Do we need a paradigm shift in medicine?
In 1977, Willis Harman, US physicist, professor of electrical engineering, social scientist and futurist, stated:
“…since we have come to understand that science is not a description of ‘reality’, but a metaphorical ordering of experience, the new science does not impugn the old. It is not a question of which view is “true” in some ultimate sense. Rather, it is a matter of which picture is more useful in guiding human affairs” (Symposium on Consciousness).
For Harman, there is no need for a dogmatic paradigm shift, a revolution in theoretical thinking, of the sort Thomas Kuhn, the eminent historian of science, had described as inevitable fifteen years earlier. Harman’s interest did not lie with those who claim to possess ultimate truth – new or old – but with those who live and work in consciousness, wishing to be useful in guiding human affairs.
35 years on, we are still prone to get caught up in dogmatic discussions, while pragmatic and holistic approaches are needed more than ever. Fortunately, the USA seem to be leading the field as they more and more integrate Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) into their mainstream health system. Meanwhile, on the other side of the globe, China is moving fast to establish the validity of Chinese Medicine within the frame work of Western scientific research.