Apart from some traumatic events that were quite raw or graphic in nature, there were a few other pivotal moments in my years of medical training that I remember vividly. One of those moments was a lecture on Ethics and Philosophy in my second year of med school which was considered extremely boring by my peers, and to be honest, I thought it was pretty dull too. It was about the role of science in medicine.
Until an unfamiliar word was mentioned. Although I consider myself having a large vocabulary, I had never heard it before. As the Ethics professor spoke on the topic he used the word paradigm.
I believe the context was something like this: "Science as we know it has its rules, regulations, and guidelines to ensure that what is discovered matches the idea of science itself, which is that the truth only exists when we can prove it, using those rules, regulations, and guidelines. When we are not able to prove something, or when we can prove it but it doesn't match the rules, it, therefore, can't be proven. That is the paradigm of science. If we think about the fact that paradigms can change, it is foreseeable that science as we know it, will someday become obsolete, or at least challenged to a large extent."
1. One that serves as a pattern or model.
2. A set or list of all the inflectional forms of a word or of one of its grammatical categories: the paradigm of an irregularverb.
3. A set of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that constitutes a way of viewing reality for the community that shares them, especially in an intellectual discipline.
This woke me up in a second. What if everything we were taught could change when the rules changed? I couldn't wrap my head around it but this concept of changing paradigms stayed with me over the years. Later, when I was working in science, doing research, reading and writing articles, and people around me were arguing the relevance of their research or trying to convince (or destroy) others with their point of view, it helped me to see the bigger picture. It gave me the perspective and the ability to see science (and 'truth' for a lot of colleagues) for what it was: a temporary set of rules we were working in agreement with until it changed. It made life as a Ph.D. researcher a whole lot easier.
At this moment in history, we live in a world of environmental, economic, political and humanitarian crisis. We see old systems fail. Global warming due to the excessive and disproportionate use of fossil fuels requires investment in sustainable energy sources. The financial system is still trying to overcome the inflation of loans and credits leaving people and organizations bankrupt. Politics is heavily influenced by money and power and lost the connection with the people and core values entirely. While globalization happened and planes can fly us everywhere, we face the largest refugee crisis on the planet. The call for a paradigm change is everywhere. The old systems are dying and we need new structures to be able to continue the evolution of humanity. Today I read about this word 'paradigm' every other day, it seems. We need a new paradigm and it's already happening.
This is also the case in healthcare. People are getting older, but not always healthier or enjoying more quality of life. We have the technology to 'fix' a lot of diseases but it doesn't heal people. We are so disconnected from nature and from our own bodies that we do the wrong things, the things that make us sick, and we forgot how to heal ourselves. Healthcare professionals are trying the best they can, with limited resources, with ever more patients to treat, with less budget from the insurance companies or governments, and the ideological drive of 'helping people' or 'healing others' is worn out, leading to massive amounts of care providers with burnout, mental illness like depression, PTSD, anxiety, addictions and even suicide. We need to acknowledge that the current healthcare system is failing, in order to find other ways. The paradigm needs to shift.
There are many layers of human existence that we are just beginning to understand. Intuition, energy fields, energy systems in the body. Research in the field of quantum physics is showing us that the concepts of energy and matter, consciousness, and manifestation are connected. Concepts the ancient Eastern doctors, yogis, and shamans of the world already knew about thousands of years ago. Ideas and techniques that were abandoned and destroyed, because the patriarchal societal structures of ancient Greece, and later the Abrahamic religions like Christianity and Islam, were threatened by the innate power these concepts provided to every human being. Submission was forced upon the people, in order to control them for the sake of money and power. And it made humanity ill, in many ways. We need the old ways of healing so desperately. Knowledge of herbs, energy healing, meditation, shamanic journeying, the body-mind connection, spiritual healing, the power of intention and manifestation ('magic'). Not with the purpose of going back in time, in this day and age it's needed for progress and evolution. Western medicine has brought us so many technological and biological progress if we are able to connect that to the field of energy, quantum physics and natural healing this will lead to a huge step in the evolution of medicine and healthcare.
I'm looking forward to it, I'm convinced it will come in the next 50 years. The paradigm is changing. And it's changing fast.
The most beautiful and most profound emotion we can experience is the sensation of the mystical. It is the sower of all true science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead. To know what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty which our dull faculties can comprehend only in the most primitive form - this knowledge, this feeling is at the centre of true religiousness. The Cosmic religious experience is the strongest and oldest mainspring of scientific research. My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble minds. That deeply emotional conviction of the presence of a superior reasoning power, which is revealed in the incomprehensible universe, forms my idea of God.
- Albert Einstein