Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Deconstruction of the Runaway "MFR" Thread

Collapse
This is a sticky topic.
X
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Deconstruction of the Runaway "MFR" Thread

    I want to submit this little excerpt from Richard Dawkin's book, The Devil's Chaplain, from Chapter #.2, "Viruses of the Mind."
    From p. 137:
    Like computer viruses, successful mind viruses will tend to be hard for their victims to detect. If you are a victim of one, the chances are that you won't know it, and may even vigorously deny it. Accepting that a virus might be difficult to detect in your own mind, what tell-tale signs might you look out for? I shall answer by imaginig how a medical textbook might describe the typical symptoms of a sufferer (arbitrarily assumed to be male).
    1. The patient typically finds himself impelled by some deep, inner conviction that something is true, or right, or virtuous: a conviction that doesn't seem to owe anything to evidence or reason, but which, nevertheless, he feels as totally compelling and convincing. We doctors refer to such a belief as 'faith'.
    2. Patients typically make a positive virtue of faith's being strong and unshakeable, in spite of not being based on evidence. Indeed, they may feel that the less evidence there is, the more virtuous the belief (see below). This paradoxical idea that lack of evidence is a positive virtue where faith is concerned has something of the quality of a program that is self-sustaining, becase it is self-referential. Once the program is believed, it automatically undermines opposition to itself. The 'lack of evidence is a virtue' idea would be an admirable sidekick, ganging up with faith itself in a clique of mutually supportive viral programs.
    3. A related symptom, which a faith-sufferer may also present, is the conviction that 'mystery' per se, is a good thing. It is not a virtue to solve mysteries. Rather we should enjoy them, even revel in their insolubility.

    Any impulse to solve mysteries could be seriously inimical to the spread of a mind virus. It would not, therefore, be surprising if the idea that 'mysteries are better not solved' was a favored member of a mutually supporting gang of viruses. (...).. the very mysteriousness of the belief moves the believer to perpetuate the mystery.
    ... Or, at least, set up an explanation without any solid foundation beneath it, all the better to float around in the clouds with.

    I look back over that thread and feel that it was successful in at least exposing the underbelly of the sea monster of belief and quackish thinking that permeates quite a lot of what lots of people think they are doing when they do soft tissue work. Truly, it was a surprise to me that Oschman's ideas were so integrated into Barnes' model. That was/is scary. For anyone who wants a better foundation for their clinical endeavors, please consider reading outside your field. Only by learning to think for yourself will you "weaken the team" of memeplex/thought virus contagion out there. Butler is a great anti-viral, Barrett too, Shacklock, these writers are specifically PT antivirals. You do have to self-adminster though. Any of the plethora of brain researchers, Ramachandran, Dennett, Damasio etc are good overall immune boosters. Dawkins himself has provided/can provide a frame around the whole concept of thought contagion and how to protect/prevent/treat a whole profession that is succumbing or has already in large part succumbed. I move we keep PT secular and science-congruent. Any seconders? All in favor? Any dissenters?
    Last edited by bernard; 27-01-2006, 07:01 PM.
    Diane
    www.dermoneuromodulation.com
    SensibleSolutionsPhysiotherapy
    HumanAntiGravitySuit blog
    Neurotonics PT Teamblog
    Canadian Physiotherapy Pain Science Division (Archived newsletters, paincasts)
    Canadian Physiotherapy Association Pain Science Division Facebook page
    @PainPhysiosCan
    WCPT PhysiotherapyPainNetwork on Facebook
    @WCPTPTPN
    Neuroscience and Pain Science for Manual PTs Facebook page

    @dfjpt
    SomaSimple on Facebook
    @somasimple

    "Rene Descartes was very very smart, but as it turned out, he was wrong." ~Lorimer Moseley

    “Comment is free, but the facts are sacred.” ~Charles Prestwich Scott, nephew of founder and editor (1872-1929) of The Guardian , in a 1921 Centenary editorial

    “If you make people think they're thinking, they'll love you, but if you really make them think, they'll hate you." ~Don Marquis

    "In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists" ~Roland Barth

    "Doubt is not a pleasant mental state, but certainty is a ridiculous one."~Voltaire

  • #2
    I might add to the list of symptoms that Dawkins provides:

    4. The sufferer may find himself behaving intolerantly towards vectors of rival faiths, in extreme cases even killing them or advocating their deaths. he may be similarly violent in his disposition towards apostates(people who have held the faith but renounced it); or towards heretics (people who espouse a different-often, perhaps significantly, only very slightly different-version of the faith). He may also feel hostile towards other modes of thought that are potentially inimical to his faith, such as the method of scientific reason which could function rather like a piece of antiviral software.
    (my emphasis)

    Dawkins is referring in particular to religion, but this is relevant to the notion of memes and viruses infecting all manner of thought with possible dire consequences.

