An Introduction by Simon Rees, ND LSM FCT HOM TCM, Feb 2011.

Part One: The Concepts

This article is one of our exclusive “feature-length” pieces which we are offering to the public for free. Don’t forget it can easily be printed (see above right).

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Note from the author: Although I’ve written this article, its entire content is the result of extended discussion and work with my Living Systems Medicine colleague Kevin Eakins, ND, and thus much of what is mentioned consists of concepts and perspectives which have come directly out of our close collaboration. We, in turn, have formulated here our own joint perception of the nature and basis of the lifework of our mentor, Savely Yurkovsky, M.D.

“Paradoxically enough, therapy does not have to be sound to be successful, i.e., to afford relief. All it has to accomplish is to reduce strain even without concerning itself with complete information in relation to the exact underling pathologies that induced strain. These can be superficial or even harmful therapeutics which is what constitutes the very nature of allopathic practice of medicine. Never mind “drugs and surgeries,” this can be accomplished just as nicely with “natural” means.”

(Savely Yurkovsky, M.D.) 7

For thousands of years, a word has existed in most of the languages in the world in almost identical form. It is one of the most important words ever invented. It is the one word which, perhaps more than any other, represents humanity’s attempt to make sense of our surroundings.

It can be applied to practically any science or sphere of human inquiry, and its meaning is simply “an organised whole, with elements interacting.” 1, 2

That word is “system.” As soon as we perceive any kind of sense, pattern,36 identity26 or meaning3, 4 in something, it becomes a system – or a set of interacting systems – in our perception and definition.

Most fundamentally, this includes ourselves: Every human being, as well as animals and plants, belongs to a sub-class of systems which we can refer to as Living Systems.11 Similarly, groups of people or other living systems – provided they form organised wholes with living elements interacting – represent Living Systems on a larger scale too. This includes, for example, families, communities, organisations, nations and ecosystems.1, 11 Inside our bodies, when we look at our internal organs, and at the billions of interacting cells within them, there too we find a vast array of Living Systems on a smaller scale: each individual organ system, organ, tissue, cell or cellular organelle is also an organised whole with parts interacting.1, 11

Interconnectedness

Imagine, if you will, these examples of Living Systems in a long line of interaction, going from the tiniest of cellular organelles in our bodies, on the one hand, all the way up to the entire planet, solar system, galaxy and beyond, on the other. The chain linking all of these levels is unbroken, and so we can then see this as a grand vision of the inter-connectedness of life.

That is the first insight of many which the Living Systems model reveals.

Perspective

And so when we consider that each Living System exists within another one on a larger scale, like a series of Russian dolls one within the other, and that all of the different levels of system are not only organised as separate units but at the same time inter-dependent and interacting with each other, we arrive at the most important science in the history of human discovery: the science of perspective.

That is the essence of the Living Systems Revolution: applying this fundamental insight into every area of medicine and science.

ALS / MND Example

By way of example, I am going to present an example of ALS / MND (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / Motor Neurone Disease), which we can follow through the entire article, via a series of six diagrams which I have “drawn up” specifically for the purpose. You will have to excuse the crudeness of my computer drawing skills, but I hope the point will be carried nonetheless! In these diagrams I will demonstrate Living Systems Medicine in a practical context by building it up in six stages, i.e., via six successive insights.

I chose this example for the precise reason that Motor Neurone Disease (often referred to as ALS particularly in the USA) is one of the most devastating categories of degenerative illness afflicting modern society, because it involves progressive loss of motor control, and in conventional medicine there is literally no one that has a clue what causes it – and, which is worse still, there is no cure. First you experience muscle twitches known as ‘fasciculations,’ along with muscle weakness and stiffness, and eventually you lose your capacity to walk, eat, talk and, finally, breathe, and apparently there is nothing anyone can do to prevent its progression. In the USA alone, more than 5000 people are diagnosed with this condition each year, and 50% of these are dead within 14 months, and most of the rest within up to 5 years of tortuous degeneration.

Years ago, an Irish man with this condition contacted my clinic. At that time, I considered that I had not yet gained sufficient years of clinical experience with Field Control Therapy (FCT – Living Systems Medicine in clinical practice) to take on such a serious case myself, and so I decided to refer him directly to Savely Yurkovsky, M.D., in the USA. At this time, he had been recommended by his conventional doctor to get a wheelchair and – in short – to get his affairs in order. . .

Three years later, after doing nothing except regular FCT, and following a gradual process of recovery, he was completely cured. What’s more, the FCT treatments he received were totally non-invasive, with no side effects whatsoever. The doctor who had first diagnosed him (the top specialist in this disease in all of Europe, at least according to the patient’s account) was the same doctor who officially declared that he no longer had the disease, and that he should “keep on doing whatever he is doing.” At the time of writing this article, further years have passed with no remission, and now he continues FCT for maintenance.

