The placebo effect – #2
Again, I want to explore this most interesting of topics!
The Placebo effect, as we know it most popularly is the effect of a non-active pill or substitute for a drug that ends up having an affect on our body. (Affect effect – I don’t know.)
Yet when someone says “Oh it is a placebo” a few very interesting things happen;
1. We mostly discuss the placebo affect as something to be avoided. We don’t want to succumb to the placebo affect, and when we give something to someone for medicinal purposes, we would like something to really happen, not the placebo affect. In short, the placebo affect is usually avoided.
2. We have just destroyed the placebo’s affect.
3. We have made it harder now, for the person to succumb to the placebo affect in the future.
Let me explain my wonder the best I can. The placebo affect is a very interesting phenomenon due to it’s inability to be studied perfectly. It is much akin to the Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, or better yet particle duality. When we do not know perfectly (but we believe) what is in our bodies is healing, we are more often going to be healed than if we did not believe any healing properties existed. Yet, if we were to study the substance we take ourselves (or techniques or exercise or whatnot) we would immediately know whether or not the substance had truly healing properties (Well its not always so clear), and thus, the placebo affect could not take hold.
In my earlier post on the placebo affect I spoke about how traditional medicine, and shamanism, takes hold of the placebo affect, and uses it to do wonderous things. Even psychedelic use is a complete placebo in perception – we do not know if what we see is absolutely truthful or falsified by our own skewed interpretations, but those who believe what they see tend to be healed to greater degree.
This is interesting, I hope, to you. For we should be able to see that the placebo affect is not something to be avoided, or something that is negative, or takes away from any “magic” of some healing substances or techniques, but rather, the placebo affect is the power of two people, of community and communication to induce medicinal effects.
Here is the most simple form to illustrate my above point:
You need at least two people to take full advantage of the placebo affect.
One to administer (or teach), and one to consume (or use).
“Real” health benefits – those that affect you with or without belief only need a lone person, someone to ingest a substance or train in their own technique, and thus they will feel better or healthier from doing so.
Please discuss, as I think this may be an incredibly important topic that is often simplified too much!
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i was just explaining what the placebo effect is to my friend over dinner an hour back :)
yeah, completely agree on how we’ve got the wrong perspective on placebo effect, and how it is seen as something to be avoided rather.
i think placebo effect goes on to show the power of the human mind, and i relate it to a lot of extraordinary things that our minds are capable of, like Wim Hof the ice-man, or David Blane’s breath-holding record (17 minutes!). Now i know in one look these are not anyhow related to the placebo effect, the common thing here is that the power of the mind alone can make you do very physical stuff.
and talking about physical stuff, here’s an extreme and very real example: have you heard of False pregnancies? “False pregnancy or hysterical pregnancy, most commonly termed pseudocyesis in humans and pseudopregnancy in other mammals, is the appearance of clinical and/or subclinical signs and symptoms associated with pregnancy when the organism is not actually pregnant…. False pregnancy in humans is less common, and may sometimes be purely psychological. It is generally estimated that false pregnancy is caused due to changes in the endocrine system of the body, leading to the secretion of hormones which translate into physical changes similar to those during pregnancy.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_pregnancy
I found out about this after watching Oldboy (the korean, mind-blowing movie) to check if the filmmakers are not fucking around. “Your rumor got so out of hand that the next rumor was that Soo-ah was pregnant. My sister got sucked into that rumor, and began believing it. So her periods stopped and her belly began to swell. Fascinating, isn’t it? Do you understand now? Your tongue got my sister pregnant. It wasn’t Lee Woo-Jin’s dick. It was Oh Dea-Su’s tongue.”
so i definitely think the placebo effect is interesting; isnt it, when its not the medicine, but your own mind that cures you? Rather than “taking away any “magic” of some healing substances or techniques”, its what puts the magic in them.
Spiritual healing and placebo the same concept? Interesting line to draw. So what’s doing the real healing?
Is it that the brain/body is not attaching to the malady?
