The Real and the True

One of the most persistent confusions in medicine and health care is the idea of normative reality.¬† In truth normative information is only¬† generally true, not always useful in specific cases and sometimes quite misleading in application. For instance, when you correlate all the statistics for male average height you may come out with a normative of 5′ 9-1/2″. That doesn’t necessarily represent the perfect male form or much of anything else. But at least people who fit this normative standard do exist. There ARE people who stand 5′ 9 1/2″. There won’t even be a majority of them but they exist.

On the other hand when your statistics yield the fact that the average American family has 2.37 children there’s a bit of a problem. It’s not like the bas joke, in reality NO American family actually has 2.37 children. So the normative is completely useless as an indicator of what SHOULD be.

In fact, if you are statistically minded, you could chart the correlation between normative–that which can be manifested– and those which couldn’t. In that case height would be in the middle of the chart and average number of children would be on the outskirts.

So what about health? Well, everything is treated as obtainable and even desirable though the normative may not fit the individual person at all. This is more like saying we’re going to force you to be 5’9″ or only allow you to have 2.37 children. And the average person having his fat-to-muscle weight tested, or her estrogen level checked, is forced into this Procrustean paradox.

Qigong takes a different path. It starts with the particular self-aware person and his or her absolutely unique situation. I repeat: self-aware; and I mean by that, not deriving his or her own sense of self by normative standards. I know, this is scary. How do we convince everyone they need acid-etched jeans if they all think for themselves? But in the world of health one might be allowed to think that self-awareness in a patient or person is a good thing regardless of the medicine practiced.