• Gary

    February 24, 2024 at 8:05 pm

    Thank you for initiating this effort, sjahari.

    As a physician myself who was deeply engaged in brain injury rehabilitation with sub specialization in Brain Injury Medicine, I fully support your project and am in complete agreement with the need for a re-balancing of medical education and biomedical science between the ‘way of material’ which is, ultimately, the left-hemispheric ‘way of mechanism’, and the right-hemispheric semiotic ‘way of relation’. As Iain’s work and writing makes clear, our culture has emphasized the former over the latter and this has now been played out to the point where it is not only deeply corrupting the practice of medicine but placing our species and all of nature at significant risk of annihilation. Without going into a lot of detail, the push toward rejuvenating a relational foundation for medical practice that recovers the notion of ‘person’ is of crucial importance at a time when the ‘mechanistic formalism’ that de-animates living organisms has assumed the role of unquestioned dominance. The point is that living organisms are categorically different from mechanisms, and the mechanistic formalism with its deterministic ‘ontology of states’, itself, is totally inadequate in dealing with the complex, adaptive, context-dependent functionality of living organisms. This has been shown to be the case by the work of theoretical biologist, Robert Rosen, in his ‘relational biology’ as detailed in his final two books: ‘Life Itself’ and ‘Essays on Life Itself’. The problem with replacing the relational model of the ‘complex’ living organism with the ‘simple’ mechanistic entity run very very deep and also connect to the difference between quantum physics, on the one hand, and Newtonian classical mechanics, on the other. The problem can be related to the Incompleteness Theorems of Kurt Gödel, to the biosemiotics of John Deely, and to the idea that living organisms are independently ‘autopoietic’–self-sustaining, and self-perpetuating, while mechanisms are not! As pointed out by Humberto Maturana and Franscisco Varela. This need to ‘re-balance’ the ‘focally-oriented’ left hemispheric and ‘globally-oriented’ right hemispheric worldviews recognizing that the latter is the ‘Master’, has also been pointed out by the historian of human consciousness, Jean Gebser, in his book, ‘The Ever-Present Origin’. It also relates at a very deep level to the work that Timothy Eastman brings forward in his important book, ‘Untying the Gordian Knot. Process, Reality and Context.’ The mechanistic formalism assumes ‘context-independence’ whereas living organisms and the living, conscious Universe operate adaptively in the realm of ‘context-dependence’. One cannot assume ‘context-independence’ when dealing with the functionality of a living organism. It amounts to transforming a living breathing ‘Thou’ into a dead, inanimate ‘It’. Our patients must be seen as operating in the context of the former category, not exclusively as operating in the latter category. This realization really changes everything.