Why do we, as a culture, need alternative medicine? Why do we need alternatives to anything? I don’t believe it is merely to provide choices. In fact, I believe too much choice is just confusing and not always helpful at all. But I do believe that all entrenched systems need alternatives.
So we have this model, some people cal it “allopathic” medicine but I prefer standardized medicine. (Because allopathic is by definition the opposite of homeopathic and I am not talking about that binary at all here.) So we have this model, and we have this alleged “alternative” model…actually many different models that fall under the umbrella of alternative medicine, some of which are great and others of which are suspect in my opinion. What role does the alternative serve in this culture? It is here to provide questions and expose holes in what could otherwise be the only hamburger joint in town.
Someone needs to point out holes in the fabric of culture, whether it be a political culture, standard education, fitness culture…someone has to be the Green party, the Charter school, the anti-globo-gym….in order to change giant beauracracies we need curiosity, questioners, humor, we need to know that different paradigms do exit and are possible and this can potentially make those behemoths better.
So a punk outfit questions a standard fashion outfit.
A differently abled body questions the standardized body.
Natural hair questions productized hair.
Queers question gender binaries.
Herbalism questions standardized medicine.
We may not be providing the answers, and maybe there are no answers to life’s endless cycle of questions. But if we fail to ask questions or suppress these questioners, because it makes us uncomfortable, feel challenged or squirmy or awkward, many will live their lives without even realizing that the most popular paradigm is a paradigm! By providing an alternative we point out that there is something standardized, and ask if we are okay with that. We are adding to culture, not taking away from culture by our asking.