Modern Western medicine largely ignores this gem of Aristotelian wisdom, embracing instead the assumption that the identification of all of the components in the body will ultimately result in the ability to understand and end disease. Mapping the human genome was the final frontier, a staggering accomplishment of science that, 14 years later, has, disappointingly, not yet proven to be a real game changer. With all of the cards on the table, there was an expectation that the cures for common ailments would naturally follow, but our newest drugs are, for the most part, just variations on a familiar theme. No magic bullets thus far.
All of this points to something more, a ghost in the machine, if you will, that is critical to the workings of the human organism. Like the dark matter that comprises the bulk of the mass of our universe, the fundamental nature of our human software is elusive. The operating system - we like the moniker HS 1.0 or Homo Sapiens 1.0 - may come to be understood as a network of chemistry, electricity, some of both, or something completely different. At any rate, it will likely take science decades to begin to unravel its complexities.
Nevertheless, it is there, the elephant in the room. We often see evidence of the body's operating system in medical research. Consider, for example, both fibromyalgia and IBS. Patients who suffer from these conditions have real, debilitating pain, but decades of study have not yielded definitive diagnostic tests or discovered any abnormal changes in the affected tissues. Instead we can only speculate about the pathology of these conditions and offer patients symptomatic relief with modest results.
The placebo effect offers additional evidence of the innate programs driving the hardware of the human anatomy. Essential in the methodology of medical testing, researchers use the placebo effect to validate medical claims, but Western science is unable to offer a cogent explanation for how the placebo effect actually works. Responsive to the expectations of test subjects and researchers alike, the placebo effect clearly demonstrates that there is more to the body than meets the eye, providing additional evidence of a network connecting all of the cells of the human organism, controlling balance and health.
While we wait for science to first recognize and then explore the HS 1.0 operating system, Chinese medicine offers a complex and fully realized system of theory and practice to ensure that our software is running smoothly. Taken as a whole, the channels, network vessels, extraordinary vessels, and smaller tributaries of the human body comprise a matrix that might be likened to the motherboard of a computer. The acupoints, not dissimilar to the keys on a keyboard, allow for user interface when the software becomes corrupted. This comprises the system used by the acupuncturist to treat disease and restore balance throughout the body.
The old saying "two heads are better than one" points out the value of having more than one perspective. As proud as we may be of our accomplishments as a species over the last few centuries, it is becoming increasingly apparent that ancient knowledge, the product of a very different point-of-view, may be more relevant than ever to humanity today. It is crucial that we recognize the value of all human knowledge, regardless of its age, so that we can work towards the best possible future for ourselves and our planet.