The Philosophy Behind Inner Medicine: Where Are We Going and
We Really Need?
by Amy Scholten, M.P.H.
Wellness is a holistic process involving our physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social and environmental dimensions. My studies both within (but especially beyond) the world of academia have confirmed this. At the depths of our being, we know what wellness is. And if we're mindful, we practice wellness behaviors in our daily life and work. Unfortunately, we operate in a culture that pays a lot of lip service to wellness but still doesn't quite get it….a culture that has become increasingly complicated, divided, myopic, distracted, stressful and unwell because it refuses to embrace its interconnectedness or holism (dare I use a spiritual word like oneness?).
Our culture worships the left side of the brain: science, logic, and technology while increasingly dismissing the right side: emotions, dreams/symbols, creativity, and quest for meaning and purpose. An overly rational society is distrustful and even disdainful of the softer, more human aspects of life, attempting to mechanize and quantify how we live. Engrossed in materialism, mechanization and impersonal values, and hence cut off from its more human side, such a culture naturally becomes unbalanced and sick.
In our educational system, we see a huge push for more math, science and technology and a diminishing emphasis on the humanities (disciplines that study the human condition such as philosophy and art). This is seen as “practical” as it mirrors our (limited) job market. But science without humanity is at best narrow-minded and at worst, downright dangerous. We need more philosophers to ask the question: Where are we going and what do we really need ?
Inner Medicine Publishing was founded on the belief that introspection and mindfulness are essential to individual and societal wellness. Our vision of and commitment to health needs to go beyond simple body mechanics and rational medicine. What issues are at the heart of some of our major health challenges such as obesity and chronic stress? Is it simply lack of a certain drug or technology? Or could its essence be found in the more humane aspects of life such as our emotions and struggles for meaning, purpose, joy, authenticity, connection, self-worth, and presence? Can we really effect positive change in ourselves and in the world when we ignore such profound existential issues?
As a consumer health and wellness writer, my goal is to integrate both science and humanity into my work. Before I write an article, brochure or booklet, I try to think about who may be reading it and how I can connect to that person in a way that's meaningful. What details are important for effective communication? As one who looks at wellness holistically, I encourage exploration of the Important Questions, which I call “wellness philosophy.” On an individual and collective basis, we need to ask ourselves what is essential to well-being. Where are we going and what do we really need?