HIV/AIDS Skepticism

Pointing to evidence that HIV is not the necessary and sufficient cause of AIDS

Thinking so, makes it so

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2009/05/16

Talk about “placebo-controlled trials” is too easily taken to imply that “placebo” means “doing nothing”. That is far from true. In reality, placebo describes the phenomenon that unconscious and not-understood emotional or mental processes can produce powerful physical effects. A person given a dummy pill and told that it is a drug will often experience the feelings that the drug would induce. Someone given a drug that lowers blood pressure, say, who is told that it raises blood pressure, may actually experience a rise in blood pressure: “placebo” can actually be more powerful than physical medication.

Mainstream disciplines are beginning to recognize the power of the placebo response. The National Institues of Health held a workshop in 2000, “The Science of the Placebo: Toward an Interdisciplinary Research Agenda”. Several books by doctors, historians, and psychologists have reviewed what little is understood about the matter:

Arthur Shapiro & Elaine Shapiro, “The powerful placebo — from ancient priest to modern physician”, Johns Hopkins, 1997

Anne Harrington (ed.), “The placebo effect–an interdisciplinary exploration”, Harvard, 1997

Howard Brody with Daralyn Brody, “The placebo response: how you can release body’s inner pharmacy”, Cliff Street Books, 2000

Whereas the term “placebo” is widely recognized, its opposite, “nocebo” is not. Logically speaking, however, it seems likely that, if thinking one’s health will improve can tend to make that happen, thinking one’s health is declining can tend to make that happen.

Perhaps the best known such phenomena are in voodoo, where such rituals as sticking pins into an effigy representing an actual person can cause harm to that person, and in the Australian aboriginal ritual of bone-pointing, where a person waking to find a certain arrangement of bones in his vicinity recognizes it as death-causing and subsequently does die. Our culture tends to admit some efficacy for the placebo response but to consign nocebo as effective only among primitive people. Logically speaking, though, whatever mechanism can translate belief into physiological action can surely do it in both directions. A recent article in the New Scientist is a sensible discussion of nocebo with a few examples:
Helen Pilcher, “The science of voodoo: when mind attacks body”, 13 May 2009.

Nocebo is of clear pertinence to “HIV/AIDS”, given the psychological impact of a diagnosis of “HIV-positive” or of  “AIDS”, as several AIDS Rethinkers have emphasized at various times — Michael Ellner, Charles Geshekter, Neville Hodgkinson, Michael Geiger, Casper Schmidt, among others. But while a few mainstream researchers are taking placebo seriously, that remains to happen with nocebo.

7 Responses to “Thinking so, makes it so”

  1. Michael said

    Thanks Henry, for another look at the aspect of the mind/body connection.

    Unfortunately, no scientific tool is capable of verifying or measuring or differentiating our human thoughts, beliefs, emotions, or intensities or power of such. Though the inability of science to verify or differentiate that our thoughts and beliefs and emotions do exist does not mean that our thoughts and beliefs and emotions do not exist or influence our realities.

    Science is as such, inherently limited, and so are the perceptions of our rational minds. Science cannot even verify the emotions of experience that are the very fundamentals of what it is to be a human being experiencing life. And our rational mind is limited to its ability to perceive only a tiny bit of all factors that are at work in ourselves or in the universe.

    And as to the well and often observed power of thoughts and emotions and the power of our beliefs, it would seem that there is nothing new under the sun….

    While I believe that many parts of biblical writings are assuredly lacking in truth and integrity, I also believe that one should not throw out the baby with the bath water when sorting through it. For in those ancient teachings, as well as other ancient teachings corroborating it, we find that the mind/body connection and the potential and power of our thoughts has long been known to most if not all of mankind. After all, the very act of prayer itself is based upon the belief in the power of thoughts. One finds the belief in the power of thoughts and beliefs to be universally understood by nearly every culture and in every religion from ancient to modern.

