Conflict of Philosophy–Introduction

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The time has come. The straight segment of the chiropractic profession needs to make a choice. There is a war going on, a battle for the minds of humanity and we as a profession are conscientious objectors. We have stood on the sidelines and not gotten involved. After all, we are straight chiropractors and we do not address anything else but chiropractic. We take that posture and stand on the sideline of this conflict, trying to tell the world about our chiropractic philosophy when we should be telling them about life. We are focusing on a hard bone on a soft nerve when we should be telling them about this thing called innate intelligence, where it comes from, what it does, and what happens when its expression is interfered with. The world sees us as back doctors, concerned about sprains and strains, not concerned about the full expression of life in the body.

We are going backward in the public’s understanding of what chiropractic is. The general public knows less about chiropractic now than it did thirty years ago. It’s our own fault. The majority of our profession has abandoned our ADIO philosophy for the outside-in philosophy of therapeutic care. We who know better are not picking up the slack. In fact, I would venture to say that most of us are caring for mostly musculoskeletal problems in our office. At least initially that is what people come in for. Our presentation may “convert” a few to our way of looking at life but it is rare. Even many of those who come regularly are doing so because it makes them feel good or “prevents” their aches and pains.

I believe there are two reasons for these phenomena. People refer musculoskeletal problems to us. Why is that? In part, it is because they do not like to have to explain what chiropractic is really about (or because they do not know themselves). It’s much easier to refer a person who has some idea of what chiropractic is (even if it’s the wrong idea) than it is to refer a perfectly asymptomatic person into the office. Why is it that people will bring their asymptomatic kids into the office but not tell their asymptomatic neighbor about chiropractic? They cannot relate the ADIO world and life viewpoint to a neighbor who has an outside-in mentality. So they come in for their backache and when it’s gone, so are they. Second, we are not relating what we do to a way of life, which is what the ADIO philosophy is. We need to tap into the way people think, and relate that to chiropractic. It has nothing to do with aches, pains or symptoms of any kind. The point is that no matter what we want to do, our message is only getting out to people with medical problems who filter our philosophy through those medical problems.

Our dilemma is that we have tried to change our presentation without changing people’s world and life viewpoint. So our message falls on deaf ears. We have felt that if we just changed our educational program we could make a difference. We all know where that has gotten us. We’ve even tried to call it something else, including “wellness care,” or “straight chiropractic,” or “spinology” but the name is not important. Does our presentation of whatever we do or call it just meet with blank stares? I almost wish it did! But it usually meets with “Yeah, that makes sense, doc.” Then they go about living their lives in the same way as before, except they get their back cracked every week or month so that they feel good.

Our presentation of the big idea should change peoples’ lives. They should never be the same after they understand chiropractic and the ADIO viewpoint of life. It should affect every aspect of their life, not just their back problem. Remember the movie about Helen Keller, starring Patti Duke in the title role? Think back to that afternoon when her teacher, Annie Sullivan, got through to Helen who was deaf, dumb and blind. Can you picture that scene? How a little child with no means of expression and no vocabulary reacted to having her mind opened? Wouldn’t it be great to have new practice members show that same reaction? Helen Keller’s world was changed, her life took on a whole new meaning and it was never the same thereafter. I’d give anything to have a new practice member react like that. Instead, we feel satisfied, no, thrilled, if they say “That makes sense, doc.”

Can we turn this chiropractic thing around? I don’t know but we won’t find out unless we try. We cannot expect the next generation to do it. Quite frankly, with very few exceptions, the students coming out of the schools are worse off than we were. They may be smarter, better trained, have better techniques but they haven’t got IT.

We’re not strong enough as a political force to change things. It’s not a problem that can be solved politically anyhow. It’s an issue of the way we look at life. We have to make sure that our world and life viewpoint is consistent with the ADIO viewpoint. Then we have to share that vision with other members of our profession and then, of course, the public. That will be the thrust of the Foundation during the next year. We hope you will join us in this endeavor. V25n3

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