The best evidence on the power of the mind over matter on hand to date is this; you can kill yourself quite handily by psychosomatics. It’s as effective as arsenic, and can be much more painful. Since this article was written, evidence has been brought forth that cancer is psychosomatic also.
Once upon a lime there was a man who was interested in solving problems. One day he found a problem in which the number of variables was, at a casual estimate, about 10’13. He decided to work on this problem.
Question: What would you call this man—an optimist?
Answer: No a psychosomaticist.
That is one way of looking at the vast and fascinating problem which we call psychosomatic medicine. We are working with an organism which starts as a single cell; the cell divides into two, then each of these cells divides, and so on until about forty-five cell-divisions have occurred. At this point the organism is known as an adult human being; the organism has been in existence anywhere from twenty to eighty years. During that time it has been constantly bombarded with forces which are capable of producing change, and it has constantly undergone change. It has maintained a dynamic balance with the forces of its environment which has permitted it to survive and to reproduce.
The organism has done all this in a remarkably efficient manner; we call this state of efficiency “ health.” Then, one day, the organism begins to perform in a less efficient manner; we know from previous observations of similar organisms that this state of lessened efficiency, which we call “illness” often leads to dissolution of the organism.
What do we do about it? What can we do about it? How can we even start to solve a problem in which the data is constantly changing, in which every change affects every part of the problem, both in the past and in the future?
It’s not easy—but we can try. And the attempts, the trials, errors and corrections, make up the body of knowledge which is coming to be known as psychosomatic medicine. What does “psychosomatic” mean —not just the dictionary meaning—but what is its significance to you, to me, to our society? Is it important? If it is, why is it?
To start with, the word is derived from the Greek “psyche,” meaning soul or spirit, and “soma,” meaning body. From the derivation, you might think that “psychosomatic” would mean something like “applying to both mind and body.” But you’d be wrong—for the greatest task of the psychosomaticist is to heal the age-old split in Man’s thinking which divides each human into a separate and separable Mind and Body.
Making such a dichotomy is a very primitive trick. The Australian bush- men have the idea that the body is inhabited by the spirit. The ancient Egyptians talked of a “ka,” which left the corruptible body at death and went on to life everlasting. In this atomic age we still talk of illnesses as being “physical” or “mental.”
How can we get away from this time-worn, time-hallowed concept? Following the lead of General Semantics, we can talk about “structure” and “function.” When we talk about function, we know that there is a structure which is performing the function. In order to have rotation we need a structure which will rotate. Rotation can be produced by a whirlwind, by a squirrel running in his exercise-wheel, by a steam engine, an electric motor—but in each case there is a tangible, see-able, sensation- producing structure in action. Without the structure, we cannot have the function; without the function, the structure is inert and dead.
With this idea firmly fixed in our memories, we can look at this business of body and mind differently —and, I believe, more operationally. By “body” we can refer to the structure of the human; by “ mind ” we can refer to the functioning of that structure.
Not such an earth-shaking concept, is it? But wait—look at what it implies: it means that every single cell in our bodies—and there are about 10’3 of them—has a “mind.” Every organ which functions has a “mind.” Each cell-mind and organ-mind integrates its function with all the others to make up the totality which we call the human mind.
If you are willing to grant this use of the word “mind,” it therefore follows that every action is partially “mental.” Every disease then, is to some extent a “mental” disease. You might have tuberculosis, which is the result of invasion of the body by the Mycobacterium tuberculosis, but there are still “ mental ” components—which respond to psychotherapy!
Well, where do we go from here? The next step is to clarify the factors which lead to functioning. […]
- Source: https://archive.org/details/Astounding_v49n06_1952-08_Gorgon776/page/n3? ↩
- Research note: From DMSMH, by L. Ron Hubbard: “Dianetics (Greek dia, through, and nous, mind or soul) is the science of mind. Far simpler than physics or chemistry, it compares with them in the exactness of its axioms and is on a considerably higher echelon of usefulness. The hidden source of all psychosomatic ills and human aberration has been discovered and skills have been developed for their invariable cure. ↩