Anatomy of an Illness as Perceived by the Patient: Reflections on Healing and Regeneration

Cousins, Norman

Norton, 2001

pp. 48, 56

Cousins talks at length of the placebo effect and its importance (especially for control in testing of new drugs). Self-confidence seems somehow to be "picked up by the body's immunologic mechanisms and translated into anti-morbid effects." Sometimes all a patient needs is a placebo prescription—"a little slip of paper with indecipherable but magic markings. To the patient, a prescription is a certificate of assured recovery. It is the doctor's IOU . . . . " "The placebo is proof that there is no real separation between mind and body." Preaching Connection: any treatment of the power of faith. It can heal. But the power of faith means that idolatry is not only readily possible, but also powerful, and then destructive. Both the Germans and the Japanese before WW II believed in their cultural superiority—with all that followed from it. Their nationalistic idolatry led them into terrible cruelties and ultimately self-destruction.