    Diane, are you finding his book quite useful and relevant to the topic at hand and other issues facing physiotherapy?

    I agree that physiotherapy should be secular and science congruent, but as the EBM debate shows, it is still possible to fall into the whirlpool on the basis of rigidity of thought. We have to be careful and check that the anitviral software installed in our minds isn't effective to the point that we consider nothing else.

    Nari
    Last edited by nari; 20-01-2006, 10:13 PM.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Diane
      I move we keep PT secular and science-congruent. Any seconders? All in favor? Any dissenters?
      yes, I second the motion. It drives me crazy when I talk with my coworkers and when I question their explanations I hear "well, there's a lot we don't understand, science doesn't explain everything."

      Well, of course not but before you can talk about the gaps in the scientific knowledge base you have to have some familiarity with that knowledge base. Diane gives some great places to start.
      phil

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks Phil for seconding the motion.
        All in favor?
        I recommend a reading of the new article Bernard posted called "'Fathers' and 'Sons' of Theories in Cell Physiology: The Membrane Theory." It discusses how science and the perception thereof can distort when not attended.
        Last edited by Diane; 24-01-2006, 08:20 PM.
        Diane
        www.dermoneuromodulation.com
        SensibleSolutionsPhysiotherapy
        HumanAntiGravitySuit blog
        Neurotonics PT Teamblog
        Canadian Physiotherapy Pain Science Division (Archived newsletters, paincasts)
        Canadian Physiotherapy Association Pain Science Division Facebook page
        @PainPhysiosCan
        WCPT PhysiotherapyPainNetwork on Facebook
        @WCPTPTPN
        Neuroscience and Pain Science for Manual PTs Facebook page

        @dfjpt
        SomaSimple on Facebook
        @somasimple

        "Rene Descartes was very very smart, but as it turned out, he was wrong." ~Lorimer Moseley

        “Comment is free, but the facts are sacred.” ~Charles Prestwich Scott, nephew of founder and editor (1872-1929) of The Guardian , in a 1921 Centenary editorial

        “If you make people think they're thinking, they'll love you, but if you really make them think, they'll hate you." ~Don Marquis

        "In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists" ~Roland Barth

        "Doubt is not a pleasant mental state, but certainty is a ridiculous one."~Voltaire

        Comment


        • #5
          I put a heading on the front page of my site yesterday titled "The Deconstruction of Myofascial Release" and linked it to Soma Simple. With between 13 and 14 thousand hits per month, my site should become another broad avenue toward that conversation.

          I'm wondering how anxious Walt, Dave, Scott and Pia might be to have a lot of people look at what went on there, to say nothing of Barnes himself. If they truly feel that they made their case and effectively refuted our objections they'll say so and invite others with some enthusiasm. I'd like to see that.

          For my part, I remain very pleased with everything said, and, ironically enough, especially the posts by those named above. After all, I would never have thought of "hiding behind science" on my own. As I say to my classes (briefly, I promise), "I couldn't make this stuff up."

          I agree that memes are the thing, and that only by understanding the power and use of memetics can we possibly see how we are driven in so many ways. When I Googled the word meme in 2003 for that wonderful thread (archived in The Bullypit) I got 1,810,000 hits. Today you'll get 68,100,000 hits. Still, I rarely meet anyone who's heard of this word.

          What do you suppose that means?
          Last edited by Barrett Dorko; 24-01-2006, 10:57 PM.
          Barrett L. Dorko

          Comment


          • #6
            Meme fever hasn't caught on with the general population, and maybe PTs don't read books by Gould, Dennett, Dawkins and Blackmore....and Rama.
            ...or maybe memetics doesn't feature strongly in EBM.....


            Nari

            Comment


            • #7
              Nari,

              You might be right, but I think fear has more to do with this ignorance of something as large, well-studied and important as memetics. In my experience, most people are literally frightened by the very notion that they aren't in charge of what they think and believe to be true. They'd rather wander along, oblivious to all of this, trying to live a life approved of by all who surround them. As Thomas Moore says, "The need to be normal is the predominant anxiety disorder in modern life." I would add, "Even if willful ignorance of things important to your clinical life is part of that normalcy."

              You can't study or even understand memetics without considering how you might be trapped within a meme that might not be true. Sensing this on a certain level, most people avoid the term and its study as best they can.

