This is a commentary on Volume 34, “Evolution or Revolution” Chapter 4


This chapter is a must read for the chiropractor. We have learned that new principles are needed in order to advance mankind. Today we discuss this concept in terms of creating new “paradigms.” B.J. talks about Henry Ford’s new principle which replaced the principle of transportation by one’s own feet or by an animal. He also discusses Samuel Morse’s new principle of verbal communication over distances far greater than that which the voice will carry and the principle of electricity and harnessing it for our own use. Many more principles like these have been developed in the last 150 years. B.J. likens the discovery of chiropractic to that of these great principles which have changed mankind for the better (although some would disagree with that assertion). B.J. tells us that in order to utilize a new principle, we must first break with the old. Ford needed the new principle of the combustion engine before he could revolutionize travel. To B.J., chiropractic represented a break with the medical model, a new principle on the cause of disease (above-down vs. outside-in). But I see it a little differently. As a cure for the cause of disease, B.J. says we have “refined the idea of getting sick people well.” But if that is all chiropractic does, then we really have not created a new paradigm or a new principle. The principle has always addressed the cause of disease. B.J. just disagreed with the medical community over what that cause was. The real paradigm shift or “new principle,” as B.J. calls it, came about when we concluded that chiropractic really is not about disease, its about improved innate expression. It is not about getting sick people well, it is about enabling people to better reach their potential in every area of life. Disease is not about potential. No one has a potential for disease. What they do have is a potential for health. They may not reach their potential and one of the consequences of that may be disease but we are interested in the potential for health. You do not have potential for negatives. One does not have a potential for failure, only a potential for success. Not reaching that potential is called failure. We are not programmed for failure any more than we are programmed for disease. We have potential for happiness, for excellence, for knowledge, for longevity of life and for athletic performance. We can either reach these potentials, or fall short of them to varying degrees. The really revolutionary principle in chiropractic will never be realized as long as we address or even acknowledge sickness, disease or their accompanying effect, symptoms or even their cause as part of our model. We will be like Henry Ford trying to improve upon the horse and buggy. He could probably have made some improvements in breeding and in design but it would still be a horse and buggy. That would not have been a new principle, just a refinement of the old one. I believe B.J. truly gave us this new principle but he only gave it to us in “theory.” He never seemed to put it into practice. It was as if he talked about the combustion engine but continued to improve upon the design of the horse and buggy. Perhaps had he lived longer, he would have stopped refining the “getting sick people well” principle and begun the modern-straight chiropractic paradigm. I like to think he would have. Perhaps he would have developed it sooner than 1976 and involved more of the profession by virtue of his authority. I wish he had. But he did not. As it is, we did not have that breakthrough until the late 70s and we have been about the process of refining that principle for the last 25 years. Imagine where we could be today had B.J. put it all together. To his credit, I think B.J. refined the old paradigm of getting sick people well to such a point that we realized it could not be refined any further and yet it still did not sufficiently meet mankind’s needs. It was not until then that we realized a new principle was needed. Of course, the issue is not where we could have been, but where we go from here. We need to move forward with the potential principle, some of us need to abandon the getting sick people well principle and some of us just need to get out of the way. v16n1

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