Philip S. Lansky, MD is a holistic physician practicing homeopathy, herbology, and energy medicine in Haifa, Israel. He was Health Editor of New Frontier Magazine for 8 years, and holds a black belt in Aikido.
To fight a tumor one needs guts. But to love a tumor one must draw from deeper sources...one must love the tumor from the marrow of the bones, the somatic seat of immunologic competence and the psychic seat of spiritual power and existential certainty
I've not yet heard of a formal declaration of war against Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, although I have seen several dozen patients with this problem over the past eight years.
Originally, very few physicians accepted the veracity of the syndrome, but in the last few years, five separate viruses (Epstein-Barr, cytomegalo, Herpes types One and Six, and most recently Human T Lymphocyte III) have all been implicated as the guilty party in the immunological harassment of yesterday's yuppies.
Of course, many physicians still think CFS is a figment of their patients' imaginations. The professionals couldn't agree. And war was not formally declared. Similarly, the same abeyance does not hold against tooth decay, cancer, or even AIDS. When we get together and point the finger at a great Enemy, we do know how to declare War. Yet, cancer and AIDS still prevail, and too many toothless smiles still speak a thousand words. While we may find the resolve to declare wars, ending and winning are more elusive. Maybe, as the flower freaks used to say in the days of Ho Chi Minh, "War itself is the problem."
Over a decade ago I published a paper in a leading medical journal challenging Dr. O. Carl Simonton's hypnotic strategy against cancer, in which the patient is instructed to visualize the immune system as a hungry dog devouring the weak cancer as a piece of decaying meat. The violent metaphor itself was wrong, I believed. I noted: "To fight a tumor one needs guts. But to love a tumor one must draw from deeper sources...one must love the tumor from the marrow of the bones, the somatic seat of immunologic competence and the psychic seat of spiritual power and existential certainty."
Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a good war on the telly as much as the next guy. There is something about combat which appeals to the testosterone brain. I even went the "peaceful warrior" route, for years practicing the more gentle martial arts of T'ai Chi , and Aikido. Perhaps sometimes there are necessary or just wars, and in medicine, sometimes "indicated" surgery. Nevertheless, deep down inside, I do feel there is a better way. In international relations, in medicine, even in the dueling between the sexes.
The great politically harassed psychiatrist, Wilhelm Reich, MD actually expressed the relationship between sexual frustration and political repression with exceeding eloquence in his twentieth century masterpiece, The Mass Psychology of Fascism. Somewhat less known but equally compelling was his tome The Cancer Biopathy. In this latter work (both were frequently burned by federal Marshals of E Pluribus Unum), Reich discussed his idea of how viruses come to be. Rather than offering a long song of contagious fluids, Reich actually considered those isolated particles of RNA or DNA (the viruses) to be physiological breakdown products from orgonically repressed human tissue. Viruses are the "them" that were "us."
Sounds far out, I know. But consider this: you don't need a window pane to see that everything "outside" is inside of us too. If we learn to love ourselves, we learn to love us all. Perhaps the dark side is something we can never successfully annihilate. However, it can be soothed and ultimately dissolved through love and forgiveness. This is the alternative to war, not only in our battles with what is outside, but also with the demons which rise up from within.
If we could consciously learn to do this, we will truly have conquered disease. . . and War in all it myriad form. That, I feel, is a cause worth "fighting" for.
Copyright 1997, New Frontier Magazine. All rights reserved.