              I know this sounds rather cynical, but I get around. During the past month I've introduced Soma Simple to over 200 therapists. They sat before me and expressed a distinct interest in what they might find here, they asked me for references that I said I'd be glad to fax them if they emailed me the #, they proclaimed that they were "amazed" at the changes evident in the people upon whom they employed Simple Contact and in themselves when they moved ideomotorically. "I can think of ten patients I want to try this on tomorrow," they say and shake my hand vigorously before they leave.

              So far, I've gotten exactly one request for a fax and Eddy is the only student who has contribited anything to this discussion. (Eddy, you're a rare bird.) Over 4000 students the past couple of years and, now that I think about it, this is a larger result than usual. I say they forget all I've shown them as soon as their car door swings shut, and I think I'm right. For some, I know my workshop is a nightmare they'd rather forget. (See "The Matrix and Me" on my site)

              Is this situation a result of fear, ignorance, cowardice, indifference or my mistaken notion of what professional discourse could be? All of the above?

              Does a fear of memetics explain this? Would consideration of what is said here be too threatening to the memes in the heads of therapists?
              Barrett L. Dorko

              Comment


              • #8
                I agree that memes are important here. I am afraid that reading about memes (which many will have done - see the number of "hits" on google - indicator of "hot subject") does not equate internalising the concept. Rational awareness and acceptance is by no means a motivation for change. For some, taking ANY course, even SC, must be like going to a good motivational speech - lights a fire, but when the usual psychosocialeconomicalphysical environment gets put on like a coat, the fresh and new and exciting info slides off like rain.... It really takes much more for many people (and I was one) than just info - it takes a effort of will to make a step away from the familiar frame and explore beyond.

                Barrett, I think indifference is the main one - then fear of the "unknown' or "unfamiliar". And of course, your notion of professional discourse is entirely to blame :-)

                I really don't think enough therapists really CARE about this - which is a very sad statement. I much rather have violent discourse (verbally) with some than the quiet indifference of many. Most ideal is professional discourse of course....
                We don't see things as they are, we see things as WE are - Anais Nin

                I suppose it's easier to believe something than it is to understand it.
                Cmdr. Chris Hadfield on rise of poor / pseudo science

                Pain is a conscious correlate of the implicit perception of threat to body tissue - Lorimer Moseley

                We don't need a body to feel a body. Ronald Melzack

                Comment


                • #9
                  I think the problem is a combination of Dawkins' points 3.,
                  the conviction that 'mystery' per se, is a good thing. It is not a virtue to solve mysteries. Rather we should enjoy them, even revel in their insolubility.
                  ... and the one Nari supplied, 4,
                  may also feel hostile towards other modes of thought that are potentially inimical to his faith, such as the method of scientific reason which could function rather like a piece of antiviral software
                  and what Barrett quoted from Thomas Moore,
                  The need to be normal is the predominant anxiety disorder in modern life.
                  I would like to add that there are developmental issues here that are being overlooked. I'll use myself as a (not very good) example. Physiotherapy isn't comprised of a homogenous group of beings have been produced and turned out fully cooked. Everyone is at all different ages and stages.

                  Lots of the people you teach, Barrett, are young. One cannot possibily learn everything there is to know in PT school, which is why they come to hear you. The best that can be done is graduate a group of young people each year who know some stuff, are bright and can learn more, and are more less safe to turn loose on the world as representatives of the profession. From the individual's perspective, PT certification is a security blanket that one possesses, eventually processes, extracts the essence from (hopefully the values, ethics etc.) and then can see in perspective as newer more relevant forms of care make their way into one's mind. (I shudder to think how "fundamentalist" I was in my twenties.)

                  Life itself intrudes for a couple decades too, people distracted by mating/ childrearing/ growing the basic social unit known as the family.. Even though I never did any of that my brain was certainly engaged in fighting the memes of it all, so it was still a distraction from "real" thinking.

                  What I'm saying is, I think that it's a bit unrealistic to expect young(er) people to immediately fall all over themselves adapting their minds to this new meme that seems so different, when so much else that seems so overwhelming is happening simultaneously from all inputs in life. What I'm saying is, that you don't give people anything cozy to cling to Barrett, the way Barnes does (see Dawkins point 3 above), you give them bare facts (see Dawkins point 4). Meanwhile they are coping with how they compare to what they think might be "normal" while perhaps quietly or unconsciously not liking "normal" or else working hard to enact "normal" (the Thomas Moore quote.)

