Never before in human history has such a concentrated release of creative expression occurred in such as short time as in the American experience. Unparalleled technological advances, scientific breakthroughs, athletic dominance, military and commercial superiority just to name a few, all in the space of two and some odd centuries.
As is so often the case, a country’s greatest asset often conceals its underlying limitations. Rugged individualism and unrestrained materialism have unleashed a storm of progress, especially when set against a backdrop of the slow but steady progress of ancient cultures. But this progress has its limits.
Consider the field of medicine, for instance. Modern Western medicine gathered momentum through the invention of anesthesia and penicillin, not to mention with the advances in sanitation. The scientific method, applied through the lens of Cartesian reductionism, has led its brightest scientists deep into the cells of man. But the question remains as to whether this insight has given him perspective on the matter of health, especially when it comes to chronic disease.
Sometimes it’s best to take a few steps back when you’ve gotten too close to a problem. To my mind that means looking to the systems of medicine which have stood the test of time, systems which were built on results more so than upon the understanding of the mechanism by which the results were achieved.