Or is that the brain/body is actively addressing the malady?
It is indeed an important topic because you’re right, the phenomenon of placebo manifests in myrrrriad ways in the psyches of everyone that we just cant really fathom it. People do need to avoid the placebo effect. To not let invisible forces tide their inner turbulence over, but to learn the nature of disturbance – in order to really be able to help oneself and grow.
It’s the difference between ignorance being bliss, and being a fully matured human. Like the ancient human type of mature. Synchronization of mind and body to unlock the ability to truly mold your reality.
Case and point ; the placebo is viewed as something to be avoided.
Rather we should learn how to steer our beliefs, at any moment, even with doubts present. The ability to absorb one’s self into one’s beliefs, regardless of logic, is a skill to be developed. One could then draw upon the power of belief when most necessary, while maintaining a logical stance.
I think this may be the line between some spirituality and science?
Why would you put a line between spirituality and science? Spirituality is a form of sensing. Science is understanding how things work. There can’t be a a line between sensing and understanding when they should work together. You call placebo the illusions you create when you fall in love, for the greater good with the least damage you’ll do. So placebo is creating good illusions which you create on your own, you can call an illusion every thought you never thought of before, depending whether negative or positive – the placebo effect is most healthy when you are with a healthy mind and your enemy when you’re not. Is that getting too deep?
When I take my vitamins and supplements I try to imagine the effects they will have on my body and strongly visualize the healing and restoration that each supplement is responsible for. I have faith in the supplements because I know what each of them does chemically but I’m hoping that by focusing on that idea I can increase its effectiveness by a positive sort of placebo.
@ijesuschrist, I did this today during meditation. I usually disregard Chakras as being real or having any kind of merit, but today I meditated for a good half hour or so and spent ten of those minutes just imagining my Chakras sucking into this universal energy. It felt pretty damn peaceful, more than usual.
Also, I am currently reading a book about 2012… just for kicks. I mean 2012 may possibly be bullshit, but I mean come on, things are starting to change here at a rapid rate with the advent of the internet and other inventions like it. First we created a tool to make us faster physically, now we have created this tool that is starting make us “faster” mentally. Some even argue we are experiencing telepathy via the internet because we are sending our thoughts across the globe instantaneously, makes sense..
Anyways, the last chapter I read was called: “Gnosis: The not-so-secret history of Jesus”. The word “gnosis” means knowledge through direct experience or revelation. The chapter talks about how Christianity and the whole Jesus, Horus, “Sun-God” story is actually a huge metaphor for how we can all be like that healer throughout the ages. According to this book/chapter, Jesus, Buddha, and the other spiritually enlightened teachers over time just basically ya know, figured out the mysteries of the universe. Although, I am not 100% positive Jesus even existed in the first place.. I think perhaps they are referring to him literally as a straight-up metaphor, but then again, who knows. Basically, what it is saying is that we can all be Jesus, Buddha, and whomever; if we want, all it takes is removing the veil.
“According to many of the ancient gnostics, most of us have fallen into a case of cosmic ignorance, which they described as “forgetfulness”, “drunkenness”, or “sleep”. Their texts say we are lost in the world of illusion and have forgotten our actual origins beyond the material world. The Buddhas and Hindus called this the veil of maya, Plato called this the shadows of the save, and Neo mainstreamed the concept by called it “the matrix” on wide-screen theatres around the world.” – Excerpt from Toward 2012: Perspectives On the Next Age, chapter by Jonathon Phillips.
If you wanna read more into it the whole repeated Jesus story there are these: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nag_Hammadi_library
I would explain it more but I already wrote a lot.
I think we ought to use placebo effect to our advantage. if it works it works. fuck all these downers and party poopers that say “oh it’s merely the placebo effect….you can join me in what I think is real now….”
this isnt JUST about placebo effect, it’s also about people imposing realities on each other
Very interesting article on how our thoughts seems to release abilities beyond normal limits. AKA the placebo effect in action :)