Some 500 years ago, philosopher-physicians made some wonderful observations of the world around them.
A few of the great Renaissance thinkers were alone in their thoughts but most of them faced harsh criticism for their beliefs.
Great discoveries were made by these profound philosopher-physicians due to the fact that they functioned according to their own light and were not influenced by the opinions of those about them. Paracelsus (1493-1541), as a professor in the University of Basel, burned several textbooks saying, “This is what I think of precedent.” Paracelsus stated that the world might be better off with some of the medical books in the fire because the authors were not qualified to teach and their works were pedantic, or characterized by a narrow, often ostentatious concern for academic knowledge and formal rules rather than the truth.
Paracelsus believed that school textbooks should originate from someone’s experience, backed by their observation and experimentation and the author should be an individual who walked the life that he wrote about. In the early 1500s, he demanded that physicians function at a high standard of excellence, something that he believed they did not possess. He was critical of the use of leeches and bloodletting, stating that a person could be bled to death.
George Washington several hundred years later, would be bled to his death, by the medical establishment. Paracelsus stated that a person could not survive his physician, let alone his disease.
Paracelsus went against the accept protocol of his age by not publishing his works in Latin. He believed that if a person who was sick could read his health books in their native tongue, they would be able to speak with their doctor and the two would have a better understanding of the problem. It was believed at that time that the doctor knew more about a difficulty and therefore books should be in a language familiar to the doctor, thus eliminating the input of the patient.
Paracelsus believed that information could be obtained in many places. He stated that information discovered in the atmosphere of the alehouse could be far more learned than the information of some of the professors at the university. Paracelsus traveled throughout Europe meeting people and through them he discovered that their problems were different and their actions were different than what he was taught in the medical textbooks that he studied at his university.
Based on his experiences, Paracelsus believed that there needed to be a set of writings describing how people really lived and there needed to be better information regarding how the medical profession should assist people with health problems.
After spending his time with people from all walks of life, Paracelsus found that traditions and superstitions were vestiges of something once known but currently lost. Paracelsus stated that, “they are not merely fables but the keys to something distorted, and thus they are a valuable inheritance out of the past.”
It was documented that Paracelsus was able to cure three great ailments of our society; diabetes, cancer and tuberculosis. The written testimonials of his day demonstrated that Paracelsus had a unique system of cure, one that has been overlooked up to our present day. For some people today, their philosophy is that anything from past times does not have any substantial value because it is old.
Paracelsus was of the firm believe that it was necessary to combine worldly knowledge with spiritual understanding. He was thoroughly convinced that disease does not come from the outside but is a “result of wrong adjustment between the spiritual aspect of a person and his body.” Paracelsus stated, “A coat fits a person perfectly; then either the coat shrinks or the man gets larger, and the fit is no longer perfect. The garment cramps, as the individual enlarges, and that leads to discomfort. The coat is the natural garment of man; the body is the natural garment of the soul; any disharmony of adjustment between these two will cause sickness of the body and misery of the soul.”
Sickness of the soul is caused by excesses of the soul, said Paracelsus, “results in the ills flesh is heir to; the disease body is the framework on which is visibly stamped the excesses of the soul.”
Paracelsus believed that nearly all complaints that people suffer from are either psychological, vocational or spiritual. To Paracelsus, vocational meant the dangers involved in someone’s profession, by spiritual Paracelsus referred to “wrong living, wrong thinking, wrong believing, wrong ideology, lack of control, lack of discipline, and lack of proper spiritual impulse.” Paracelsus was wise in his belief that thoughts and emotions caused physical problems.
Paracelsus believed that a healthy person is born without pain and dies without pain. Sickness comes about when a person lives unnaturally and goes against fundamental laws of Nature, or the Divine Plan. Paracelsus believed that God did not have any plan or purpose for afflicting pain and suffering on his creations; affliction comes when people act and live out of harmony with Nature and natural things
Paracelsus created a system that had a purpose of creating an adjustment between the visible and invisible aspects of a human being. Paracelsus believed that there must be an adjustment between the mind and spirit of an individual. He believed that pure mind was the “sensitive medium for the transmission of spiritual force to the physical body.” When an individual is caught up in morbid moods or strong negative emotions, a distortion takes place and an imbalance between the invisible aspects of a person and their physical being begins to build forming a chemical imbalance which leads to a sickness in the physical being.
Following this line of thought, merely taking a pill or substance to address the effect a person feels in the physical being, will not lead to any real change in the cause of a person’s problem. Today, we seem to demand speed in our recovery and when we are numb we believe that our difficulty has been addressed.
Paracelsus believed that, “any excess we have nurtured and nourished for a period of time become a living parasite that gradually devours good tissue, good substance, and causes a breakdown in the physical and metaphysical aspects of the being.”
Paracelsus believed that everything had some value or it wouldn’t have been created by God. One of his important saying was, “There is a little of Truth in everything, and everything is a little of Truth.”
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