I propose, based on research evidence from the fields of cultural psychoneuroimmunology, cultural neuroscience, functional medicine, biocognitive science, and cultural anthropology, the following:
- Illnesses are culturally learned and the causes of health are inherited.
- Growing older is the passing of time, and aging is what we do with our time based on the culturally-learned premises we use to interpret our experiences.
- Family illnesses are propensities rather than genetic sentencing.
- Growing older does not have to be a progressive and uncontrollable deterioration.
- Addictions and other behaviors of excess are not illnesses: they are socio-culturally learned strategies to avoid fear of accepting personal empowerment.
- Attention deficit disorder is a “medicalized” term for curiosity abundance: It is neither a disorder nor a deficit.
- Reductionist medicine diagnoses, treats, and prognosticates based on averages rather than individualized evidence.
- It’s easier to cure an illness than to confront the conditions that maintain the illness.
Biocognitive science defies myths that have been perpetuated as truths by health disciplines that base their evidence on 19th century reductionist causality. In other words, academic biology still applies mechanistic principles borrowed from Newtonian physics to explain cause and effect on sentient beings that self-regulate and respond to conditions differently than machines.
Increasing evidence from the sciences that study healthy brains, the exalted emotions and elevated cognitions is beginning to debunk genetics as the principal contributor to our health and illnesses. For example, genetics only accounts for 25% of the longevity of healthy centenarians. But since we live in a quick-fix society, we are taught to wait until we break before making healthy changes, and then to look for external solutions to solve internal processes.
Biocognition is a science of wellness that offers evidence of what we can achieve when we are given hope, instead of focusing on how we fail. Consider these ideas:
- Change cannot occur by reasoning out solutions without experiencing the process of transitioning from beliefs that no longer serve us well.
- Forgiveness is an act of self-love to free us from self-entrapment.
- Our relationships can remain vital and meaningful for a lifetime.
- Our tribes punish personal excellence beyond the pale, and we learn our self-valuation and self-deprecation from what I call “cultural editors:” people given authority in cultural contexts (parents, teachers, clergy, physicians, and so on).
Remember, your mind communicates with your body — and your cultural beliefs influence that communication.