The Chicken or the Egg?


Which came first, the chiropractic objective or the chiropractic philosophy? I think this question is more difficult to answer than the similar question about the chicken or the egg. While the chiropractic objective, correcting vertebral subluxation so the innate intelligence of the body can be better expressed, was not crystallized until the mid-seventies, an argument could be made that it existed since the foundation of the profession. The Morikubo case would support that argument. Shegatoro Morikubo was not charged with practicing medicine as a chiropractor because he gave drugs to patients. He was charged with treating disease, treating sick people by giving chiropractic adjustments. It was not a drugless approach to treating disease that was exonerated. There were many drugless approaches in practice at that time within the practice of medicine. That is why the medical profession thought it appropriate to have charges filed. However, Morikubo maintained that he was doing something totally new, different and not the practice of medicine. (There are still some in the traditional mindset of the profession, and even some in the straight community, who would dispute the above definition of chiropractic by objectives). Did the philosophy give rise to the objective, that is to say, is our objective a conclusion of our philosophy? Or did we establish an objective and build a philosophy around it?

I would suggest that our philosophy gave rise to our objective. Our philosophy is deductive in nature, and as some continued to go through the deductive process and refine our philosophy, concepts that no longer met the test of reason were dropped. So the philosophy did not change, it just became clearer, and as a result the objective was born in the mid-seventies. We began to drop concepts like “getting sick people well” as we realized that chiropractors who focus chiropractic care on sick people create confusion as to what their objective is. Unfortunately, as the rest of the profession went the direction of addressing sick people, the path of least resistance was those with musculoskeletal conditions. If, as a profession, chiropractic was going to treat disease, it was in competition with medicine and to succeed would need a better approach than the medical profession.

Historically, chiropractic had a better “cure for disease” by manipulation, albeit, unknowingly allowing the innate intelligence of the body to better express itself. Most medical procedures were either crude or dangerous or both. However, as medicine improved, chiropractic could no longer compete. The only place in the therapeutic model where it could compete was with musculoskeletal conditions. So chiropractic began to take on baggage that confused our profession as to what the professional objective was. That “slipping” in our philosophy caused us to ignore important aspects of our philosophy which had the effect of clouding our objective. Perhaps the most important was the concept of an innate intelligence. Ignoring the role of innate intelligence did not happen overnight. In fact, at the beginning of our profession’s history, innate intelligence was an important factor and was even recognized by other healing arts. However, with the increasing emphasis on science and the mechanistic approach, it became less important.

The more straight chiropractors used reason and logic, the more deductive that portion of the profession’s approach became and the more chiropractic set aside the baggage and got “back to basics.” Why did it take us almost 80 years to reach a place in our philosophy that we could clearly elucidate our objective, truly live and practice our philosophy? I wish I knew.

Our philosophy and its deductive nature enabled us to realize our objective, and put aside the aspects of our philosophy that did not meet the test of reason. That objective has made it much easier to develop our philosophy further. Once you have a clear objective, that becomes a new “Major Premise” and everything can be evaluated in light of that. New concepts can be developed and take on new meaning. Our philosophy, or at least our understanding of it, can and will continue to expand.

With all of that said, there is one more consideration as to which came first, the philosophy or the objective? Most of that which made up our “chiropractic philosophy” was merely a combination of general philosophy, vitalistic philosophy, a world and life viewpoint that recognized Something greater than the material world, the Law of Life. Those contributions, divine intervention and an inquiring mind (D.D.’s) gave us the chiropractic objective, the purpose for introducing a force into the spine. From that we have developed our true chiropractic philosophy. I told you the chicken and egg question was easier to answer. V26n1

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