Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Into The Cool

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Into The Cool

    On a table in front of every class I spread out a number of books that come into play during the day. Some of these are tattered and some look like they’ve hardly been opened but I can pick up any one of them, open it to the relevant passage and read it aloud. Actually, I don’t have to read it - I know it by heart. Of all the things I do this one probably makes me look the smartest. Notice I said looks the smartest. Something like this is often an illusion of sorts. What I recite might be the only thing I actually know about this book though the class will typically presume otherwise. Some of this is showbiz. How much is known only to me.

    The past few months one of the books on the table has been Into the Cool-Energy Flow, Thermodynamics and Life by Eric D. Schneider and Dorian Sagan and I’ve found that I can’t pull off my little trick of casual familiarity with this text. Actually, I don’t want to. The information and speculation in here is too important and I’ve found no single, self-contained passage that I can throw out to make a point. I’ve actually had to read this whole book, and I will read it a few times more before I understand it as I feel I should.

    Any book with the word “energy” in the title has to be suspect these days. The “alternative” medicine community has mutated the very concept of energy to such a degree that physicists truly don’t know what they’re talking about when they describe what it does and how it might be manipulated. But Into the Cool clearly describes energy as is actually exists; as the capacity for work, as a quality of other things that helps us explain the function and characteristics of these things. In short, energy isn’t a thing and should not be referred to as such. As soon as I hear or see that it is, I pretty much ignore everything the speaker says subsequently. No, my mind isn’t closed-it’s just informed. In 1988 the physicist Milton Rothman wrote, “I speak purposely of the invention of the energy concept. Energy, as an abstract concept, is truly a human invention, as opposed to the things that really exist in nature – (things like) the fundamental particles: quarks, electrons, etc. …abstract qualities like beauty, goodness momentum and energy are concepts invented by humans to help make sense out of the behavior of observed things.” (From A Physicist’s Guide to Skepticism)

    Into the Cool takes Newton’s Second Law of thermodynamics, the one that governs the movement toward thermodynamic equilibrium, and expands upon our thinking about the flow of that change. It is unimaginably complex yet ordered by irrefutable laws first articulated in the 17th century. I’ll paraphrase from the book here: The laws of thermodynamics center on nature’s tendency to conserve energy, and though the laws are forever, rules can come into being. We live in a world of stable structures and also of stable processes, but a theory that explains everything explains nothing because the devil is in the details. Despite this, the rule of rules is the second law. It has “a peculiar primacy,” has never been violated and the behavior of many systems can be explained by understanding how it forces energy to flow from one element to the next. Sharp gradients between the energy present in one place and those adjacent generates tremendous growth and activity. Maybe this is why the meeting of warm patients and cold hands (or the other way around) can produce such dramatic and rapid change. That last one isn't in the book, it's just my idea.

    In our bodies all of this is spoken of this way by Schneider and Sagan: Although genetically informed, living matter seeks energy sources and responds, sometimes very quickly. Living energy transformers possess an intelligence that gives them an edge in preserving their material form and continuity. Perhaps the dim powers of awareness and choice inhere in all living beings. Behavior and motion in real time--at the pace we experience it--are influenced directly by organisms. Cunning, not just luck. If so, then our actions, and our conscious modeling of our actions, as well as our imagination of possible actions, can help us to establish new thermodynamic flow routes. Eventually such flow routes may move out of conscious attention into unconscious, physiology-like control…The real-time effects of energy, stored by the organism and released in thought and movement, are dealt with on a second-by-second sensory and behavioral level not under genetic control. In interacting with the environment, the weather, and each other, organisms develop complicated forms and behavioral patterns.

    There’s much, much more. For instance, behavior as teleological, teleomatic or teleonomic, each describing goal seeking, end-producing or end-directed activity. The implications of conscious as opposed to nonconscious motivation are contained here and can be related to movement that leads us toward equilibrium of a sort that some would call health. I think. I’m almost sure.

    Ultimately the second law governs it all. If we could understand it as well as the authors of this book we wouldn’t need to resort to the sort of wild speculation and violations of the law proposed by so many who think energy is a “thing.”

