|Definition of Health|
The following is a full and exact copy of Chapter 5: Definition and Measure of Health contained in A New Model for Health and Disease.
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Definition and Measure of Health
The first task of a science that claims its primary aim is to restore health should be to define what "health" is, what the target or goal of treatment is, and in what direction the patient should be guided during his treatment.
One should also define the parameters for measuring health. This should be defined so that anybody can easily ascertain whether an individual under treatment is progressing toward health or is actually regressing toward a deeper state of imbal- ance.
I doubt whether any medical graduate could provide these definitions; I also doubt that medical students are taught to recognize an ideal state of health or to identify the parameters that measure it.
When the pain is gone, when the inflammation has subsided, when a bothersome symptom has disappeared, when the pathol- ogy is no longer evident, the patient usually is pronounced cured. Yet there may be long-term disturbances caused by the treatment, especially in deeper or more subtle parts of the human organism such as the immune or hormonal systems or, even worse, in the mental or emotional planes, that are not taken into consideration. A treatment therefore should have a beneficial effect simultaneously on all these levels in order to claim that it is the right kind of treatment.
Treating the whole person, which is now accepted on a rhetorical level by everyone, should be more than a theoretical dictum; it should be an applied reality.
I hope to clearly show in this treatise that such an objective is almost impossible to attain through treatment with allopathic drugs, and that only through some form of alternative medicine practiced correctly, such as Homeopathy, Acupuncture, Osteopathy, Naturopathy, etc., can the potential for such a goal be realized.
The Definition of Health for the Physical Body
Disease, whether expressed through pain, discomfort or weakness, always tends to restrict the individual. Its opposite, health, gives a sense of freedom. This is the reason why in the definition that follows I have used the word "freedom" as a key word.
I also give a separate definition of health for each of the three planes since I know that an individual can be sick on one level while on another level he may appear completely healthy. For example, a schizophrenic that is deeply disturbed in his mental- emotional plane appears to be extremely healthy in his physical body. It is a well-established fact that severely mentally ill patients almost never get sick with physical ailments, even under the most adverse conditions, while others that suffer from physical ailments can be very healthy in their emotional and mental spheres.
As we have already stated, every pain, discomfort, uneasi- ness, distress or weakness of the physical body results in a limitation of freedom and a feeling of bondage to the pain or discomfort. The individual necessarily directs all his attention to the pain, to the exclusion of everything else, and of course loses his general sense of well-being. It is for this reason that health on the physical plane can be defined as follows: Health is freedom from pain in the physical body, having attained a state of well-being.
The Definition of Health on the Emotional Plane
On the emotional plane, that which enslaves the individual and absorbs all his attention is excessive passion - passion in the broadest sense and not with only a sensual connotation.
Excessive, inordinate passion for anything shows a degree of imbalance within the emotional plane. For instance, when an overwhelming erotic passion for another person reaches a point where murdering this person is contemplated because of jeal- ousy, we definitely have a disease state rather than a love state. Passion for a cause, even a lofty one, that brings the individual to the point where he contemplates destructive actions against others is definitely a diseased state rather than justified ideal- ism. A healthy state of the emotions never goes so far as to bring Ot Ë Mew Model For Health ana uisease about destruction, but rather tries to follow the "golden mean" of the ancient Greeks.
Fanatical and dogmatic attitudes that divorce themselves from logic and understanding show a degree of unhealthy emotional involvement that usually results in some type of catastrophe, either for the individual or for others. Passionately loving somebody may mean that the degree of attachment is so great that if the love is not reciprocated, the individual may commit some kind of crime (homicide or suicide).
We too often mistake our emotional needs and insecurities for real love and affection. The latter two presuppose giving without reservation. It is emotional attachment that constantly makes demands of others under the pretense of giving. Certainly the opposite of passion - apathy - is no more desirable. Apathy is an extremely unhealthy emotional state, very much akin to the idea of death. What is desirable is a state of serenity and calm that is dynamic and creative, not passive, indifferent or destruc- tive - a state where love and positive emotions prevail, as opposed to hatred and other negative emotions.
In order to justify their origin and destiny, human beings have to transcend their animal nature, and have to make conscious efforts to evolve, not so much in their physical body as in their mental and emotional spheres.
I believe that it is clear now that passion comes from weak- ness rather than strength on the emotional plane. Thus the definition for this plane should be: Health on the emotional plane is freedom from passion, having as a result a dynamic state of serenity and calm.
