Review of a number of articles dealing with issues in
medical ethics reveals a lack of consensus regarding a governing ethical
principle. Examination of several current ethical issues in the light of Dr.
Albert Schweitzer's reverence for life suggests its wide applicability as an ethic to
which questions may be referred, and against which proposed solutions may be
A case analysis.
To understand fully a physician's role in society, and
to deal successfully with the current sense of crisis, the medical profession
must evolve a worldview that appropriately relates a physician to the patient,
to the practice environment, to the base of knowledge, and to the physician's
own sense of self. Such a worldview would be multilevel and interdisciplinary,
and would be based on interactions and adaptations of physicians in life
systems. Medicine's worldview must provide a philosophic milieu interieur that
leads to a proper equilibrium between medicine's technologic skills and its
The life-systems model of ethics can be especially
helpful in recognizing and solving the complex interdisciplinary problems that
we face in society today. Our recent trend has been first to create technology,
and then to do ethical studies retrospectively, after problems are created. If
we see our technology and all of our work as an integral part of the natural
life system, we may be able to maintain the ethical equilibrium as we go.
Adopting a life-systems perspective and an ethics based
on the good of
systems homeostasis opens up new levels of analysis and argument as we deal
with the complex questions facing the medical community today. An ethics based
on our science of life systems is satisfactory philosophically in that it
corresponds to our understanding of biological "truth" and clinically
in that it is understandable and communicable in physiological terms.
The health care system is a level of the larger social
system, within which it must seek and find its equilibrium. This organic
concept leads to a more realistic assessment of needs and goals, and can make a
significant contribution in helping reshape national health policy. It also
suggests a re- examination of a two-tiered approach to health benefits: a
universally available level of care deemed essential for meeting social needs,
and an optional coverage level directed toward meeting those individual life
goals which may exceed social needs.
What is missing, and what we would do well to reclaim
for mainstream medicine, is that quality called "soul." To reclaim it
could profoundly influence our understanding of ourselves as healers, our
approach to patient care, and patients' attitudes toward our work. A medical
philosophy which is germane to our current problems would foster integration of
bioethics, humanities, general knowledge, depth psychology, and spirituality as
they relate to patient experience. By being sensitive to the "soul"
issues of patients, we improve our ability to "evoke the placebo
response" and to reduce patient interest in unconventional therapies.
Whereas orthodox medical research adheres to a linear,
deterministic physical model, alternative therapists typically postulate that
indeterminate nonphysical and nonlinear relationships are significant to
outcome and patient satisfaction. The concept of nonlocal reality as nuocontinuum helps
resolve the differences in therapeutic approach, and lets us frame a worldview
that recognizes the great value of both reductive science and wholistic integration. It helps distinguish the levels of
description appropriate to the discussion of each, and helps in examining the
relationships among consciousness, nonlocal reality, and healing.
· Medical Spirituality: Defining Domains and Boundaries. (with Trey Kuhne, MDiv, PhD). Southern Medical Journal, 2002 (Dec); 95:1385-1388
The rapidly accumulating evidence that personal spirituality has important influences on healthcare outcomes is somewhat difficult to integrate into daily medical practice, in part because accepting it requires adjustments to the standard biomedical worldview, and in part because it challenges established boundaries between chaplaincy and evidence-based medicine. We propose that recognition of medical spirituality as a distinct interdisciplinary field of interest, with its own well-developed body of clinical evidence, clinical skill, clinical ethics, and with well-defined clinical boundaries, can help overcome much of the current confusion about how to integrate the new knowledge, and help preempt developing "turf issues." The new field would also contribute significantly to re-framing the worldview of healing practice, consistent with the evidence-based approach.
· Pulsed-nonlocality: Towards a unification of approaches to consciousness. [pdf] University of Arizona, Tucson: Proceedings of the Quantum Mind 2003 Conference (abstract; poster presentation), March 15-19, 2003.
Certain quantum theory concepts, especially nonlocality, probability, and entanglement with
consciousness, mean that we cannot be satisfied with a theory of consciousness
until we achieve a satisfactory theory of reality. Current approaches to a final theory of cosmos focus on the
nature of the smallest objects in space.
However, a theory of whole-cosmos Energy nonlocally
pulsed (quantized and renormalized) in Planck time intervals, when taken in
concert with quantum mind theory, yields a unification of physics and
consciousness which intuitively describes physicality as we know it, and can
account for anomalous nonlocal effects in psyche seen in various types of
studies. Such a model points to consciousness as a reading of cosmic
integration in nonlocality, providing a screen on
which content is projected by processes at ordinary (local) neurological scale.
Yet, since consciousness would be one aspect of the state of cosmos being
integrated at each pulse, it could (if only weakly) influence the probability
wave equation for the next pulse. Having such a common working model would
provide appropriate mapping of evidence to its proper level of description,
would show where the gaps are, and would affirm the importance of all
disciplines as work proceeds toward a final theory.
· Verse, Universe. Text of a PowerPoint presentation at a concurrent session, Toward a Science of Consciousness conference, Stockholm, 1-8 May 2011.
It is from within consciousness that we seek a science of consciousness; • states of mind inevitably set the context of theory-making; • there seems to be no practical distinction between (subjective) consciousness and meaning (for at the moment of awaking I begin to interpret). Further, nonlocality, the infinities involved in quantum theory, and the quantum connection to consciousness all seem to suggest that the answer to Reality (Ultimate Nature) lurks beyond the reach of literal physical description (and certainly beyond literal religious formulation). Verse-writing, in the symbolic language of psyche, can evoke multiple layers of meaning. It can help break down resistances to nonlinear (and often highly speculative) approaches, and help promote understanding by the general public of new findings. The presentation will include verse samples from the author’s Verse, Universe (2011) to stimulate discussion of these claims.