Civil discourse is not a new heavy metal band on the popular hit parade, it is one of the foundations of a civil society.
It is how we move forward and progress as a society.
The point is, by having debates and discussions in good faith, it is an opportunity to IMPROVE your opinion, not a chance to PROVE your opinion.
Uncivil discourse is by reverse:
You can see this in society. We’re now regularly witnessing uncivilised discourse.
Much of this is underpinned by those involved on both sides having absolute certainty.
If you are 100% sure about something, with no doubt, and someone else says something different, it is an easy step to assume they are idiots (in which case we try to educate them and, in some cases, attack them).
Or, and this is the one that creates massive polarisation, the other people saying something different are in possession of the facts but they must be deliberately lying for malevolent reasons.
They know you are right factually & they are lying and are thus bad people.
They are wrong both factually and morally.
This means it is now acceptable to attack them, verbally, financially (see Nigel Farage and his bank account and cancel culture in general), maybe physically (see ANTIFA).
Blind certainty leads to ignorance.
This is true in the Chiropractic (and I note the Osteopathic) world.
The level of in-fighting, ego-jousting, and moral posturing is off the scale.
From academics in their ivory research towers telling us why our clinical experience is wrong, to smooth-talking practice building guru no longer in practice telling us how they did it (usually they burned out).
We are a tiny profession with four associations, all gently competing.
I have worked in-house with dentists doing all sorts of biological &TMJ stuff and they are still members of the one dental association.
They might not agree on everything with other dentists, but the public get a unified front to see.
In educational institutions, they stop anyone with an opinion different to their own from talking on campus.
How utterly disappointing, how weak, how little faith they must have in the education and knowledge they have given the students.
One different opinion (to the “right” one they have) and the students will crack and fall into a Chiro cult.
When I was a student, there was plenty to improve on education wise, but we had Sid William DC, president of Life University, lecturing to the whole college, standing room only.
He was quite an orator but his speech left us all feeling slightly bemused.
He told us women were so weak they were strong, referred to the English channel as a “creek“, suggested he should have dropped bombs on Germany on the way over and implied Simon Austin was pregnant.
We all thought he was bonkers !!
We also had a high volume DC from USA talk to us about how he had always wanted to adjust 100 people in a day. So he went to Africa and they lined up and he cracked them.
No exam or history.
We asked him “what happened if someone had a neck fracture?”
Maybe they had just fallen off a horse?
He couldn’t care less, made rude remarks about orthopaedic testing and we all thought he was a total d**k.
The point is, we had enough of a grasp on Chiropractic to know this was bulls**t.
The few students that were inclined that way, were like that when they arrived and were always going to go to the whacky end of practice.
Deep in all of this is tribalism, the need to belong and then, within our tribe, we all want status.
This is our ego.
If there was one book all new graduates should be forced to read before being allowed to register & practice, it’s “Ego is the Enemy” by Ryan Holiday.
I love it.
Whenever I lecture, I start by saying all Chiropractors have two things in common.
1) We all have amazing life-changing results with some patients.
These are easy stories to whip out on stage, which gently imply that they should happen all the time or you’re doing it wrong (or not often enough).
2) We all have patients that simply don’t respond in the way we want or anticipate.
It might be an unexpected or early plateau in recovery or a flat out non-response.
But we ALL have them.
You. Me. BJ Palmer. Uri Geller.
It’s the non-responders that teach you something.
But to truly learn, you must listen and assess and be honest about the results.
Always stay a student.
“A persistent cycle of pragmatic learning, experimental adaptation, and constant revision driven by a uniquely disciplined & focused will”
This would be a great way to practice, wouldn’t it?
Want to guess who this was written about?
Answer at the end.
The more I have learnt since I qualified in 2001, the more I realise I know very little.
Or as John Wheeler who helped develop the hydrogen bomb said:
I was so ignorant of how the body worked, I didn’t know I was ignorant.
I should have listened to my patients and assessed them objectively.
No matter how bad you are as a Chiropractor/Osteopath, you will always have patients that think you can walk on water.
Don’t believe the hype.
Mastery is an ongoing process.
Get comfortable being uncomfortable in clinic, it means you are learning.
Are you stuck in an echo chamber on Facebook or with your technique, group or association?
If you are angry and upset with other people’s views in Chiropractic/Osteopathy, maybe, just maybe, you aren’t so assured of your own beliefs as you would like to think?
If you are a BCA member, try going to a UCA conference. If you are a UCA member, go to a BCA conference.
If you think muscle testing is bulls**t, learn Afferent Input with Simon King
Only an amateur is defensive.
Work towards mastery.