Departments of Rehabilitation Medicine and Physiology
University of Toronto
A new theory of health and justice is needed to deal with problems of world stability. The present, conventional, theory of health, based on the Cartesian-Newtonian outlook, draws a distinction between mind-body, subject-object, self-world, I-it. Such a theory has done nothing to alleviate the current state of global malaise in which real peace is little more than a distant hope, human beings perish of hunger in a world where there is plenty, and the environment is ravaged and destroyed.
For the last thirty years I have been working on this problem. I have published a number of articles in various journals and am now now teaching a course: "Introduction to Chronic Pain Management" at the University of Toronto Medical School based on these principles.
I propose a spiritual-holistic theory of health, akin to the tradition of Cusanus, Comenius and Leibniz, a 'dynamic equilibrium' which he calls 'non-distinction in distinction.' He relates this theory of health to John Rawls' theory of justification. Rawls' theory transcends the older social contract theories of Kant, Locke and Rousseau. It has three parts. Firstly, principles of justice, whether naturalistic (from nature) or deductive (from first principles), are utilized as applicable in a particular problem. Sometimes the judge must use many principles, at other times only a few, to match the facts of a given case. Secondly, this matching of theories with practical problems must be done by certain institutions or operations. And thirdly, the practice of administering justice as fairness (justification) depends on human beings and their dialogue. Every decision in court is reached by means of dialogue, including the facts and the principles. This is creative justice. The administration of healing by the doctor is governed by the same principles as the administration of justice by the judge. Healing is a dynamic design that reconciles the reality of the sick person with the reality of the healer. Healing and justification are manifestations of a deeper underlying process, or dynamic design, which is manifest in dialogue. The current state of western medicine, characterized by a yawning gap between the esoteric knowledge of physicians and that of patients, makes dialogue imperative.