Do you live in a Placebo or Nocebo World?
Wikipedia defines a nocebo as “a substance that causes undesirable effects, as a result of a patient’s perception that it is harmful, rather than as a result of a causative ingredient.”
It is interesting that Wikipedia defines a ‘placebo’ as “a substance or treatment which is designed to have no therapeutic value.”
In a logical world, I would have thought that, to be consistant a ‘placebo’ would be described as “a substance that causes desirable effects as a result of a patient’s perception that it is beneficial, rather than as a result of a causative ingredient.”
While most of us have little time to spend on philosophical thoughts like this, I find that the contrast between definitions offers insight into cultural beliefs and values being championed by those who manage the Wikpedia information source and who ultimately either propagate or reflect a specific cultural belief system.
I am interested in why we humans believe so desperately in what we do. There are so many diverse and ardent beliefs about ‘reality’ that it strikes me as bizzare that any one can believe they have a “good bead on things”, to use the venacular made popular when K is recruiting J into the Men in Black, after J’s first encounter with an ET.
After due consideration I have come to the conclusion that the placebo/nocebo effect may have wider psychological ramifications that being just related to pharmaceuticals.
The psychology of beliefs explores ‘why’ people believe, rather that ‘what’ we believe.
Beliefs are more influential than most people would ever imagine. Even the ‘Truths’ that appear self evident are ‘believed’ to be true.
At this point the debate between ‘believers’ and ‘ knowers’ usually starts up and I suggest that ‘knowing truth’ is a symptom of conscious inaccessability of the core beliefs that are the foundation for that knowing.
Therefore, what we believe to be true influences every aspect of our lives, from how we interpret events to what we perceive in the first place. Belief shapes our expectations. Belief forms, shapes and changes how we understand our memories. Belief forms the perspective that we filter every experience through. Therefore, belief is the very reality that we experience.
“Science teaches that we must see in order to believe, but we also must
believe in order to see.”
– Dr. Bernie Siegel
This leads me to ‘believe’ that we are living in what I understand as ‘Nocebo Culture’. This is a society where social phenomena are culturally portrayed as being aberations unless they reflect beliefs that are rationally derived from cutlurally sanctioned ideas.
In a Nocebo world the independent, or alternative media, struggles to escape the projected ‘victimhood’ of being other than what is acceptable to the status quo.
In a Nocebo world there is limited options for implementing social change.
Protests, petitions, rebelions and wars spring to mind as common examples, because that is how it has always been done. Suprisingly, little weight is given to the fact that beyond having more gadgets, the world on not fairer, or more peaceful.
All the clever, intellectual minds have not managed to do it, so we are left with a paradox. If ‘cleverness’ cannot create a fairer and mpre peaceful world, what hope have we got?
The answer seems ‘counterintuitive’ from an intellectual point of view, but actually it can only be ‘intuitive’
Riddles may be useful tools to disrupt the terrible cleverness of intellectualism.
A placeco world might lead us to start ‘believing’ that we are making the world a better place.
When our actions reflect that belief, the world changes instantly. It only remains that way as long as our ‘Actions’ are motivated by our ‘Hope’ for a fair and peaceful future and our ‘Belief’ that it is possible.
In a Placebo world Punishment is recognised as counterproductive, because it relies on the ‘Fear’ of consequences to motivate our actions. .. Physical, emotional or intellectual ‘Force’ are only used to ‘Protect’ the fair and peaceful world we are creating.
If this all just sounds like ‘semantics’ to you, it is a wonderful opportunity to explore the ‘beliefs’ that make it so. ♡Recommended1 recommendationPublished in