Georg Ivanovas From Autism to Humanism - systems theory in medicine

2. The medical paradigm and the anomalies of ‘Normal Medicine’

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2.3 The psychosomatic confusion

Probably only a few subjects have been as intensively discussed the last hundred years as the relation between mind and body. We just faced a new wave of books and articles triggered by neuroscience. Special journals investigate the related subjects at all depths and we even entered the ‘decade of mind’ (Spitzer 2008). However, the situation has not become any clearer.

One reason is that there is a lot of confusion on the definitory level. An undisciplined thinking prevails. Mind and psyche are often not defined or defined through each other. They are vague concepts no physicist would dare to work with (Bleuler 1962: 58).

Mostly it is taken for granted that everybody knows what mind is. Statements are based on silent assumptions. Indeed, there is no problem in everyday use. If anybody says: “It came to my mind”, we understand what this person means. But we should not look in detail what came where to. This lack of precision is much more prominent in the mind related sciences than in other branches of medicine.

The consequences of silent assumptions on a definitory level shall be exemplified with Jurij Gagarin. When Gagarin first flew into space he claimed that there is no God as he had not seen Him. In this example Gagarin’s definition of God was that of a superhuman being dwelling a little above ionosphere. Comparingly, all statements on mind depend on an inherent definitions. Such silent assumptions have major consequences for the understanding of ‘psychosomatics’, of diseases and of therapy. They represent the decision of an undecidable question (chap. 3.4).

The aim of this chapter is to demonstrate the impact of such silent assumptions. It is not of interest here what mind really is. The question is more, how descriptions transform observations and how they lead to certain conclusions.


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