A New Paradigm

In his book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962), T.S. Kuhn propounded a new theory on the advancement of scientific knowledge. According to Kuhn, knowledge does not progress in a steady, linear fashion, but advances instead by great leaps which he calls “paradigm shifts.”

A “paradigm” is a model or pattern of beliefs which we use to make sense of the world around us. A paradigm is very resistant to change, since the human tendency is to hold on to a belief for as long as possible, even when new discoveries challenge it. As more discoveries come forward and the evidence continues to mount, however, we are eventually forced to make a “paradigm shift,” in which we find it necessary to replace our old paradigm with a new one. The 16th century astronomers Copernicus and Galileo, for example, were severely ridiculed for challenging the prevailing paradigm of their day—an earth-centered universe—by their revolutionary new paradigm asserting that the earth revolved around the sun instead of the other way around.

Today, many of us are on the verge of a “paradigm shift” in our beliefs and attitudes toward health and health care. Our disease-oriented paradigm is gradually giving way to a new health-oriented one. Like all paradigms the old one is resistant to change, but even more so in this case because of special interests that reap trillion-dollar profits from it. These special interests are spending millions of dollars every day on propaganda to keep the old paradigm in place. (How many drug commercials or ads have you seen or heard today?)

It should be obvious that the new health paradigm did not originate within the medical system. It is a grassroots movement of the people—people who have grown tired watching their life’s savings dwindle while drug companies and their government cronies reap billion dollar profits; and people who are fed up with their money being spent on research designed to improve profits, not health.

In order to get maximum results from herbs and natural health, and to regain and maintain control over our health, I believe it is absolutely essential that we embrace the new health paradigm—the paradigm in which prevention is considered better than a cure; in which the innate healing power of the human body is recognized and supported; in which doctors are expected to act as teachers, not demigods; and in which we, as individuals and families, are to play a greater role in the decisions that will affect our health.

If I am ever in a serious automobile accident and have broken bones or profuse bleeding, please do not take me to my herbalist or nutritionist! Take me to the emergency room of the local hospital instead, so I can receive treatment from the crisis-oriented specialists. But when it comes to heart disease, cancer prevention, and chronic degenerative diseases such as arthritis, it is no one’s responsibility but my own. If I do nothing to protect my health, simply waiting for a crisis to occur (such as a heart attack) before acting, then it is I and not the government or medicine who has failed—failed in a basic human responsibility, to educate and empower myself and to take at least as much responsibility for maintaining my body as I do in maintaining my automobile. And that is what the new natural health care paradigm is all about—responsibility.