What Would Sorates Tell Doctors Today?

Majid Ali, M.D.

Under the Socratic Glow

I expect my readers to disagree with me—and not to read this volume uncritically. In some ways, my view of the nature of disease and the healing phenomena should surprise and trouble them. More importantly, some of my observations of and reflections about the sick and sickness should surprise and trouble them about their own notions of diseases and treatments. If and when that happens, all my efforts in writing this book would have been of avail.

About the emergence of rational thought during human evolution in the first peoples*— whoever they were and wherever they lived—it seems safe to say two things:

First, they reasoned with what they observed and later imagined about; and

Second, they thought that others needed to do the same on their own.

Socrates was into justice. He was among the ‘first naughties’ of rational thought. He exhorted that everything was fair game for his inquiry—no customs and beliefs, not even the reigning deities, were immune to his questions. His pupils also had to have ‘inquiring minds.’ He is best remembered for his naughty claim that he had nothing positive to offer. But whom did he fool? His fabled questions had but one quest: consciousness of one’s soul—how one might live one’s life and be just to others, how to be true to one’s soul. Soctrates’ questions were his most elegant answers.

I am among Socrates’s latter-day pupils. I am preoccupied with an unending stream of questions about justice too—about justice for every fourth Bronx child who carries an inhaler to school. And justice for every eleventh American child who is fed Ritalin at school. Justice for every ninth teenager I see who lives on antibiotics and sugar and is prescribed synthetic carcinogenic hormones for menstrual difficulties. Justice for people who are crippled by steroids administered for autoimmune disorders before any efforts are made to address the relevant ecologic and nutritional issues. And justice for those with Crohn’s colitis and rheumatoid arthritis for whom chemotherapy drugs are paid for, but their insurance carriers adamantly refuse to cover nutritional and ecologic therapies.

I have questions about why coronary heart disease was so rare among the native Alaskans before we sent them our sugar, alcohol, and TV. And why that disease is rampant there now. I have questions of justice about women whose hearts healed and who now live free of fear after living with the terror of their closed-off coronary stents. And for justice for men who now live with the Socratic message and with healthy hearts—and without cardiac drugs—years after their coronary bypass operations had failed and their blocker drugs had ceased to work.

I have questions about justice for those persons as well as for the sick everywhere who are denied safe and effective therapies simply because the authorities chose to ban those treatment methods. And for justice for the physicians who live in fear of revoked licenses when they seek alternatives to toxic blocker drugs and unnecessary surgery.

Socrates was preoccupied with his questions of justice. This pupil of his is preoccupied with his questions of injustice. I ask why I cannot offer hyperthermia treatment to my patients with large cancers in New York and in New Jersey. Hyperthermia was once legal in our country. Then mysteriously it was banned. A few years ago, a few centers in theUnited States were approved to test the efficacy of hyperthermia for controlling cancer. But those centers do not accept my patients because their ‘criteria are not met.’ Some of my patients are compelled to fly to Germany or China for hyperthermia.

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