    It was even written about thousands of years ago, and passed down from ancient teachings in Proverbs, as: “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he”.

    and also in the Christian new testament of Mathew, as…

    ‘According to your faith (belief) be it unto you.’

    Apply these ancient teachings as truth to blacks and gays who believed in acquiring hiv/aids, or believed an hiv or aids diagnosis or believed a diagnosis will be followed by sickness and death, and the results would be obvious, and are in fact, exactly what the history of the last 25 years has been.

    So I myself would go even a step further, and say, “What is held in mind, whether feared or desired, has a tendency to manifest”.

    The placebo effect proves this one out, as does any and everything mankind has ever made or built, which first had to be thought of, conceptualized and visualized into “being”, before being created by the hands of men.

    Obviously the thoughts and beliefs within our heads and brains are not disconnected from, and certainly influence the body to which our head and brains is attached.

    No wonder the concept of “intelligent design” has gained such a stronghold in the debate of evolution/creation. There is certainly much evidence for suspecting it even as a fundamental and inherent part of our own selves.

  2. Cytotalker said

    A psychological stressor will induce epinephrine (adrenaline) secretion, which mobilizes glycogen from the liver to be consumed as glucose, increasing blood sugar and depleting this stored energy form and initiating the mobilization of free fatty acids. Even the Wikipedia article on epinephrine acknowledges that this hormone is immune suppressive. Should the glycogen for any of many possible reasons not be nutritionally replenished, the metabolism begins catabolizing protein tissue from muscle and organs to produce glucose for the brain by means of the even more immune suppressive hormone cortisol. Cortisol is lymphotoxic, causes thymic involution, and leads to even more free fatty acid release, a condition linked also linked with immune suppression in many diseases such as cancer and diabetes. “AIDS” patients display elevated plasma free fatty acid levels and also cortisol.

    Should such a stressful condition be prolonged, the toll on the immune system is cumulative. From an endocrinological perspective, there is no mystery behind the immune suppression behind psychological stress. The body displays few reactions to multiple, dissimilar stimuli, and this immune suppression follows the same process regardless of whether it is induced by prolonged or frequent infection, malnutrition, psychological stress or many other physiological stresses.

  3. onecleverkid said

    Are you familiar with the work of Lynne McTaggart? She wrote the books, “The Field” and “The Intention Experiment.” She has been putting these ideas into scientific practice for years. Very cutting edge stuff.

    • Henry Bauer said

      onecleverkid:
      Thanks! Those have been among the books on my interminably long to-be-read-when-I-have-time list, now I’ll bring them higher in the queue 😉

    • Michael said

      onecleverkid,

      You say: “Very cutting edge stuff”.

      I say: “Ancient innate knowledge and wisdom we have inherently known all along”.

      It would seem that most of us humans, and nearly all rationalizing scientists, researchers, and doctors, simply forgot what pocket they put it in, as they are seeking to understand linearly, when the source of the perceived causal agents, and therefore the answers are found in the non-linear. As such, the wrong symbology is attached to their data. Non-linear thinking presents a thought process that offers simple solutions within complexity.

      But thanks for sharing Lynne McTaggart’s great works. I am thrilled that ever more among us are finally beginning to “get it”, through books such as hers and several others that lay it out well enough for the left brain hemisphere/side of our human minds to understand what the right brain hemisphere of our minds finds innate.

      I think most people attracted to fields such as science and medicine are vastly more predominantly left brained than right, and therefore usually incapable of understanding such nonlinear simplicity as the power of their own beliefs and thoughts and intentions, even when overwhelming evidence of it is right in front of their collective noses. They are more usually so busy imagining and projecting their beliefs into what they think they will see in a microscope, that they miss the fact that they are merely seeing the result of their own projections. Hence the belief in hiv killing T-cells continues among them, even when this belief has been shown and verified time and again to be a completely false belief.