                  I will say this however, Barrett; people grow up, and exposure to your bare facts will have already been put in place. They might not remember the precise facts but they will remember that the facts made sense at the time, and you were insistant that they learn to think about facts. You're like the Johnny Appleseed character. You may not see the crops grow to your satisfaction in your lifetime, but the fact you are so busy out there planting and writing and engaging is, well, what more can you do? You expose young(er) minds to your memes and they will either be taken up or they'll be outcompeted, eclipsed, lay dormant perhaps, but they won't be discarded by those minds, not when the memes actually make sense, not when the memes are not just memes but are anti-viral memes.

                  Sooner or later when the minds into which they've been absorbed mature to the point where they can handle and process the information and recognize the value and the other stuff (like comforting belief systems) has become less important (like after the age of forty perhaps), then perhaps we can expect to see a growth curve in PT mentation that matches your output efforts now. You've already done most of the heavy mental lifting and discarding by getting rid of all your own memes that didn't make any sense to you, and laid a trail through the mental underbrush. Others will be able to find it and wear it down some more. I think there's lots of room for hope.
                  Last edited by Diane; 25-01-2006, 06:05 PM.
                  Diane
                  www.dermoneuromodulation.com
                  SensibleSolutionsPhysiotherapy
                  HumanAntiGravitySuit blog
                  Neurotonics PT Teamblog
                  Canadian Physiotherapy Pain Science Division (Archived newsletters, paincasts)
                  Canadian Physiotherapy Association Pain Science Division Facebook page
                  @PainPhysiosCan
                  WCPT PhysiotherapyPainNetwork on Facebook
                  @WCPTPTPN
                  Neuroscience and Pain Science for Manual PTs Facebook page

                  @dfjpt
                  SomaSimple on Facebook
                  @somasimple

                  "Rene Descartes was very very smart, but as it turned out, he was wrong." ~Lorimer Moseley

                  “Comment is free, but the facts are sacred.” ~Charles Prestwich Scott, nephew of founder and editor (1872-1929) of The Guardian , in a 1921 Centenary editorial

                  “If you make people think they're thinking, they'll love you, but if you really make them think, they'll hate you." ~Don Marquis

                  "In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists" ~Roland Barth

                  "Doubt is not a pleasant mental state, but certainty is a ridiculous one."~Voltaire

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Lots of the people you teach, Barrett, are young
                    Speaking on behalf of the young-uns... Coming out of a simple contact course, you have to be willing to let things go, but not first before examining why you should let them go. I think this is what Barrett does best, challenges you to examine.

                    I wouldn't say that I forgot what he showed the minute my car door shut, but the return to clinic life was a challenge (probably more accurate to say I forget as soon as the clinic door is opened). All I can say is that I felt this subtle resistance to the changes I made in my practice. This was at times directly experienced by the disapproving looks of fellow PT's, the questioning looks of patients, but mostly by the own voices in my head (I assume this is how memes operate, "The Meme Machine" is on my Amazon wish list but not yet purchased). For the first 3 months it felt like I was swimming upstream. I think the one thing that made the transition easier was to finally meet therapists in Naniamo whose writings I admired (Diane, Nari, Jon, Luke, and Barrett), and interact with them online til my comfort level became sufficient to propel me (yeah, youse guys were just training wheels).

                    I suspect as the community of PT's who are interested in questioning the current therapy memes increases, there will be a little less resistance and more carry over. Learning simple contact is easy, brining it into the clinic is significantly more challenging IMO.

                    Chris
                    Christopher Bryhan MPT

                    "You are more likely to learn something by finding surprises in your own behavior then by hearing surprising facts about people in general"
                    Daniel Kahneman - Thinking Fast and Slow

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      What a head start you have Chris! (I certainly am pleased to have been able to provide you with conribution toward your 'training wheels' if that's all that was required. )
                      Diane
                      www.dermoneuromodulation.com
                      SensibleSolutionsPhysiotherapy
                      HumanAntiGravitySuit blog
                      Neurotonics PT Teamblog
                      Canadian Physiotherapy Pain Science Division (Archived newsletters, paincasts)
                      Canadian Physiotherapy Association Pain Science Division Facebook page
                      @PainPhysiosCan
                      WCPT PhysiotherapyPainNetwork on Facebook
                      @WCPTPTPN
                      Neuroscience and Pain Science for Manual PTs Facebook page

                      @dfjpt
                      SomaSimple on Facebook
                      @somasimple

                      "Rene Descartes was very very smart, but as it turned out, he was wrong." ~Lorimer Moseley

                      “Comment is free, but the facts are sacred.” ~Charles Prestwich Scott, nephew of founder and editor (1872-1929) of The Guardian , in a 1921 Centenary editorial

                      “If you make people think they're thinking, they'll love you, but if you really make them think, they'll hate you." ~Don Marquis

                      "In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists" ~Roland Barth

                      "Doubt is not a pleasant mental state, but certainty is a ridiculous one."~Voltaire

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Remember back on Rehab Edge when they used to call me "Barrett The Great Destroyer"? Well, okay, nobody ever really called me that but I kept trying to get this going.

