Experience Valued over Ideology

Perception / Reality - Chiropractor adjusting patient

Boyhood Lessons in Experience

When I was a boy, my parents took me to both medical doctors and chiropractors. One to cure sickness, and the other to optimize health and treat injuries. My family had a balanced view of both professions, in spite of strong prejudices against one or the other profession which existed at the time. In other words, my family valued their personal experience above ideologies.

Our family chiropractor, an outspoken fellow, interested me. When he was a young man, medical doctors told him he was going to die. As our chiropractor told the story, he accepted this fact, but sought help from a chiropractor who cured him of whatever the medical profession thought was going to kill him.

He decided to become a chiropractor himself, and went off to attend the Palmer School of Chiropractic. After graduation and establishing a practice, he committed the rest of his life to helping people. Becoming one of the most respected chiropractors in the state, he was known for his effectiveness and dedication to his patients.

He was anti-medical. He detested the fact medical doctors introduced poisons into patient’s bloodstreams, and he made us aware of this in no uncertain terms. For him, medical doctors were not to be trusted.

Of course, my family chose to ignore his cautions, and used medical doctors when we saw fit. Regular checkups and visits to the doctor, when needed, were the norm.

In turn, as I grew older, I became aware medical and other people did not hold chiropractors in high regard. I remember seeing a cartoon of a mob chasing a person marked by a tag as a chiropractor. Often people viewed them as quacks.

Scientific Research Challenges Orthodoxy

In the last 20 years, many of these medical-profession attitudes changed because of scientific research on the healthful effects of chiropractic. Today, many chiropractors are integrated into standard medical practice. Insurance companies are now willing to pay for chiropractic treatments, not a common occurrence years ago.

My family’s experience was favorable with both medical doctors and chiropractors. Irrespective, of the views of either profession or the public, we used our personal sense to decide the suitability of using either health profession. From this I learned at an early age that I could use my experience to test the validity of ideologies.

Shouldn’t we use our experience to test our personal spiritual and religious views to find what is true for us? Of course, most of us do this. As we live daily, we get better at choosing viewpoints and approaches which work and have meaning for us.

I thought I should outline these thoughts, in case you are unsure of the value of your experience compared to what others teach you. From what I learned, some religious groups deny the results of individual’s personal reality, if it conflicts with the teachings of the group.

On a larger scale, our culture tends to deny or not give validity to many spiritual experiences which do not conform to the norms and prejudices of the society. These are important issues I will discuss in later articles.


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