Of course, technically speaking, a single case proves nothing, even if it is this miraculous. However, context is everything. There is the fact that Living Systems Medicine offered precise reasons both concerning the causes of his disease and its cure, and likewise the fact that this is backed up by a track record of similarly outstanding results in the treatment of a wide range of other neurological and other illnesses based on similar assessment and treatment principles. All of this adds up to the logical conclusion that his recovery was not a fluke, but occurred for exact Living Systems reasons.

Naturally, if someone flicks a light switch and the light comes on, there is a clear and visible reason for it. We don’t require exhaustive proof when things are clear-cut. Yet if a caveman is watching, the caveman (whom we shall say is intelligent, but has never seen light switches before!) may say, “Don’t talk nonsense about so-called light switches and other claptrap – the light came on and we have no idea why – and before you can convince me with your light switch theory, I want to see large-scale studies to prove it!” The point of this analogy is that until larger-scale studies of the light-switch phenomenon are done to convince those who know little of light-switches, the inventor and user of the light-switch understand exactly how and why it works, and indeed designed it specifically for the purpose, and so don’t require lots of additional study to reach that understanding.

Similarly, when the Wright brothers first flew an aeroplane into the sky, they had formulated their own precise theories and design, and demonstrated it in real situations. Naturally, others to come would further prove, explain and test the “aeroplane” idea, but in the meantime, the Wright brothers were not fumbling in the dark, but had already developed highly precise mechanical concepts and measurements to build their aeroplanes. They had not arrived at manned flight by a process of fluke, but by painstaking process of scientific measurement and development of logic. This, in essence, is where we are at with Living Systems Medicine, and indeed my objective for this article is to lay out this development of logic in clear terms for public reference – to take the reader from “square one” all the way up to “curing MND and understanding exactly how and why.” Within this context, it is no surprise to me that even Motor Neurone Disease (MND) would turn out to be curable.

Below, then, I present my first of six diagrams, to initiate the story concerning “how” and “why” Living Systems Medicine (LSM) was able to cure this case of MND. The same or similar principles likewise apply to many other illnesses:

As we see above, there is just a small box labelled “Motor Neurones” at the bottom, and then lots of empty space all around. My point is that when someone receives a diagnosis of Motor Neurone Disease (MND), all that is identified in this diagnosis is that the motor neurones are being affected by some local malady, and no one has any idea why, nor why it then fatally degenerates. But when we look at the empty space pictured, it is no longer mysterious why they have no answers: We see that at this point we are only looking at a disease picture in isolation. This would be like trying to diagnose a tree disease by looking only at one peripheral group of twigs. Living Systems Medicine is not yet being applied. We will proceed to apply the Living Systems model to this diagram, and to MND, by gradually filling in the rest of that space with other clues on our detective trail!

For now, I would like you, my reader, to be my “detective” and see if you can predict what will be drawn in the rest of that diagram. . . Let’s be playful – why not give it a try? It is quite possible that you may feel you already understand or practise Living Systems Medicine – and if so, you ought to be able to fill that empty space with your understanding, leading step by step to a complete cure of MND by the time we reach diagram number six!

The first stage, pictured above, is what I call simply “A Part.” We have just a local part of the body depicted, and so far our perspective has not grown beyond this. But it soon will. . .

Information Fields

I have introduced the idea of the interconnectedness of everything – clearly lacking in the first MND diagram, where we see a part in isolation, not interacting with any other parts. This leads us directly into our next major insight about Living Systems Medicine: As covered in a number of the most forward-thinking books of our generation, in turn quoting the scientific lifework of some of the greatest scientists of the last century, Albert Einstein among them,24 this massive state of flux and interconnectedness which clearly comprises reality cannot be made up merely of “building blocks” of matter in terms of separate particles. That child’s perception would defy logic.24

This key point runs all the way through Living Systems Medicine, because without it, our so-called appreciation of what a “system” actually is, and how it functions, would be very superficial. Think about it: Your two feet, although they look separate, are in reality connected at the hip – as well as through the air which lies between them – and there is no place in or near or around them which you could describe as truly “empty.” 10, 24, 29 Everything is to greater or lesser extents overlapping, as demonstrated at last in many studies and theories of recent times. 10, 13, 24, 29, 37 Similarly, branches of a tree, or drops of the ocean, are all inter-connected. Some of the most exciting physics experiments of the past century have further underlined this fundamental interconnectedness even of things which we cannot imagine are connected – such as “particles” influencing each other at a distance yet with no apparent physical link. 10, 13 This has even led one author 13 to describe the whole universe as a massive interwoven “web” of connectedness, another to speak of the “wholeness” of existence as an “implicate order” that reaches everywhere, 37 and another10 to describe it as a gigantic interconnected “field” of information waves.

