A Holistic Framework of Inquiry
Paradoxically, wholeness, and thereby holism, can be understand through examination of the nature of the relationship between distinct, yet complementary positions. What do we mean when we evoke the terms 'form and function' or 'structure and process'? How do we understand how pairs are unified, yet, at the same time, retain their distinctiveness? It is this line of thought that brings us to one of the fundaments underlying complexity in medicine: the embrace of circularity. To understand the nature of resiliency, adaption, and health in your, and your patient’s lives, you must begin to grasp the nature of recursivity, reiteration, circularity, or feedback, and the role it plays in the greater Life patterns that inform and shape our lives.
The Greek philosopher, Aristotle, posited that mankind engaged in three basic activities of learning, which he termed Theoria, Poiesis and Praxis. Each one of these three perspectives embodies a particular type of human knowledge, and thereby generates a specific type of action. Theoria, or the theoretical, is representative of the pursuit and construction of understanding per se. Interestingly, the Latin translation of theoria is contemplatio, from which the modern English word, contemplation, is formed. Poiesis, from which we derive the words poetical and poetry refers to acts of production, creation, manifestation or 'a bringing forth'. Lastly, the expression of Praxis, the basis for the etymology of the word practice, is representative of skilled action. Each of these three different types of knowing can take on very different structures and processes depending on which domain of interaction (i.e. aesthetic vs. pragmatic) they are viewed through. Having being schooled in the West, and many completed educational degrees later, you are all no doubt well acquainted with viewing the world through a pragmatic lens. This is the world of the ‘Science of Medicine’. Yet for all of our garnered knowledge, it has come with a price; namely a disenchanted view of the universe. It is through the aesthetic domain, however, that we come not only to understand art within medicine, but more completely, the ‘Art of Medicine’, and, more fully still, the ‘Art of Living’. By shedding our pragmatic expectations, and entering into a shared aesthetic dream or vision, we come to shape and be shaped by the acts of Theoria, Poiesis, and Praxsis through our willingness to embrace novel ways of being and doing, the result of which is a revival of wonderment, the re-enchanting of our world, and the re-embodiment of our lived selves. Alice (nor the world) was ever the same once she journeyed down the rabbit hole.
“Wherever the art of Medicine is loved, there is also a love of Humanity. ” ― Hippocrates
Complexity Medicine: Knowledge - Innovation - Practice
“No disease suffered by a live man can be known, for every living person has his own peculiarities and always has his own peculiar, personal, novel, complicated disease, unknown to medicine"