INNATE OR innate

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Recently an editorial appeared in a chiropractic publication (a very good publication which I recommend to every D.C.) which took to task the “trend among straight chiropractors to not capitalize innate intelligence.” There, I did it again! The editorial quoted D.D. Palmer in the Chiropractor’s Adjuster saying “Innate Intelligence is, or should be personified, used as a proper noun, therefore should commence with capitals.” Of course the first thing I did was find the quote, since so many people quote D.D. and B.J. out of context. The quote was right there on page 400. Unfortunately, the statement by D.D. had nothing to do with the context of the entire page! Let’s then take the statement itself and make a few observations in order to totally confuse the issue!
It is interesting to note that D.D. writes “Innate intelligence.” Apparently D.D. only thought it necessary to capitalize “innate” (oops! Habits and traditions are hard to break). According to D.D., “innate” intelligence should be personified.” “Personify,” Webster says, is “to conceive of or represent as a person.” Under the definition of “person” he writes ” a human being, a particular individual.” From our philosophical understanding then we see that innate intelligence should not be personified. Philosophy 801 notes from Sherman College state on page 28 “don’t personalize.” The personification of innate intelligence is the real issue here. The innate intelligence of a living thing is not a person. It is not a little man sitting up in the brain pulling strings, pressing buttons, whispering in your ear or telling you which vertebra to adjust. It is a principle of organization (the Law of Life), which exists equally in all living things. Saying “innate told me to do it” or talking about the “collective innates” of a group of chiropractors in a meeting is not only philosophically incorrect it’s downright weird. The editorial says “The mechanistic chiropractors, being embarrassed, gave up capitalizing Innate (sic!) years ago in an unsuccessful attempt to disprove the medical label of “cultist.” Frankly I gave up capitalizing innate for the very same reason. I am a vitalistic chiropractor. I will always be one. I am concerned that we present this vitalistic philosophy in a sound, intelligent manner to every vitalist in the world without making it sound like a pseudo-religious cult. Read my lips. Lack of capital letters does not lessen my respect, awe, or appreciation for the wisdom of the body. Tradition and custom are great as long as they do not hinder progress. Our profession’s philosophy has made progress. If it hadn’t, we would not even be using the adjective “straight.” We have more clearly delineated and defined our objectives in the past ten years than we have in the previous 40 years. Hopefully, we will continue to do so until we can easily, clearly, and succinctly elucidate our objectives to every legislator and lay person in the world. But to do that we must continue to develop, clarify, and define our philosophy. We must give up dogma and concepts that are tradition and not philosophically sound. We are beginning to do that. If we have to make some nonessential sacrifices and give up some long held traditions, so be it. The Major Premise is a fundamental tenet of our chiropractic philosophy. I imagine B.J. wrote it. I memorized it as did thousands of chiropractors. Make that dozens of chiropractors. It is the foundation of chiropractic. David Koch, D.C., Chairman of the Philosophy Department at Sherman College recently wrote an article suggesting we should make changes in the Major Premise in order to better clarify our philosophy. No one suggested that Dr. Koch be burned at the stake. Nor should they. He is a bright, young man who is making some very fine contributions to the development of the chiropractic philosophy. We should be thankful that the profession has intelligent, thinking people developing its philosophy. We also need people like the editor of the newsletter that made the criticism. We all need to be challenged when we suggest changes. If I want to write innate intelligence in lower case letters, I hope there are people out there like her/him to question me and force me to defend my position. There should be people who will challenge Dr. Koch with regard to adding to the Major Premise.
It’s ironic that the article below the editorial comment (or is it Editorial Comment?) was called Technic Wars and it talked about how “the straights are always nagging, arguing and splitting hairs over minor differences…” I don’t feel that splitting hairs is bad. It keeps us on our toes, it forces us to continually evaluate and be sure of our position. It makes us discard the incorrect, strengthen the weak and clarify the vague. It causes us to think and that’s good. Splitting hairs means you stand for something. That’s the difference between a straight and a mixer. The straight stands for principles. Innate or innate? Perhaps it is hairsplitting, but that’s constructive as long as we are doing it for the good of chiropractic and, in this case, I am sure those involved in the discussion have the best interest of chiropractic at heart. We need more of this type of dialogue.    V2n5

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