My Berkshire Presentation- a fortiori logic


Speaking at the recent Berkshire Philosophy Event in March, I decided to take the opportunity to share a few things of personal, historical interest before launching into what I wanted to share with my professional colleagues who were attending. My time was gone before I knew it! As I grow older, it’s too easy to reminisce! The following is a synopsis of what I had planned on sharing: “A fortiori” is defined as “stronger reason” or “with greater reason.” Establishing the reality of the greater establishes by logical reason the reality of the lesser. Let me give you an example of a fortiori logic: If I can bench press 160 pounds, it follows a fortiori that I can bench press 80 pounds. In other words, if I can accomplish the greater, I can certainly accomplish the lesser because it takes less effort. However, we must realize that a fortiori does not relate to quality or quantity. If we related a fortiori to quality we would conclude that if you were a Mercedes-Benz mechanic, which is an automobile of unquestionably greater quality than a Ford Focus, you could repair a Ford Focus. If I had a Mercedes-Benz I would not take it to a Ford mechanic to repair it. Conversely, if I had a Ford Focus, I would not take it to a Mercedes mechanic to repair it. When I, experienced a brain hemorrhage in January 2013, but was unaware of what was actually happening at the time, I mistakenly went to an ophthalmologist because the only problem I had ever had of a medical nature was a vision problem and I was experiencing some similar symptoms. (Now there’s a good reason why chiropractors should not be diagnosing!). He checked my vision, as only a specialist in ophthalmology could do, and said there was nothing wrong with my eye. He realized that although he was an M.D., he was not qualified to render an expert opinion on anything else and refused to do so, even at my request. He was a Mercedes mechanic and would not pretend to know how to diagnose a problem with a Ford Focus. A fortiori is not about quality. Neither is it about quantity. If I can bench press 1 pound 160 times does it logically follow that I can bench press 160 pounds one time? Maybe I can but maybe I cannot. Even though we are talking about the same total weight in quantity, we are still comparing different activities. A fortiori is not about quality or quantity. It relates to the degree of effort. It takes more (or a different type of) effort to bench press 160 pounds once than one pound 160 times or even 80 pounds twice. The issue of a fortiori is always one of degree of effort as well as logic. For it to meet the issue of logic, it must satisfy the concept of reality. If I can bench-press 560 pounds it follows a fortiori that I can bench-press 160 pounds. While I have bench-pressed 560 pounds many times, it is always in my dreams, never in reality.Let’s get to the chiropractic application of degree or effort necessary to meet the criteria of a fortiori logic. Is it a legitimate question to ask whether it take more effort to set a broken bone or to heal one? I think we could all agree that healing the broken bone is not only outside any practitioner’s expertise but, in fact, outside his capability. That’s why physicians only set broken bones. Is it a legitimate question to ask whether it takes more effort to remove a gall bladder or design and build one? Again, it is not legitimate because it is not possible for anyone to design and build one. We must not fall into the trap of comparing apples and oranges. Setting a broken bone is not the same as or can be compared to healing the fracture. Anyone with a little bit of training can do the former; only the innate intelligence of the body can do the latter. Now here’s a question for the chiropractor, does it take more effort to locate and analyze a vertebral subluxation than to do brain surgery? Sorry gang, brain surgery takes far more effort. I have a good friend who has run a very successful high-volume practice for almost 50 years. When asked what is his secret to success he says “all I do is push on bumps.” Now that may be oversimplifying things a little. After all, he has to know where that “bump” is and whether it is an ASLA or an ASRP “bump.” B.J. once said that if you throw all your patients down the cellar steps half of them will get well. He also is reported to have said (although I doubt it), “…but don’t worry about it, you can make a good living on 50% results.” We shouldn’t miss the real point of B.J.’s anecdote or my friend’s assertion. We don’t make the adjustment, the innate intelligence of the body, the practice member’s body, does, a fact for which we can be thankful. In 1895 D.D. Palmer adjusted Harvey Lillard’s spine and his hearing was restored, as our history relates it. The problem was that D.D.Palmer was looking at apples and mistaking them for oranges. He was looking at what was accomplished by Lillard’s body and was assuming it was because he exercised more effort than medicine had during the previous 5000 years. You cannot compare relieving the symptoms of a medical problem (which a hearing aid can do) with restoring life to the body. On occasions it will have the same results, just like the player on the Harlem Globetrotters who drop kicks a basketball from half court and sometimes it goes through the hoop. That doesn’t mean it’s a better method, more accurate, or the same as shooting it with two hands. That was a mistake that D.D. made in 1895. He assumed that restoring life to Harvey Lillard’s body could be compared to, and found superior to, the medical objective of curing deafness. He hadn’t exercised more effort, in fact he had exercised less effort, but that effort was introduced in a different manner, not from outside-in but from an ADIO approach. He found that on that day he achieved a far different, far better result than medicine had. Instead of curing deafness he had restored life… then he, unfortunately, compared that result to the medical objective and found in this case it was a better result. He assumed that he could achieve that same result in every person, every time, for every medical condition. The chiropractic profession has been trying to do that ever since. Every time we missed the basket we would say “wait a minute, let me try that again.” On those occasions when we succeed (and because of the amazing innate intelligence of the body, those occasions occur frequently) we record that event and try to convince the world that it happens every time. We publish it as “research” at IRAPS and think that our effort proves we are as good as the medics. It is not the strength of our effort, in fact one thing we have learned is that the less we do, the less effort we make, the greater the expression of that effort is manifested by the innate intelligence of the living body. As Clarence Gonstead said, “Find it, adjust it and leave it alone.” or more correctly he should have said “Find it, enable the innate intelligence of the body to adjust it, and leave it alone.” Reggie said that his practice took on greater meaning when he realized the purpose of it was not to get sick people well but rather to enable the innate intelligence of the body and its forces to be more fully expressed. Isn’t it ironic, D.D. made the right discovery, misapplied it, and took us in a direction that is leading us down a road which threatens to destroy our profession today? I believe B.J. tried to turn it around but died before he could and at best left us with a blueprint, a game plan, for accomplishing D.D.’s innovation and his own application. That blueprint we call The Thirty-three Principles. Reggie observed that misapplication and used it to try to move us in the right direction.All of them are now gone but have left us with something, a pattern that has benefited a few, far too few, a philosophy for everyone and an objective that has the potential to benefit every member of the human race. It is up to us to take that practice, philosophy, and objective and do something great with it.