The Definition of Health on the Mental-Spiritual Level
To give a concise definition of health on the mental-spiritual plane is a rather difficult task because one must identify the most important mental-spiritual qualities, which if disturbed may seriously injure the mental equilibrium.
After much deliberation I have come to the conclusion that peace of mind can be drastically affected by egotism, selfishness and acquisitiveness. The more egotistical and selfish an indi- vidual is, the greater his potential for mental derangement.
It is a known fact that a person who is very egotistical can be quite upset when his authority, knowledge or attainments are challenged. A humble man with the same attainments will hardly react to the unjust criticism of others, and will actually see the positive side of the criticism and correct his course of action accordingly. The same "shocks" that can set off an egotist and destroy him can leave a humble man almost unaffected.
An egotistical industrialist who fails in his business and loses his factory cares more about the opinion that others now have of him than the fate of the families, including his own, that will have no means to support themselves. It is his ego that has been hurt. Even if he has plenty to live on without the factory, he will feel miserable after the failure and is bound to develop a host of symptoms because of his "false" and selfish grief.
In a similar way, acquisitiveness could become the core of mental disturbance. Can you imagine how an avaricious man might react to the loss of his physical wealth and the deep symptomatology that could result?
Hardly anyone today is totally free from the feelings of egotism, selfishness and acquisitiveness.
It is also a fact that the person engrossed in his own ego can neither see objectively nor perceive the truth. He thinks he always knows everything and knows it better than anyone else. Humanity has suffered great disasters because of such atti- tudes. Looking back in history we frequently recognize this quality and label it insanity.
We speak about the insanity of Hitler, Idi Amin Dada, even of the captain in charge of the Titanic whose arrogance cost the lives of hundreds. In our own way, every one of us is dealing with similar issues on a smaller scale. This "disease" called egotism and selfishness seems to be universal. That is why we are so likely to admire and worship the saints; we believe that they actually managed to subdue their egotism and sacrifice their own lives for the sake of others. We worship them as "superior" human beings because their accomplishment seems beyond our comprehension. Although rare, this "saint-like" attitude is the healthiest to possess; in such a state true peace of mind and happiness is achieved.
It is peculiar, though, that this state of health can only be achieved through conscious efforts of the individual, while the state of health of the physical body is a birthright.
There is a natural legacy and an inherent urge for human beings to evolve into people of "Love and Wisdom." Only then A New Model For Health and Disease will there be hope for the human race. Not until we start seeing the issue in all of its dimensions will there be hope for a better state of health.
This imbalance we feel on the mental-spiritual plane is perhaps the most challenging and complicated issue we have to face. Nobody is exempt from this imbalance, though there are different degrees. The greater an individual's egotism and selfishness, the greater are his possibilities for a mental break- down.
We can therefore define mental health as: Freedom from selfishness in the mental sphere, having as a result total unification with Truth.
So now we summarize the whole definition of Health: Health is freedom from pain in the physical body, a state of well being; freedom from passion on the emotional plane, resulting in a dynamic state of serenity and calm; and freedom from selfishness in the mental sphere, having as a result total unification with Truth. A truly healthy indi- vidual should therefore combine both divine qualities of Love and Wisdom.
It is obvious that such a state of health is an ideal and that nobody can possess it in its entirety; but the definition points to an ideal Model of health toward which therapeutic treatments should aspire. The more a patient under treatment approaches this state, the healthier he becomes; and the more he moves away from it, the less healthy he becomes.
The Measure of Health
It is obvious at this point that we need some parameters to measure health.
Some questions are required of us. For example: If we cure somebody of asthma and as a consequence he develops a heart condition, how do we know that this new state of health is better or worse than his previous condition? If we treat a patient with a cardiac condition and he improves, but after a certain period of time he develops a phobic state or an anxiety neurosis, can we say that the treatment benefited the patient?
We shall see that in order for a treatment to be successful it has to push the disorder's center of gravity more and more to the peripheral, the skin being the final avenue of expression, leav- ing the deepest parts of the human being - his mental and emotional levels - intact.
As I have said, the issue of determining an individual's exact degree of health is a complicated task requiring much research and involving a number of parameters before precise answers are possible. But as a general rule of thumb, we can say that a good parameter for measuring the health of an individual is the degree to which he is free to create. Anybody who is basically healthy will seek to create rather than destroy. By creativity, as I have stated previously, I mean all those actions that promote the interests and good of oneself and others. To the degree that one commits destructive acts toward either himself or others, the degree to which he is diseased is apparent.