Thursday, 14 February 2013

Is Parkinson's outside or inside?

The opposing views held by Plato and Aristotle has dominated intellectual discourse for 2,500 years. Plato maintained that every object we see has an ideal example, outside of the changing world we live in, that is never destroyed; for example, when we see cows in a field we know they are cows because we have access to knowledge of the ideal cow. For Plato, knowledge is imposed from the outside. Aristotle disagreed; he held that the person viewing the cows plays an active part in knowing they are cows. Learning and experience teaches us the defining characteristics of the objects we see. When we come across such objects again we use our learnt template to see if the object fits; if it does then we know the object. For Aristotle, knowledge is generated inside us.

Our confrontation with Parkinson’s can be framed in a similar way. Parkinson’s can be seen as being imposed from the outside, forcing the sufferer into a passive role while under siege by the disease; Parkinson’s becomes the ideal opponent. Alternatively, you can see the disease as part of you and recognise the much more active role you can play in finding ways to counteract the symptoms; Parkinson’s becomes malleable.

1 comment:

  1. I know it's an inside job, because when I meditate I feel better physically than when I don't.