Dumbing Down….Or Wising Up?

span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-weight:normal;">The following quote appeared in a forum post as a part of some pro-FPD material being circulated by some folks in California. I found it unfortunate. 

"DO NOT LET SMALL NUMBERS OF LOUD MOUTHED UNDEREDUCATED OVER OPINIONATED MISINFORMED LOW LEVEL PRACTITIONERS HURT THE FUTURE OF ACUPUNCTURE AND CHINESE MEDICINE..."

This one is RICH with possibility. The fact that there are a lot of students and new graduates among CAN's numbers apparently appears as a liability to certain of the pro-FPD folks. That alone says something about where they are and how far off the beam they've gotten. I know that there are many on that side of the argument who genuinely believe in good faith that the FPD will be good for all of us and for the profession, but I agree with Lisa that the faction that produced the load of crap above is the real snake in the woodpile. It occurs to me that this might create an opportunity among those of our number who've been around the profession for some time to speak directly to this bullshit from there. To wit:

In my years of practice, I've accumulated a lot of letters after my name, too.  This of course makes me taller, smarter, more handsome, more interesting and therefore just generally better than the rest of you. Your failure to recognize my obvious credentially-generated superiority is irritating. But since the letters after my name don't seem to be convincing to you, I now need the FPD to put "DR." before my name to complete my ascension. Perhaps that will convince you peasants, and get the unwashed rabble to finally acknowledge my greatness. 

Please.

The very condition of having been in this profession for a number of years should provide the greatest evidence that the "recognition" being sought by many of the proponents is, with apologies to Dr. Johnson, an example of the triumph of hope over experience.

I practice simply, by very clear choice, not because I am under-educated, but for the opposite reason, because I thought for many years that I had to learn everything to make up for the fact that I wasn't an actual doctor and for what I saw as my duty to make up for the shortcomings of Big Medicine. The extraordinary hubris that represents on my part and the stupid mistakes I made because of it are an entirely other discussion. The relevant point here is that it led me to forget the real miracle of our medicine. While it genuinely offers the deepest and most elegant complexity to those who choose to go there, it also works beautifully in its very simplest forms. I have chosen to go in that direction because our "official" profession has almost completely ignored the real duty we have, which is to build the foundation that the organized profession has so far failed to create. I made the choice because, to use Lisa's idea, the world very clearly needs cooks a hell of a lot more than it needs wizards. I am clear that the work I do is simple, and doesn't solve everything or represent anywhere near the complete reach of our medicine, nor does it advance the frontiers of esoteric knowledge very much, but I am also clear that it renders me able to help about 4 times as many people as I could in conventional private practice, makes it available to people who would never be able to make use of it otherwise, and puts me every day, right in the middle of a great big wonderful community that I didn't realize I was dying without until I found myself there. 

By the definition above, I am proud to be a "low-level" practitioner. I am proud (not to mention relieved)  to be "down here", right at ground level, among the people who need help the most, and I intend to stay. The accumulation of knowledge (and the alphabet soup that goes with it) is nothing more than a function of time and intent. Anyone of average intelligence can do it, if they want it bad enough, and that's sure as hell no guarantee of integrity or excellence in practice. Only time in the clinic will do that, and I read things every day from my CAN colleagues that tells me they are constantly deepening and expanding their knowledge of the medicine down here at the "low" levels, often in ways the schools would never even mention, because like everyone who's actually working on the ground and not in academia or administration, they have to think about the heart of the medicine. They're thinking about class, about justice, and about what we as human beings owe to each other, just by virtue of our common condition. By CAN standards, I'm one of the newbies, and I'm still learning the ropes of all this. In a lot of ways, I'm starting my own career all over again, and while I use what I know from the past every day, I also find out every day how much I have to learn. Becoming a "doctor" and hanging another expensive piece of paper on the wall won't help me with that. Seeing lots and lots and lots of patients and continuing to find ways to weave the work into the larger community will. 

This story was posted on December 15 2009 by bottley.
Tags: fpd

Comments

  • December 15 2009 at 3:00 PM
    Guest writes:

    DO NOT LET SMALL NUMBERS OF

    DO NOT LET SMALL NUMBERS OF LOUD MOUTHED UNDEREDUCATED OVER OPINIONATED MISINFORMED LOW LEVEL _________HURT THE FUTURE OF __________

    The first thought that struck me when I read your introductory quote was that it can be used quite effectively as a vehicle for all of us rude misfits to express our dismay simply by replacing the nouns…..It’s a one-size-fits-all….and very entertaining…...