One thing’s for sure: When our ancestors hypothesized that the world was made up of “billiard ball” type particles, it turns out they were wrong.24 It has taken humanity thousands of years to disprove that simplistic notion, but now, at least, at the forefront of twenty-first century science, we are looking at a new perception of the universe (including the human body and its organs in health and illness) not as composed simply of “separately defined” parts (since the theory of the particle places the emphasis on the mistakenly perceived pseudo-clear boundaries separating things), but rather, as a universe composed of a massive field or web13 of interconnecting waves,24 vibrational “strings,”29 energy30, 21 or – most accurately and fundamentally of all – what Kevin Eakins, N.D., and I have taken to referring to in the true physics sense as information fields.10, 22 One author23 also refers to this and the overall systems model, in terms of the organisation of elements into a whole, and in the context of physics research, as “coherence,” which she defines as the substrate of life. Another25 uses the term “morphic resonance” to describe the cohesiveness of systems at the various levels of biology ranging from the cell up to the species.

Each of these expressions is borrowed from different authors, and each is looking at a different angle on similar problems in science, but the concepts which unify all of these different strands of scientific research are the following inter-related ones:

  • Systems as organised entities
  • Their grand interconnectedness at multiple levels within each other
  • Their fabric composed fundamentally not of particles of matter in isolation, but of information fields in interaction

Now let’s turn to my second diagram. If we move away from the single “part” which forms the focus of the disease diagnosis (in this case the motor neurones), the next logical move is to take in a view of many parts in the general vicinity of our first part (see below). But, as we have seen, although an improvement, this too is insufficient, because now we are perceiving these many parts still as things standing in isolation, rather than information fields in interaction. So later we will see what Stage 3 holds in store for us. . .
Now my detective’s challenge for you, my reader, is to take a look at the diagram above – this sea of parts – and see if you can predict the patterns to be revealed in later diagrams! Imagine this is a game out of a puzzle book. . . If you were asked to group the above parts into groups of collective function or meaning, which groups would you choose to emphasize and where would you draw the boundaries? We cannot work as economists if pounds, yen, rupees and pesos are all thrown into a mix together chaotically. . . We are forced to sort them out into logical groupings, or our task of curing MND will surely be hopeless.

Application to Medicine

In medicine, we find that the application of this model is launching a revolutionary new era of medical practice named Living Systems Medicine.

Perhaps this is a suitable moment to pause and explain which phrases and ideas we invented ourselves, versus ones we are borrowing or quoting from others. The phrase Living Systems Medicine is one that was first jointly coined by Kevin Eakins, N.D., and myself in 2010. The ideas behind it are based on the amazing life work of Savely Yurkovsky, M.D.3-9 The phrase ‘science of perspective’ is one I have coined myself for this article, as a way of explaining systems theory. The terms ‘information universe’ and ‘information medicine’ are ones which I borrow from Kevin Eakins, N.D.

The basis of this form of medicine recognizes, first of all, that everything in medical diagnosis and therapy depends on perspective. Whether in health or disease, no event or situation in any part of the body can be viewed in isolation from what is happening at the various other levels of Living System with which it is dynamically connected.

Now let’s see what our third diagram reveals below:

Here we can see pictured a new vision: Instead of just a sea of parts in relative isolation from each other, we are beginning to look for patterns. The first step is to group some of the key parts together into a system. In this example, we recognize that there is a group of endocrine glands which function as a unit, and hence deserve the title, “the endocrine system.”

But is this the only “currency” grouping of special significance in my drawing? Or are there are any others you can spot? In the next diagram, I will broaden the perspective still further. . .

Systems Theory

This holistic vision, however, is only the beginning – there are other key insights to come. Let’s pause to look at this aspect, first. It may not in itself appear new. Certainly, many types of medicine old and new have in different ways sought to consider the whole body in their assessment rather than focusing exclusively on isolated areas or disease labels. Even here, though, this perennial insight which crops up in different therapeutic traditions around the world finds itself re-defined within a new language: that of systems theory.1, 2, 3-8, 11, 26, 27, 36

In 1945, a brilliant Austrian biologist and philosopher, one of the giants of twentieth century science, Professor Dr Ludwig von Bertalanffy, published2 what he called General System Theory: the epoch-shifting idea that it is possible to define the characteristics of one system which apply also to all other types of system – in other words, the general properties of systems. Thus the new field of systems theory was born, later giving rise – in its application to many other fields – to a group of sciences sometimes referred to as the systems science(s).

Systems Theory in Other Fields – Ecology and Economics

This concept has borne especially famous fruit in, among others, the fields of biology and economics.

