Philosophy, Firewalks, Fanatics and Freaks


          Late this spring a seminar took place at the New Jersey shore.  It was advertised as a Philosophy weekend and was directed primarily to straight chiropractors.  (I’ve yet to hear of a philosophy seminar for mixers!)  It probably would not be noteworthy in this publication except for a number of things.

          First, some of the speakers were respected members of the straight chiropractic community.  Second, a “firewalk” took place on Friday night in which a hundred or more people (D.C.’s, CA’s, wives etc.) walked across a bed of hot coals barefoot and as many as eleven had to be taken to area hospitals for first and second-degree burn treatment.  Third, the firewalk reportedly made the local newspaper, the wire services, the Paul Harvey show and the newscasts as far away as Pittsburgh and Michigan.  Fourth, the organizers of the seminar actually thought the publicity was a positive presentation of chiropractic!

          Organizers of seminars have every right to do anything they want at their seminars and engage any speaker they choose but let’s be clear about what is straight chiropractic and what is something else.  Firewalking has nothing to do with the philosophy of straight chiropractic.  Of course neither does lying on the beach or swimming in the ocean but no one confuses them with chiropractic because all kinds of people do those activities.  The emphasis in a philosophy weekend should be upon the innate intelligence of the body and its relationship to the chiropractic objective.  Firewalking has nothing to do with innate intelligence.  In fact it is an insult to the principle of life which heals and runs the human body.

          Let’s understand a little about this chiropractic philosophy.  When it comes to the innate function of the human body, the chiropractors role it to 1), enable the innate intelligence to better express itself over the nervous system by clearing interferences at the vertebral level and two, to educate patients to the importance of living innate controlled lives with regard to innate functions.  Translation: not to educatedly interfere with them.  The body’s response to hot coals is an innate function.  The body creates pain and blisters.  Limitations of matter may lead to severe damage.  One of the primary educated functions is to learn to not put the body in situations where limitations of matter can be exceeded.  That is you shouldn’t touch hot stoves, eat hot pizza or walk on hot coals.  The educated brain is not designed to overcome an innate function.  That is what a firewalk is doing, overcoming or attempting to overcome normal innate responses: 1) avoidance of a potentially damaging situation, 2) pain as a warning, 3) blistering to minimize tissue damage.  We chiropractors are on one hand condemning medicine because they use their educated brains to chemically control what should be innate functions in a patient’s body and then we turn around and use our educated brain to directly overcome innate functions in our own body.  That is not only philosophically unsound it is downright stupid.  There is no doubt the educated brain can overcome innate function (just hold your breath).  There is no doubt it can influence dozens of innate function in the body.  It can prevent pain and perhaps even blistering but that is not what its purpose is and that’s not what chiropractic is all about.  In fact, it is just the opposite of what chiropractic is all about.  It has been suggested that the firewalking is an exercise in focusing and in the power of the mind (educated).  There is no question about the power of the mind, the question is using this power correctly.  Firewalking encourages the incorrect use of the educated mind.  While it is true that we nee to learn to focus better that is still an educated function.  You cannot strengthen the focusing abilities of the educated mind while exercising it on what should be innate functions.  You exercise the educated by doing educated activities, by focusing on educated functions.  Medical doctors do not become more understanding of the innate intelligence of the body by exercising and sharpening their diagnostic skills and prescribing drugs.  In fact they probably become less.  This article is not an in depth study of the educated and the innate mind.  It was not meant to be.  But many of us had better do some in depth study lest we get caught up in anti-chiropractic activities.

          One of the most appealing positive aspects of chiropractic philosophy, the one that has enabled millions to enjoy the benefits of it, is that it is simple, common sense.  We are different, different than the mechanistic, outside in approaches that the public has been constantly inundated with.  What we do have going for us in spit of being different is the logical, sensible understandable approach to health that is straight chiropractic.  When we are aligned or associated with something that is unusual, out of the ordinary or just plain weird, that is outside the realm of chiropractic, we undermine the common sense appeal of chiropractic.  I seriously doubt whether anybody will have heard the news reports and say “wow, chiropractors can walk on hot coals, I’m going to see one tomorrow”.  I hate to think of how many may write chiropractors off as fanatics, freaks and quacks because of a meaningless exercise that some well intentioned chiropractic advocates got caught up in by the charismatic talk of a non chiropractic chiropractor.  We cannot afford to turn anybody off and more important humanity can ill afford to be turned off.

          We need chiropractic weekends, with philosophy and philosophical speakers.  There is nothing wrong with getting emotional over it.  But the emotions should be a result of the beauty of our philosophy.  It should excite us to serve humanity, not go out into a parking lot and performing an act normally associated with eastern religious fanatics.  The chiropractic philosophy is so beautiful, so exciting, so uplifting that we should be able to easily spend a weekend talking about it and sharing it.  But if we cannot without bringing in things like firewalking then perhaps we should all stay home.v9n5

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