What is medicine?

Healing Art for Tomorrow Part Ⅱ
Written by Mokichi Okada, 1943

Medicine is, needless to say, to cure all diseases and promote national health, which contributes to the progress and improvement of the nation. For this reason, the department related to medicine occupies an important position in the nation and receives special treatment from the government. Moreover, medicine has the key to solving the issue of human resources. From those facts, no one would disagree that medicine takes an important role now.

I hope that I have pointed out all the mistakes of western medicine in logical and empirical ways so far. Here, I tell you the issue that we cannot ignore. As I previously explained, that is the health issue of doctors and their families. If the present medicine has truly progressed, it should be empirically proven. That is what I think. If it doesn’t show its actual effect, it would be meaningless no matter how much it constructs an academic theory, announces a new doctrine, or emphasises new facilities or the advancement of the equipment and methods.

Therefore, I think that medicine should show proof of its progress if it has truly progressed. By doing so, it should shut up those who blame western medicine like me. If it is impossible, the words themselves of medical progress are meaningless. In that case, I think that we should abolish western medicine and then rebuild another medicine in the new theory based on the facts. You might think that my words are extreme but I never pointlessly advocate such a thing. I have a reason to do so. Let me examine that frankly.

As I previously described, to prove the value of western medicine, the health level of doctors and their families should raise more than that of ordinary people first. That would be the best proof. However, in reality, it is suspected that their health level is rather lower than the general public. It is because many doctors of medicine are short-lived and their disease rate is high. As for their family, they are weak. Furthermore, doctors’ children have a high rate of suffering from tuberculosis. I think that doctors, of course, take care of themselves to protect their lives. They would have a better method than an early diagnosis in case their families get sick. So, they cannot make their family be late. However, it is not actually the case as described above. This would show that so-called preventative medicine is meaningless because it is already proven that doctors themselves cannot prevent diseases.

Therefore, to prove that western medicine has truly progressed, it should be shown to society that the health level of doctors and their families is higher than that of general people. That is the first thing to do. By showing that, people have to be convinced that western medicine does progress. However, it is probably impossible. Nevertheless, authorities and specialists always complain that general people don’t have enough knowledge of hygiene and force them to give injections or other things. Many people actually avoid them or take no attention to them. Their reaction would prove that they don’t place complete credit on western medicine. I think that the related party should consider this first. Even ordinary people know that human life is precious.

As I described before, this is a rare case but some patients were killed instantly by typhoid vaccine or so. There are quite a few cases of people dying from anti-diphtheritic injections. As people know those facts, they naturally get worried about it in case. There are also quite a few cases where patients died due to surgical failure. Last year, a certain physician told me that he was willing to perform the surgery for strangers but would never do it for his family and relatives. I think that is because he is afraid of surgical failure. This proves that western medicine doesn’t, nay, cannot show practical effect. It is consequently inevitable that moxibustion and folk remedies recently become popular. Now, patients who value theory tend to rely on medicine and those who value practical things take folk remedies. That is an undeniable fact.

Therefore, I don’t have to say much anymore. It would be impossible for people to trust western medicine absolutely until it is proved that it definitely works for diseases and has no bad effect on them at all. If it were proven by any chance, people would be willing to have injections and operations without hesitation. If it happened, it is sure that moxibustion treatment created by Indian, Chinese medicine created over two thousand years ago and even present folk remedies would disappear. However, the reality is just the opposite. In this sense, it doesn’t make sense to me that they say anything about medical progress.

Here, I have an important thing to say. That is about the health promotion movement and the outlines of measures for tuberculosis. They apparently cannot be beyond the method of western medicine. Then what would happen next? I think that the health level of a nation cannot become higher than that of doctors’ families. It is because they are mostly related to the doctors. In this case, I think that their health level is not higher than that of the general public. Therefore, I do hope that it won’t be in vain to spend national expenses and human resources.

As for the health level, that of therapists of our healing art and their families or those who acquire its art and their families are much higher than that of general people without exception. Furthermore, they become much healthier as time passes. It means that the whole families become healthy. A million words of theory cannot be beyond one fact. Regarding this, I believe that our healing art truly promotes human well-being and the world without diseases will be realised in the near future.

Translated by N.H.