I wrote this article for the online Daoist magazine, The Scholar Sage. There are lots of interesting articles and videos there about Chinese medicine, Qigong and other related subjects. Have a look if you’re interested.
These days, it is quite fashionable to be a skeptic. Atheism is probably more popular now than at any point in history and there are numerous skeptics societies, websites and magazines around the world. This trend seems to be particularly prevalent among well educated young people. Skepticism and science are closely linked and, in theory, the scientific method is an excellent tool for improving our knowledge of the world. However, science seems to have developed into something akin to a religion, where many consider our current understanding of the world to be ‘gospel’, and anything divergent is considered ‘unscientific nonsense’. This unwillingness to question current understanding brings visions of Galileo and Copernicus being ridiculed for arguing that the Earth orbited the sun.
“Those who always think they are right,
He who is not self-critical,
Lastly, the most important reason why it’s good to be skeptical about Chinese medicine is because it’s good to be skeptical about everything.
“The highest form of Human Excellence is to question oneself and others.”
Really the problem is blind faith. Whether it is blind faith in something more unusual like alternative medicines, qi or cult leaders or whether it is blind faith in the conventional, like science, the merits of capitalism or the media.
“A foolish faith in authority is the worst enemy of truth”
The more I practice acupuncture and nei gong, the more I am confronted with increasingly esoteric ideas and experiences. I think maintaining a level of skepticism around this is important, because it’s always good to keep your feet on the ground, and you could be easily led into believing pretty much anything. But what does become increasingly clear is that the knowledge that was developed through the life-work of generations of physicians and practitioners of the internal arts, over thousands of years is deserving of serious consideration, study and practice. Only by that method can it be tested and evaluated.