23. The New Thought And The Medical Profession.
THE New Thought has no prejudice against the medical profession. It recognizes the indispensable place in the human economy of existing therapeutic systems, and feels nothing but a friendly relation. Through imperfection of every kind we are working in the direction of perfection. Materia medica fits the present stage of man’s development.
The vast majority of medical practitioners are conscientious and self-sacrificing, and deservedly stand high in public estimation. They are the exponents of a great system which, though constantly changing, is earnestly striving to adapt itself to human needs.
The broader evolutionary philosophy shows us that nothing is in evidence that has not a place and is not required. The ideas of the physician of today are broadening, and his usefulness is increasing. His progress in the discernment of hygienic laws is steady, and his recognition of mental and spiritual forces in therapeutics is growing more distinct.
It is true that the New Thought believes that reliance upon drug treatment is but provisional, and that the time is not far distant when it will be outgrown. Hygienic observance is already more relied upon, and the next step will be among the more subtle forces of mind and spirit.
But so long as men regard themselves primarily as material beings they will rely mainly upon material means for the healing of disease. Conscious dependence can be transferred only through slow growth.
Everything comes as fast as it is due. Systems are not imposed upon men, but are rather the crystallization of human opinion and consciousness. They are adaptive and correspondential. So long as materialism in thought prevails, material remedies will fittingly be in vogue.
In the category of acute, contagious, and rapid disorders, the physician is, and for some time to come will be, indispensable. He naturally will have the responsibility. But even in such cases co-operation will become common. The mental and material practitioner will, increasingly work together on the different sides of the same case without prejudice.
It may be frankly admitted that in the main, for the present, the principal exclusive field for mental treatment will be with those disorders which are of a chronic or gradual nature. Such an admission does not in the least compromise the high and positive principles of mental and spiritual healing. These will displace lower forces just in proportion as there is receptivity in the public mind. Nothing can be forced ahead of its time. It must ripen. The leaven will work just as rapidly as the conditions of the meal will allow.
The New Thought should not be looked upon merely as a competitive healing system. It is rather a philosophy of life, or, better still, a new consciousness. Its remedial power is incidental. So far as physical disorder is concerned, it is more a system of prevention through individual development. Its laws are positive and exact, but owing to local and personal limitations they are obstructed.
The wide-awake physician is mixing more cheer and optimism and less drugs in his prescriptions. The patient demands something that be call see and feel. The physician, being wiser, often satisfies that demand with a “placebo”—in the nature of a bread-pill.
As the orthodox church has become increasingly permeated with liberalism, so former dogmatism in medical practice is becoming honey-combed with progress. The enterprising physician will not long be left behind.
Even in regular practice, drugs are being superseded by electricity, massage, X-rays, colored light, fresh air, music, nature study, gymnastics, physical culture, and numberless other appliances aside from a positive direct resort to mental forces. Toleration, experiment, and advancement are in the air.
Should we compromise with evil by taking a small quantity or a diluted quality? We believe that the whole family of antitoxical preparations, lymphs, vaccine virus, and all other devices for setting up a new disease in the place of a condition already existing, will be displaced and seen to be illogical. We will not continue to introduce subtle complex contamination. Purity of mind and body will be the effective prevention of contagion and infection.
Clean surgery—when surgery is clearly necessary—is scientific and exact. The same cannot be said of drug medication, which is not scientific, and must ever be mingled with uncertainty and empiricism. Were it otherwise, medical methods would not be continually changing, and subject to fashions and fads.
Intolerance and prejudice are unworthy and unwise, either on the part of the New Thought or the medical profession. They defeat the very end intended. The truth never can be silenced. Every new cause that is worthy receives actual stimulation through ostracism or persecution.
The faithful doctor of the present day is fulfilling an important function in tbe body politic. But he cannot without loss remain insensible to the inevitable trend. Progress toward the employment of finer and higher forces is a common inspiration.
Back toward nature! Or rather forward toward her divine recuperative powers.
When a physician will go back upon all former conventions, and send his consumptive patient to camp in the Adirondacks with no medicine but pure air and food, it is a great forward step. Were the proper mental and spiritual pabulum also added, the combination would be full and ideal.
We denounce nothing. Public education is advancing with rapid strides, and every system will be tried and tested, and must finally stand on its own merit. The march of truth may seem slow, but it is mighty and certain.