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Posted in: Thinking Straight

This article has 7 comments

  1. Lisa in Jim Thorpe 04/17/2015, 4:35 pm:

    thank you Joe

  2. Rose Panico 04/17/2015, 8:02 pm:

    You are a gem & one to be respected for your wisdom as a deep thinker to fully comprehend the definitions & meanings of what is being taught. I love sitting in on Skip’s session with the 33 principles & the responses from Chiropractors astound me. They have no idea or understanding of their words using Universal Intelligence, innate Intelligence & yet refuse to understand what they are saying by nit getting themselves out of the way mentally & do allow the wisdom that governs over all creation to do its job & give It the credit. I thank you from my heart for being so instrumental as my one of my mentors, that have made me get to this point in my life of to have found all my answers to this date so far as to relationships with all creation with the abundant love & guided by the Master creator. I love you greatly.

    • Claude Lessard 04/18/2015, 8:36 pm:


      Do I wish there would be more people like YOU. The world would really benefit. You are such an affirming lady!!! 🙂

  3. Judy Campanale 04/17/2015, 8:13 pm:


    You did such an amazing job at the Berkshires and it was fantastic to see you again and spend some time together. I miss laughing with you and being able to hug you any time I want. : )

    I posted this post into the Berskshires group but couldn’t get your name to come up. I hope it gets you some more followers/fans.

    You are one of a kind and I miss you every single day! xoxox

  4. Scott Timpanelli 04/17/2015, 9:18 pm:

    Great post Joe!

    • Claude Lessard 04/19/2015, 8:57 pm:


      You posted: “Isn’t it ironic, D.D. made the right discovery, misapplied it, and took us in a direction that is leading us down a road which
      threatens to destroy our profession today?” –

      – It seems to me that chiropractic suffers from two very foundational problems, which are not problems, if we follow the “blueprint’ of the 33 principles of chiropractic’s basic science. First, we do not seem to “see” the active, dynamic reality of the law of life which is called, innate intelligence. For most of us, “life” is this physical, material body. So when I use a word like metaphysical, immaterial, many chiropractors are afraid I must be some kind of philosophical nut case. –

      Chiropractors should be the first ones to understand that life is the manifestation of the metaphysical innate intelligence through the physical body of a “living thing” (pri13,14,20). But we have been so caught up in the world of senses (see it, feel it, hear it, smell it, etc…), that it becomes all we take seriously. If chiropractic is to be a dynamic movement that is really going to transform society or change the world, we must understand that innate intelligence adapting universal forces and e/matter of the body of “living things”, is the true reality; all the rest, including the world of senses, emerges from it. That’s a switch even for people who think of themselves as straight chiropractors. True chiropractic cognition does not come naturally to us.

      The second foundational problem is individualism. What Reggie’s refers to as “to enable the innate intelligence of the body and its forces to be more fully expressed” and what I refer to as the chiropractic objective, is first of all a corporate reality. “Transformation” of the world is taking place systemically, collectively, and historically. How did we miss that? Within the 33 principles of chiropractic’s basic science, a universal intelligence is in ALL e/matter (pri1) and a “living thing” has an inborn innate intelligence within its body (pri20) which makes the laws of organization and active organization work for ALL of human beings and the world as a whole. BJ and Reggie usually criticized society as a whole. But with professional accreditation and the CCE, chiropractic was primarily focused on how individual people can get their back pain fixed (musculo-skeletal conditions), which is sad in its smallness. The corporate, collective, social, historical, cosmic message was largely lost, and remains forgotten and hidden.

      Reggie recognized this cosmic, universal truth, which was revealed within the 33 principles of chiropractic’s basic science. His PhC thesis, “The Of Triune Life” is one of the best explanation of what chiropractic is about. The whole world, ALL of us collectively, should be jumping on the “Triune Of Life Train” and let it carry us forward, because its pattern is the inevitable pattern of all reality and every human life.

      The 33 principles of chiropractic’s basic science for Reggie and for us, is a stand-in for everything and everybody. The 33 principles are “the guarantee,” for what innate intelligence is doing all the time and everywhere. There are really two ways in which innate intelligence manifest itself for us: the first is the private manifestation that seemingly happens after we begin long term chiropractic care, and the second, and a much more important one for me, is this cosmic hope that all of history will be transformed into what it is meant to be, whatever that is!.

      I don’t worry about whether you are under chiropractic care or not. For me, it’s about what the late Joe Flesia called the “DANCE OF MORE” which I quoted in its entirety on this blog a couple years ago. It is a cosmic unfolding of humanity. It’s a universal message! We have been given a message for the transformation of this world; and we minimized and trivialized it into a private plan to make people feel better.

      • Tom 04/20/2015, 1:10 am:

        Joe, great initial post! Claude, great followup!

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