question is that not enough have been failed yet. But within 5 years as the boomers go into full on chronic ill health the failure will be felt. The second reason is culture. Too many people cannot imagine that medicine cannot help them.
Why this cultural blindness?
I think that the answer is cultural and starts in our schools. We are taught over 12 years to submit to the authority figure. Any questioning of her rule is punished. What is rewarded is compliance with doctrine. We are not taught to question or to think for ourselves.
We have been taught to remain stunted and even infantile in our development.
In the worst case we remain tribal and childlike. Our emotional age might be 6 on a good day. The world is seen as a mystery where only god like beings such as a teacher, a doctor or a boss can help us. In such a world, we are helpless. Even if we were granted freedom we would not know what to do with it. So our poor health cannot be anything to do with us. Our little pleasures of smoking, fast food and TV are all we have. They are us. Without them we would be nothing. So only a pill, the healthcare system can save us and god help the politician that does not see it this way. For we have a lot of votes.
Nearly as bad are those of us who live like teens. We look to our parents to solve the problems of the world while we get on with having a good time. We find shiny toys very important. We seek status symbols. We believe that only the experts know what to do to fix things. We don't have to do any work or thinking because that's their job. Other people's approval is very important. Especially the approval of authority figures such as our boss or a doctor. We cannot possible say, "I won't take that drug - haven't you read about the side effects!" We frown on people who do rebel and tell each other smugly that they are stupid outsiders. We do our own job and we don't care about anything else. That would be someone else's problem. We never think about the consequences of what we do. We support the persecution of innovators. We choose not to explore what is going on because that is not our role. We dare not disobey the leader. He must be right.
But then there is a growing set of people who share a different culture. We are like parents. We believe that the world demands our participation because it will affect our kids and all the generations to come. We found school awkward. We might have been the kids who got into trouble by asking too many questions. We find watching team sports very boring. We would rather play ourselves. We tend to work for ourselves. We find bureaucracies very challenging. We have learned that the toys do not bring happiness. We do a lot of critical reading and we talk a lot among ourselves about how the world is going. Many of us have gone beyond talking and are now leading our lives quite differently from the rest of the culture. But this group is not very large and has no power and is easily discounted.
The 1% is outside all of this. They are the ones that hold the strings that make us all dance. The greatest lie that the 1% uphold is the Corporate Dream of "Success". Work hard. Go to school. Take out school debt. Take out a mortgage. Move to the city. Borrow to get a car. Put your kids in daycare while you have a career. "Go on girl you can do it all". When you have health insurance with your job, you will be well. Fit in. Obey. Support the persecution of outsiders.
But as more and more cannot get jobs, have their pensions taken away, get early retirement, lose their homes, sink into debt and get ill and not get better, find that they cannot have it all, this group will start to wake up. And when they do.....
In France it was not the peasants that lead the revolution, it was the betrayed lawyers and bureaucrats. In Russia it was not the peasants but the lawyers and the middle class.
I see the tipping point in chronic illness. Many people I know still have faith in the old system. They are obeying orders. They are being good. They see the alternative but are too scared to act. But they will pay a terrible price. They will lose their health. They will die after enduring terrible treatments. They will go bankrupt because of the costs. They will break up their families.
They will see that their choice to obey, took them to a terrible place. They will awaken. They who have lost so much will have no mercy.
They will see how they have been used. This is what caused the Reformation. This is what will drive our own.
The clock ticks.