Sanje Publishing

The Illness is the Cure
by Peter Wilberg

  • original language: English
  • first published in 2012, 2nd, revised edition published in 2014
  • exclusively represented by Sanje
The Illness is the Cure

What if ‘explaining’ an illness is one thing, but understanding it is quite another? What if illnesses have life meanings and not just scientific ‘explanations’ and biological ‘causes’ or ‘cures’? What if the biology of the human body cannot be separated from the biography of the human being? What if the life of the human body cannot be separated from the life of the human being in all its existential dimensions – personal, social and economic? What if every bodily state is at the same time a state of consciousness and vice versa – thus making nonsense of the separation between ‘body’ and ‘mind’, medical treatments on the one hand and psychological therapies on the other? Last but not least, what if ‘the illness is the cure’ - and not something to be cured?

In a way that is clear and practically helpful to both lay readers, patients and health professionals alike, this book challenges the most basic assumptions of almost all forms of medicine – ‘modern’ or ‘traditional’, ‘scientific’ or ‘spiritual’ – namely that illness is something to be cured rather than being the cure. To do so it draws on the work of Illich, Heidegger and many others to introduces a fundamentally new approach to health and illness – ‘Life Medicine’ and ‘Life Doctoring’.

Life Doctoring is a new form of non-biomedical therapy for serious and chronic illness. Instead of employing standard forms of medical testing and treatment the Life Doctor is there to help the individual come to an understanding of the ways their own particular illness ‘is the cure’ – how it is a potential source of new healing understandings of themselves and of a healing transformation of their lives. Life Medicine is a new understanding of health and illness that does not separate science and life, biology and biography, the life of the human body and the life of the human being. Instead its focus is on the larger life context and specific life meanings that particular symptoms and illnesses hold for the individual patient. For as Marx wrote: “The idea of one basis for science and another for life is from the very outset a lie.” This ‘lie’ unfortunately has dire consequences. For as research by the medical establishment itself has confirmed, conventional biomedical diagnosis and treatment through drugs and surgery is itself the leading cause of premature death – ahead of both 6 7 cancer and heart disease. By offering an entirely new framework for understanding the essential nature of ‘health’ and ‘illness’, Life Doctoring can help patients understand the underlying sense of ‘dis-ease’ in their lives that lies behind their clinically diagnosed illness or ‘disease’.