    The second - and far less entertaining - thought my mind conjured up in reaction to your posting was that the names and labels utilized to categorize and qualify medical practitioners rarely are useful, and said become outright useless when wedged against each other. Is a doctor more worth as a healer than a nurse? Is a nurse more educated than a massage therapist? Does an oriental medicine practitioner know more about healing than a brain surgeon? Is a dentist doing more good than an acupuncturist? Why don’t we dig out the branding irons and decide once and for all who owns the flock………

      0 likes
  • December 15 2009 at 4:07 PM
    bottley writes:

    BAAAAAAAAA!

    Now you’re pointing to the REALLY interesting discussion. I really hope that we can get started on that one soon. Seeing the forum thread that Keith posted a little bit ago makes me fear that we’re a long way away from that one, but I’m keen to get there, nonetheless. All this peeing on trees is making me tired.

      0 likes
  • December 15 2009 at 11:34 PM
    Whitsitt writes:

    we are the future

    I wish the folks who are trying to be in charge of our profession would spend some time reading Lao Tzu, and especially Chuang Tzu.  Seems like the low places and the simple things are where the real qi flows, and too much thinking and building things up is a recipe for disaster.

      0 likes
  • December 16 2009 at 2:27 PM
    adventuregrrl writes:

    but
    I am also clear that it

    but
    I am also clear that it renders me able to help about 4 times as many
    people as I could in conventional private practice, makes it available
    to people who would never be able to make use of it otherwise, and puts
    me every day, right in the middle of a great big wonderful community
    that I didn’t realize I was dying without until I found myself there. 

    By
    the definition above, I am proud to be a “low-level” practitioner. I am
    proud (not to mention relieved)  to be “down here”, right at ground
    level, among the people who need help the most, and I intend to stay.

     

    THIS.

     

    Thanks for an awesome post.

      0 likes
  • December 16 2009 at 2:52 PM
    Guest writes:

    At the end of the day, I am

    At the end of the day, I am sure the patients are appreciative of treatment and care regardless of whether their practitioner was an MD, an OMD, a ND or on - in these techno oriented days - on DVD!!!

      0 likes
  • December 16 2009 at 11:35 PM
    andy wegman writes:

    Thanks, Brent.

    For a thoughtful and smart response to an unfortunate rant.

      0 likes
  • December 23 2009 at 10:55 AM
    Guest writes:

    High Brow Clinic Names

    So let’s see…name my clinic workingclass acupuncture, or how about just community acupuncture clinic…pretty simple and straightforward, you know what you’re getting into.

    But those high-brow practitioners strive so hard to “differentiate” themselves and call upon various “ancient” wisdom sounding “brands” that seem to utilize the “wisdoms” of various ethnicites—of course there is China, but we musn’t forget the wisdom of India, or the wisdom that our Native Americans have imparted on us.

    According to our research, fertility seems to be a very popular theme among many practitioners.  Additionally, many of the high-brow practitioners have co-branded with other forms of practices as additional revenue generators.

    So, after a brief perusal of various clinic names, a friend and I have prepared what I believe to be some very impactfull branding that is fully representative of of the various ancient wisdoms and co-branding.

    Without further adieu, here are the four brands that we developed:

    1] Yin Moon Goddess of Light Beautiful Birth 3 Ancients Sage Emperor Pearl Wisdom Harmony and Happiness Acupuncture Health and Wellness Center

    2] Placentia Celebration Yin Mansion Fertile Garden Jade Palace Divine Essence Wise Dragon Qi Harmony Free Acupuncture, Women’s Health STD Clinic and Sacred Cow Meditation Center

    3] Pooji Boobi Moksha Yaya Yoni Wisdom Fire Valley Flowing Water Sacred Crane Sage Dragon Akyewpunkshure, Rice and Vegan/Raw Egg Rolls, Tandori Bar, Fertile Yin Manual Massage and Yoga Center, and Ancient Chinese Calgon Laundry and Hookah Bar.

    4] Sacred Earth Child’s Yin Palace Flying Eagle Feather Running Water Three Crane Woman Warrior Mother Coven Sacred Magick Sage Bamboo Dharma Bhakti Fertile Garden Trichamonera Syphilia Zen Flute Artemesia Moon Golden Arrow Wi Pi Na Li Yellow River Blowing Wind Acupumuncture, Advanced Women’s Sexological Study Center, Noodle Bar, Bordello, and STD Testing Clinic

      0 likes

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