    This is remarkably powerful and complex material and deserves our attention. And by that I mean more than one reading.

    I shouldn’t be surprised that it won’t become a sound bite for my “show.”
    Last edited by Barrett Dorko; 30-01-2006, 04:17 PM.
    Barrett L. Dorko

  • #2
    Barrett, thanks for bringing a review of Into the Cool here. I started a thread on spontaneous Benard cell formation last summer, from the book, and brought the book to readers' attention in another thread; as usual, I took an elliptical orbit and haven't gone back into the book for the requisite rereads to fully absorb the material or digest it further (I think I got sidetracked by Up From Dragons, also by Sagan). Anyway, agree, great book.
    Last edited by Diane; 29-01-2006, 04:54 AM.
    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


    • #3
      I think a book like this represents one of the primary reasons therapists are drawn to the easy explanations of "energy" medicine. Going the other way i.e. toward the fundamentalist nature of evidence based practice also has its appeal but will require more actual study. However, if one grows convinced that science offers certainty beyond what it actually does (especially when dealing with actual human beings) before they know it they're caught in that "whirlpool" so brilliantly articulated by Willis in the BMJ article.

      See http://www.friendsinlowplaces.co.uk/..._whirlpool.htm

      Years ago I wrote "The Third Way" (you'll find it on my site) in which I said, "The therapist that chooses traditional protocols of care might enjoy a great deal of success with connective tissue problems that follow the fairly simple rules governing healing and restoration of function. But when pain exists in the absence of obvious tissue disruption and the patient does not respond to rest, I’ve seen a tendency in our community to leap at anything in the way of treatment that promises it will “work,” despite the questionable nature of its theory. If they think that this is the only choice they have, I suppose I can understand why they do this, given what I know about the pressures of the clinic.

      What I’m proposing here is that there is yet another way of practicing that doesn’t confine us to the ineffective traditions of practices long outdated, yet doesn’t require we abandon our scientific heritage. I call it “The Third Way,” and I describe it as a practice that never justifies its existence because it “works” (whatever that may mean), but, instead, continually strives to make sense of its methods and conclusions by strictly adhering to whatever physical law or physiological process is known to be relevant."


      Into The Cool, to me, represents a third way of practicing that results from a careful consideration of whatt is known and what remains mysterious simply because it is so complex-not because it cannot be known.

      If I shift gears here slightly perhaps my meaning will become more clear. Diane describes herself as a "neuromudulator" and I wouldn't argue with that, but I'd like to add the element of movement more prominently to therapy for painful problems and emphasize the corrective nature of instinctive movement (ideomotion). If I were the navigator of a ship headed for dangerous straits as Willis' essay and "The Third Way" suggest, I'd be always vigilant (aware) and I'd make course corrections regularly.

      This is what alternative care and scientific fundamentalism doesn't do-simple as that.
      Barrett L. Dorko

      Comment


      • #4
        Diane describes herself as a "neuromudulator" and I wouldn't argue with that, but I'd like to add the element of movement more prominently to therapy for painful problems and emphasize the corrective nature of instinctive movement (ideomotion).
        ( Actually I'd use the word "neuromodulator." It's ok, I know that's what you meant..)

        Here's the Mobius strip thing again, sensory-motor or motory-sensor? Same thing I think, different side of the strip. The third way might be the edge of the strip rather than the flat part, but it's a region that must be included if we are to explain the "edges" of what we do, define them. So I agree.

        Whether the "movement" is coming from the outside (via some other outside force, like a practitioner), or from the inside (via non-conscious mechanisms), the whole point is to stimulate the cortex with something "novel", "surprise" it, provoke it (hopefully gently) into responding with an altered output, "modulate" the "neuro" in other words. Do you agree?
        Last edited by Diane; 30-01-2006, 06:20 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
          Diane,

          Okay, I'll get the "mud" out of your description. Where's Walt when I need help with spelling? Oh, that's right, he quit talking. It seems the MFR people aren't interested in commenting on anything other than their, uh, theory and carrying on about Barnes' "success." That is, when they aren't imploring me to shut up.