      But either way, it is great to see increasing numbers among us becoming aware again of the power of our beliefs and intentions. Now, if more people would just connect it to the hiv/aids, the issue would likely disappear, but easier said than done, as usually, we humans cannot understand something unless it has been an experiential part of our own reality.

      For myself, as a result of a complete mental and emotional breakdown, bordering on a near death experience in the very earliest years of when belief in a “gay disease” had first surfaced, I myself had become acutely aware of this power of intention and power of belief in the early 80’s, which upon discovering it, gave me as much of an understanding of the issue of aids as I needed to survive it myself. Without the discovery, there is little doubt in my own mind that I would have followed my peers right off the hiv/aids/azt cliff. But upon receiving the gift of this discovery, it was also a very lonely place to be, as nobody else who I knew or met was able to see what was as plain and simple as the nose on their face was to me.

      So, I am thrilled that several books such as “The Secret”, along with McTaggart’s works, and many others are now coming along, and are finally laying it out and explaining it to an ever increasing number of a more awakened and conscious public in ways they can understand.

      It bodes well for the entire future of mankind, including and expecially science and medicine. For myself, prior to this current slow “awakening” of the public, it was very lonely to be the only person I knew who “got it”. Now I am at least comforted and secure in the fact that ever more people are beginning to understand it, and are using it experientially in enhancing their own lives. I myself consider it the greatest gift that I have ever been given, and fortunate to have received it in the earliest years of aids. But of what use is such a powerful and life changing gift of knowledge and understanding, unless the joy of it can be shared with others who are ready, willing, and able to receive it?

  4. Johan said

    “Think about it”, http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-153936213309506589, a 50-min film about bioenergy healing introduced to the west by Zdenko Domancic. Featuring Dean Radin among others…

    So if someone can heal you from the outside through intention, what happens if lots of people believe you will die because you have a positive HIV-test?

  5. Michael said

    Johan,

    I think it is a mistaken perception to say that “someone can heal you from the outside through intention”.

    I do not believe anyone can heal anyone else, particularly if the individual themselves does not believe in being “healed”.

    I think it is more true that someone outside of yourself can assist you in REMEMBERING how, as well as can assist you in allowing yourself to heal by letting go of one’s own resistance to healing. I do not think much can be done for those who resist healing or wellness.

    And the human mind often does resist such well being. For one, our human egos often identify ourselves by our illnesses, and are often quite possessive of our diagnoses. For instance, people often refer to their disease in the possessive form, such as “my cancer, my hiv, my arthritis”, or as in “I am hiv positive” to define who they think they are.

    Yet few realize they are fully owning and being fully possessive with their diagnosis, or illness or disease.

    And for others, often people with extreme inner guilt or shame, they will not allow themselves to be healed from what is to them a seeming “punishment” given to them by their external universe, by inevitable sickness or death that they themselves believe they have coming to them for perceived transgressions by them or shortcomings they think they have. This is the major reason, to me at least, that so many gays did successfully manifest their own sicknesses and deaths, just from the internalized guilt and shame of being gay.

    Certainly, the hateful televangelising by the moral majority against gays in the late 70’s, and in the 80’s and 90’s was also taken to heart by many gays, in particular those who came from families with religious upbringings.

    And I would think that it takes an individual whose strength of their own self worth, as well as their belief, or “faith” in their future wellness is certain, to hold onto that sense of expectation of natural well being and natural self healing when one is surrounded by others who are projecting inevitable sickness or death or perceived “punishments by an angry vengeful god” upon them.

    I think this is why so many survivors of AIDS, and other physical illnesses as well, often have in common with each other that they simply told their religions, or told their conventional doctors, or even their families and friends to go stick their judgements and diagnoses and expectations of inevitable sickness and death where the sun doesn’t shine, and sought to rid themselves of the company of all those who would project inevitable death or sickness on them. It can be very difficult to believe in your own wellness when everyone around you, especially your own self, believes you will sicken or die or worsen.

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