Dr. Wysong's Blog -
THE THREE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS
Through the years I have often been criticized for my forays into subjects apart from health. Understandably, people come to me because of my formal education in medicine. They are then surprised, some even affronted, when they get something that seems unrelated to my degrees.
Let me explain. The primary reason I am no longer in day to day clinical and surgical practice is because I just can’t get very excited about sticking my finger in holes in cracking dams. Attempting to repair health problems after the fact and not addressing fundamental causes is not only uninteresting to me, it seems unethical as well. Yes, repairmen are needed, and it is technically interesting work. But solutions that stop things from breaking in the first place make so much more sense.
The frustration I have felt with conventional medicine has been paralleled by my dismay with the noisome effects of most human meddling. There is not only heart breaking disease and suffering, but injustice, starvation, abandoned children, war, oppression, animal cruelty, despair, and meaninglessness. But no matter what the problem, remedies always seem to be focused on effects, not causes. If there is starvation, send food. If kids are homeless send money. If there is oppression, send arms.
I have been troubled by and pondered these things since earliest memory. Over the years I have thrown myself into conventional band aids such as medicine, philanthropy, education, legal redress, industry, religion, and being a compliant citizen. But none of it got at the root cause.
And when I say cause, I am looking for the deep cause, the starting point from which the problem incubates. Since people’s actions are a manifestation of how they think, it is thinking that must be the root of all good and evil. Sadly, we are superficial, lazy, and pleasure for the moment driven. We want instant gratification, not the hard work of measuring long term consequences, sacrificing, and working now for a better future.
So long view thinking is the tool we must cultivate and use. There are three important things this thinking must be applied to if we are ever to make a better world:
These are not separate issues, they are commingled and interdependent. One cannot be resolved without addressing the others. We must first be philosophers. Not the nihilistic or solipsistic kind that gets nowhere. But the kind that uses reason free of bias and lets reality and the facts lead to truths to live by.
I can’t be a good doctor or a good person without rationally exploring and answering each of the above questions. If I do not know from where health comes, I can neither prevent nor heal. If I do not know from where I come, I cannot know if I have any moral obligation to anything. If I do not know from where freedom comes, I simply expose my underbelly for others to lord it over me.
For example, the idea that we are nothing more than organic machines that evolved from primordial muck, leads to the materialistic, symptom-based approach of modern (failed) medicine. It also promotes a survival of the fittest mentality among nations. It leads to the prevailing sense of purposelessness, and hopelessness. Religious ideas based on little more than hope and faith can foul things up as well. Likewise, living in a society in which freedoms have been lost, or in which economic blight binds one to struggling for daily existence, jeopardizes health and makes ethics seem superfluous.
Remarkably, few have set about rationally resolving any of these questions. People just go to church, make their doctor’s appointment, and vote based upon the star power of candidates or their promises of hand outs. People think the realms of health, origins, and politics are where mere “beliefs” and “faith” belong. So rather than these subjects being the continuing center of open thought and important discourse, most people take the attitude that they have a right to their private opinion. Polite conversation is supposed to be about American Idol, who’s going to win the Super Bowl, and the upcoming trip to the mall.
I disagree. People do not have a right to their opinion. They have a right to pursuing the truth and forming the correct opinion.
My two books, Living Life As If Thinking Matters, and Solving The Big Questions As If Thinking Matters are my 1400 page attempt to focus on these three most important things and show how rational thinking can be brought to bear on them. The AsIfThinkingMatters.com website does more of the same, as do my newsletters on that site. These venues were created to permit fully exploring the three most important topics using reason and evidence.
I, and you, have a duty to be probing, open-minded, truth-seeking philosophers, origin of life students, doctors, and political scientists. Until we get it right, there will be no lasting solution, nothing will fall into rational line, and we will continue to be mired in the misery that is the rotten fruit of short sighted, naïve, and wrong thinking.
Thinking Word — noisome - \noi'some\ Click for pronunciation -adjective: Offensive to the point of arousing disgust; foul: a noisome odor.