Intellectual Chiropractic

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In reading J.P. Moreland   recently, I was struck by some comments he made concerning the success, survival and growth of a movement whether it be political, philosophical, religious or other.  Some of the things he wrote are very applicable to chiropractic and are worthy of thought and discussion.  He said that a movement cannot survive if a number of factors arise.  They  include the following:  “The movement will not survive in a culture where its viewpoint is considered irrational by a significant number  of people and is not adequately  represented among the intellectual leaders who shape the plausibility structure of that culture.”

Our chiropractic philosophy must become rational and logical to “a significant number of people.”  In the past we have presented chiropractic in a way that ONLY reached a small group of people, those disenchanted with medicine, those who were desperate, or those who responded to an emotional, pseudo-religious presentation.  If we maintain that approach, I       believe we will continually lessen our sphere of influence.  We need to talk less and less about getting sick  people well, less about one-cause, one cure, less about innate intelligence being God in man and less about other similar concepts that seem irrational to intellectuals.  Chiropractic philosophy is an    intellectual endeavor and we should make it such.  We tend to shy away from treating it intellectually because many in our profession either embarrass us with a poorly constructed philosophy (based on the old model of a cure-all) or ridicule an intellectual    approach to chiropractic in the name of science.  Many of these people are pseudo-intellectuals or anti-intellectuals claiming to want to put chiropractic into a scientific setting.  Many have a fear of discussing chiropractic on an intellectual level, a level on which they are uncomfortable.  We must emphasize the common sense, logical, intellectual idea that people are better off with a good nerve supply regardless of any other need or circumstance in their life.  We must also emphasize the intellectual concept of an innate intelligence.  That is right¾innate intelligence may not be a scientific concept but it is surely an intellectual one.

Further, according to Moreland, the movement cannot survive if it  enlists others to join because the  individual gets a certain satisfaction or it meets a need.  People must join the movement because the idea is important and “because of the truth that defines that movement.”  Chiropractic got where it is today because people “enlisted” in the profession for what they could give to humanity.  Being a chiropractor held little status except among those who the chiropractor served.  It was not a lucrative profession.  Today, however, we are attracting students for the “doctor” title and the promise of making a good deal of money.  To some extent this motivation has peaked, inasmuch as the prospect of great financial rewards has waned with the continuing loss of third party pay.  Yet to some extent, it is still a problem.  In addition to the desire for money, the status of    doctor carries with it a multitude of problems, not the least of which is trying to mimic the physician.  We need to reach young people for the purpose of serving  humanity not for serving self.

Lastly, Moreland maintains that a movement will falter in “an atmosphere wherein the movement does   not mobilize a growing number of its soldiers to be articulate advocates and defenders of its ideology who can debate in the public square.”

This is an especially important arena for straight chiropractic.  Until very recently, we have drawn into ourselves and circled our wagons to fight off our enemies.  To a great extent, we are still behind those   wagons.  We need to get out more into public and professional forums and present our idea and our       approach.  Most of our profession still does not differentiate between the objective straight chiropractor and the traditional “cause of all   disease” chiropractor.  In some ways we are responsible for that misconception.  I am not suggesting that we should be joining with other chiropractic organizations or even working with them, but we should not miss an  opportunity to present our views to them.

We have many people in our    profession who can speak about  chiropractic, hold their own in an intellectual discussion, present our model in a public, professional or political forum.  We have some great young  chiropractors who, given the opportunity and the      encouragement, can grow into     tremendous spokespeople for straight chiropractic.  It is time we began to utilize these people and  insure that this profession continues to prosper.  v17n4

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