Language of Accommodation


We all use language of accommodation from time to time. A writer of a mystery novel may refer to the “icy fingers of fear.” Fear does not have fingers. However it is helpful both in communicating and in understanding. But we must be careful that it does not confuse. Conversely, we must be careful not to get hung up on the language of accommodation and miss the point. Using the term “he” when writing is accommodative language. Some people get upset over it. It is not meant to be sexist or belittle the female gender. It makes for smoother writing and reading. However, if I use it to the point of making people think that the chiropractic profession is made up of only males, I have stepped over the line.

Recently at a Sherman Lyceum, an old-time B.J. chiropractor challenged me for using the phrase “the body heals itself.”  He pointed out that the body is just matter and that it is the innate intelligence of the body that actually does the healing. I agreed, dutifully taking the tongue lashing. After further thought, I realized that this same chiropractor repeatedly uses the term “Innate” as in “Innate heals,” or “Innate runs the body,” or “Innate told me.” Apparently, we are all subject to misusing language of accommodation. The correct term is “the innate intelligence of the body.” Both terms may be language of accommodation. When I use the term “the body,” I assume every person knows that I mean the innate intelligence of the body. If the matter of the body healed itself, every dead person would come back to life rather than decompose. When he uses the term “innate” by itself, I know he is talking about the innate intelligence of the body. Unless, of course, he capitalizes it and alludes to the fact that it talks to him, then I begin to think he is personifying this principle of organization and making it into more than what it is. We must be careful with our language of accommodation but we must also realize that language of accommodation ascribes to something or someone a characteristic or quality it does not really possess in order to improve our understanding.

I often use language of accommodation in my writing. Another example would be using the word “choose” with respect to innate intelligence. To say that the innate intelligence of the body “chooses” what it needs from the food we eat seems to give it personality. Volition is a characteristic of personality (which for clarity’s sake innate intelligence does not have). I use that term to get across the idea of selective judgment and, hence, intelligence as opposed to merely a function of physics and chemistry (i.e., mechanism). We know that the innate intelligence is not a little man sitting up in the brain saying, “Do I want red beets, carrots or spinach?” Neither is metabolism a process that can be duplicated in a chemistry lab. “Chooses” ascribes to the innate intelligence of the body a characteristic it really does not have but it enables us to better understand the phenomena of vitalism.

The point of this discussion is to stress the importance of knowing the philosophy so that language of accommodation makes sense. I believe that the old-time B.J. chiropractor understood that when I said, “the body heals itself.” He just wanted to harass me. I know that the matter does not heal itself apart from the action of the innate intelligence. When Reggie Gold says “innate” does this or “innate” does that, I know he is speaking of the manifestation of a principle of organization within the body.  However, I do not know the same to be true when some old-time B.J. chiropractors talk about “Innate.” Therein lies the difference. We need to use language of accommodation especially when discussing infinite and metaphysical concepts, but we must be clear that it is only language of accommodation. That necessitates study so that we may truly know the chiropractic philosophy.v15n1

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