          Anybody out there in that camp interested in examining what Into The Cool makes clear about "energy medicine"?

          No time to read perhaps?
          Barrett L. Dorko

          Comment


          • #6
            Diane

            The element of surprise, come to think of it, may be crucial. That surprise can come in different forms, too, including nociceptive input from well-intended therapists of all sorts.

            Barrett

            Navigation can be tricky. How does one make course corrections regularly, and what does the average PT use for GPS and radar? Is it the patient, or what is in the memes of the PT's head, or both?

            I am reminded (off track again) of navigation through an ice pack. The skipper needs to find a polynya... a hole in the ice. He can't use radar, the polynya don't show. He can't use GPS for the same reason. He uses his eyes, and hunts for slight changes in the surface appearance and that is his only chance of progressing forward...

            What do we as therapists use as a polynya?


            Nari

            Comment


            • #7
              Our friend Ian Stevens sent this my way. His computer won't allow him to put it here.

              "Simultaneously with the move towards fundamentalism in medicine that I have been describing we have seen an apparently-contradictory move by committed scientific doctors, including myself, towards the humanities. Books like Iona Heath¹s, "The Mystery of General Practice", and David Greaves¹ unjustly neglected, "Mystery in Western Medicine", have charted a growing unease that science is giving us only part of the story, and perhaps not the most important part.

              A tension is building up and there is a growing danger that
              medicine will fly apart - into science and non-science. The flirtation I
              have described at the official level of medicine between science and
              pseudo-science whilst elsewhere in medicine fundamentalist science is
              applied with insane rigidity, may be the beginning of this split."

              Barrett I think I sent you Willis link a while back?
              http://www.friendsinlowplaces.co.uk/ He writes well .
              I think he is onto something here and I think people move into pseudoscience
              for the obvious reason that the search for a kind of certainty follows a
              linear largely biomechanical model . This is rarely appropriate and many
              feel that more subtle communication processes are helpful.If these processes
              are mysterious so much the better.


              The man quoted by Willis (David Greaves) is a lecturer on my course.
              Uncertainty is the hallmark of most physiological disturbances in the
              general practice client group. I am much more comfortable with uncertainty
              since embarking on a Humanities in Medicine course . The course demands
              reasoning and balanced argument --which is much more like real life than a
              RCT trial in community medicine and chronic pain cases.


              My renewed interest is being driven not solely by science but by a mixture
              of stories driven by literature /metaphor and allegory. Elaine Scary covers
              this well in her difficult (to me at least) The Body in Pain.
              You might like the new book by David Morris on Narratives in Pain on the
              IASP website ?

              Barrett here: I'm reminded of the thread archived in "Barrett's Bullypit" titled "The Consequences of Uncertainty" which I recall enjoying quite a bit. The basic premise of Scarry's book is discussed in the "Prestige Day" presentation on the front page of my site. The video and text are both available there.
              Barrett L. Dorko

              Comment


              • #8
                http://www.barrettdorko.com/PrestigeDay.htm

                I like the thoughts contained in this piece Barrett . I am reading the same texts ! The Morris one is brilliant !

                Comment


                • #9
                  Hi ian

                  If you have time, look at the thread Consequences of Uncertainty in the archives in Barrett's forum. I think most of us hear rather enjoy uncertainty, and I'm sure you will too...

                  And I endorse your comment:

                  The course demands reasoning and balanced argument -which is much more like real life than a RCT trial in community medicine and chronic pain cases.
                  Nari
                  Last edited by bernard; 01-02-2006, 06:42 AM. Reason: added link

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I'd really like to see such books discussed on "commercial" television programs.

                    And Lord knows, I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed.

                    Perhaps all Dr. Oz needs is a different production team.
                    Carol Lynn Chevrier LMT
                    " The truth is, people may see things differently. But they don't really want to. '' Don Draper.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I really enjoyed reading the consequences of Uncertainty. Perhaps my thought processes and language today are more equipped to Rivers Edge 2005. At any rate, thanks for the suggestion
                      Geralyn

                      Comment

                      Working...
                      X