                        Surely you're not suggesting that I'm now to be referred to as "The Johnny Appleseed of Physical Therapy," are you? Despite the lovely sentiment, it seems somehow to be a demotion. Guess I'll just have to deal.

                        If I can remember, I'll do a little survey of my classes on the west coast next week and see what the average age is. I've got some large crowds so this might mean something. Maybe someone can remind me. I'm in Eugene Oregon next Wednesday.

                        I can't help but think of a PT in the front row of my course in Grand Rapids this past week. My age (perhaps a little older), clearly a responsible professional if one can judge by her manner and dress and the quality of her speech. She listened carfully and actually answered a few questions though she also made it clear my tone wasn't to her liking. She told me she didn't know anything about Internet discussions because "our computer broke down two years ago." This is a direct quote.

                        She was especially interested in a quote I read from a web site referenced here recently and asked me where she could find it. I said she could send me her fax# and I'd send the whole article. She nodded emphatically but I've heard nothing. Turns out she had widespread pain for many years and she volunteered to be treated at the end of the day. Distinct improvement followed, especially in her painless cervical ROM.

                        I don't anticipate hearing from her despite the fact that I have something she wants (the article) and her own function was dramatically changed for the better. I'm truly disinterested in being thanked for anything, I just wonder what happened to her obvious interest.

                        I agree with you Diane, but this woman didn't fit into any of the categories you mention.
                        Last edited by Barrett Dorko; 25-01-2006, 08:51 PM.
                        Barrett L. Dorko

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Appropriated from elsewhere on the web. The political reference can be ignored. Isn't this what memetics has been saying since '76?

                          "In what may be bad news for the reality-based community, new research from the world of neuroscience suggests that both Democrats and Republicans rely on emotion rather than reason when confronted with facts that should disrupt their political preferences.

                          As part of a study that will be presented at this weekend's conference of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, researchers put Democrats and Republicans in an MRI machine and asked them to confront what seemed to be flip-flops by John Kerry and George W. Bush. Brain scans showed that the study participants weren't exactly struggling through the contradictions of their own candidate. "We did not see any increased activation of the parts of the brain normally engaged during reasoning," Emory University psychologist Drew Westen tells UPI. "What we saw instead was a network of emotion circuits lighting up."

                          The study's findings may provide an explanation -- but little comfort -- to Democrats like Kerry, who find themselves mystified when sober, fact-based arguments about national security or Iraq don't sway voters who believe in some generalized way that the Republicans are better at keeping America safe. How can you get through to such people? You can't, it seems, unless those who are listening to the message make a conscious effort to hear it. For an individual to override his own biases, Westen tells the New York Times, he has to "engage in ruthless self reflection, to say, 'All right, I know what I want to believe, but I have to be honest.'"
                          Barrett L. Dorko

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Barrett,

                            I agree that memes are the thing, and that only by understanding the power and use of memetics can we possibly see how we are driven in so many ways. When I Googled the word meme in 2003 for that wonderful thread (archived in The Bullypit) I got 1,810,000 hits. Today you'll get 68,100,000 hits. Still, I rarely meet anyone who's heard of this word.
                            Being a daily reader of Merriam-Webster dictionary,(Yes I actually read the dictionary every day and look up words all the time) I have encoutered the word meme. However, I have not used it more than 2 or 3 times since my meeting with it about 3 years ago.

                            Diane started this thread with the viral concept and I have to agree with her when she equates viral infection in some way with memes.

                            Being a French native, I can readily discuss the word meme that literally means: same, even. Perhaps it has the same etymology as in French and hints at a speck of mimicking but not actually being the real thing. Who really knows.

                            Eddy

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Eddy,

                              Virus of the Mind by Brodie was one of the first and most influential of the books on memes. As far as I know, Dawkins simply made up this word and you won't find its origin in a language somewhere else. It is unrelated to "same" or "even."
                              Barrett L. Dorko

                              Comment

                              Previously entered content was automatically saved. Restore or Discard.
                              Auto-Saved
                              x
                              Insert: Thumbnail Small Medium Large Fullsize Remove  
                              x
                              x

                              Please enter the six letters or digits that appear in the image below.

                              Registration Image Refresh Image
                              Working...
                              X