Looking at stress – as it is typically conceived – we may be looking over what causes disease and may help us get beyond disease. It is time to change diagnostic and therapeutic directions.
One reason for the difficulty of investigating stress as a cause of disease is that it isn’t. Thus, in scientific experimental investigations, we see this thing and that thing and everything.
Like: Today, we see that what yesterday was is not anymore. That is called the reproduction or replication crisis in psychology. [see: https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/basics/replication-crisis] To blame are flawed investigations or even flawed investigators who want to score academically at any cost.
So it seems.
I think we have to delve deeper than that.
For instance, investigators may be inclined to squeak their results when they see that what’s expected doesn’t turn out to be. They need to score to keep their college tenures. ‘Publish or perish’ is the mantra of academia. Negative results have less chance to get published. So, investigators help reality somewhat, sometimes consciously, sometimes non-consciously. There’s a list of ways to do so. You can read about some in the reference above.
In any case, they should not do so, whether the cause is malevolent or a lack of scientific vigor.
However, the more interesting question is: Why does reality not turn out to be as expected? Why do investigators ask the wrong questions to start with? Why don’t they head off in the right direction that would give them positive results and tenures?
Something is wrong down deep where it’s not readily visible.
The domain of stress is no exception to this.
What is wrong is that down-there looks very different from up-here. Down-there, things are not concept-wise but pattern-wise. This reminds me of a lecture I gave to psychologists about stress and deeply mental patterns a few years ago. They listened. Afterward, they communicated that nobody had a clue about ‘deeply mental patterns.’
So, that’s off my chest.
But wow, that is like a boat afloat on a sea that is not supposed to be there. This is not bound to be an easy crossing towards the other side.
Where has the sea gone? It disappeared in basic cognitive illusion. [see: “The Basic Cognitive Illusion“] I’m sure some readers object now by saying they don’t see this illusion.
Forget conceptual ‘stress.’ Look at deep mental patterns. Look at meaning.
In meaning, we find ourselves. In what something deeply means to us, we realize ourselves. There is where we truly deeply live. What happens there can make us ill or healthy again.
If there is a tension between meaningful patterns deep down, we feel that as stress. The whistle blows. At the same time, this tension can provoke psycho-somatic symptoms. It is not the whistle that generates them.
As in this drawing:
Meaning creates stress. Meaning creates symptoms. This creates the illusion that stress creates symptoms. If you want to deal with symptoms in a sensible way, you have to deal with meaning, not with stress as if this were a simple, conceptually graspable thing.
Here’s a problem with experimental science in, for instance, the stress domain. ‘Meaning’ is hard to pinpoint, not just functionally, but essentially. Experimental science doesn’t like that. Thus, meaning-as-cause-of-illness tends to get overlooked twice: humanly and scientifically.
This makes health-related science itself vulnerable to attacks from a non-scientific world. In a way, the latter is even more realistic. People feel that. it creates many nonsensical evolutions. [see: “Why We Sink into CAM“]
Thus, we don’t need less science. We need more and better.
If we can go into ‘meaning’ as such without needing to conceptualize away its essence, we enter, well, a world of meaning. Scientifically, we still know very little about the impact of this world on health and wellbeing.
This, combined with considerable gaps in medicine and causal medical thinking, promises an immense field of mind→body influence that can be opened in the future. At present, we may well be looking through what is most important, time and time again ― for instance, in experimental psychological and psycho-somatic science.
That way, a scientific world is created that is devoid of meaning. In a vicious circle, the lack of meaning orients present-day science towards even more lack of meaning. Many good scientists are keenly aware of this and don’t know how to handle it in their research, nor in their research community. Thus, it gets shunned even more.
Yet meaning is most meaningful, including in health and healing. Meaning is present in every concrete case of illness, at its cause, in its progression, in its prognosis. Therefore, we need to overcome this flaw in present-day science.
We need a mind-stethoscope.
We need Lisa. [See: “Lisa as a Pattern Recognizer“]