I’d like us to take a brief look at these two examples outside of medicine, in the hope that these familiar examples will then help you, my reader, to comprehend parallel ideas in medicine.

The next time you hear a media pundit refer to an “ecosystem” or the “green movement” and its various ideas, think back to this article, and where it all began: applying Dr von Bertalanffy’s theory to modern biology! The actual term and concept of an “ecosystem” predated Dr von Bertalannfy, with roots in the 1940s, 1930s and earlier, but subsequent to General System Theory and the rise of the systems sciences, ecosystems came to dominate ecology in the 1960s and beyond, and the issue reached a crescendo epitomized perhaps by Rachel Carson’s classic work,34 “Silent Spring,” in the 1970s. In spite of some who have mistakenly suggested otherwise, to avoid considering her actual arguments for what they were, I should hasten to add that her book is still just as relevant today.35 She drew attention to the over-use of agricultural chemicals such as pesticides, and, using DDT as a clear example of excess, their devastating cumulative impact on the environment and our health. The basic thrust of her argument – which is a core systems concept and for that reason both undeniably true and never out of date – is the essential interconnectedness that exists in ecosystems, of which we of course are part, as well as birds and other species – and thus the vulnerability of ourselves and other life forms not only to damage from pesticides and other toxins, but to one of dastardly cumulative nature.

Thus, if we apply systems theory to the life forms on our planet, we immediately see that they are all organised wholes which, at the same time, are inter-dependent and which are continually and dynamically inter-relating. In short, we arrive at the fundamental concept of the ecosystem, in which humans, animals and plants form a delicate balance of inter-relationship. Out of this insight, the modern ecological movement has grown, in an effort to prevent us further damaging ourselves and the environment with which we interact and on which we depend. I would hazard a guess that to most readers, it will be news indeed that many of the ideas of the modern “green” movement sprang out of an exciting general concept known as systems theory – without which, there would be no scientific study of the interaction of parts composing “ecosystems.”

Here, I am going to “inject” some polemical points, too: As we see in Rachel Carson’s work, and the rise of the green movement, toxicity concerns have been – and continue to be – one of the major environmental concerns facing our world today, if not the single most important one. This is precisely because of the interconnectedness and bioaccumulative effects of many key toxins, as mentioned above, and their devastating impact on every facet of our lives – including our brains which are faced with decision-making processes about our environment. Hence – and here comes a little-known but absolutely key issue – even our capacity to behave sensibly about environmental issues in general (let alone other important decisions in our lives!) has been fundamentally compromised by neuro-toxins accumulating in ourselves and environment! Thus even if an environmentalist is campaigning with a focus on a different problem, these toxicity issues will be continually hindering people from behaving sensibly, due to mass impairment of mental functioning and cognitive ability – especially from mercury.15-20, 31-33

This global “epidemic” of brain impairment is one of the key topics of Savely Yurkovsky, M.D.’s second (forthcoming) book, and is an unprecedented and awful side effect of the bio-accumulation of cross-placental poisons in our environment that has been worsening with each successive generation.

As such, it frustrates and saddens me considerably that the green movement – and mass media – have devoted such relatively little attention to mercury, pesticides and other toxicity issues, compared with other more well-known environmental issues in the media, such as global warming, climate change, accelerated extinction of species, and so on. By way of example, in an article about the “top ten” environmental issues of our times as published on the popular website WebEcoist, toxicity issues amazingly don’t feature anywhere – not square, front and centre – in this top ten list! Of course, there are many environmental issues and hazards facing our world, and toxicity is only one of them – I am not suggesting the others are not also important. However, I am suggesting that the toxicity issue should be No.1 on the green movement’s agenda – and in fact on everyone’s collective agenda – and that it is the key to unlocking success with the other ones, because human beings around the world will be hindered from sensible decision-making capacity until neuro-toxins are greatly reduced in many people’s brains, bodies and our environment, using precisely the approach introduced in this article: Living Systems Medicine. As such, we see Living Systems Medicine stretching even beyond the treatment of an individual, to the treatment of whole societies and environments.

Similarly, the next time you hear an economic analysis with use of phrases such as “the economy is taking a downturn,” or “we are in a bear market,” this personification of “the economy” or “the market” is a direct product of systems theory too. In an attempt to make sense of the hugely complex set of financial inter-relationships which exist between human beings, companies and countries, from hour to hour, and from month to month, organised wholes are defined and then we try to track their behaviour. This is also, of course, notoriously difficult – a topic I will return to below – but it would be even more difficult if no interacting systems were perceived at all, and in their place just a random chaos of millions of financial transactions or isolated data.

Those are just two examples of fields outside of medicine where systems science has already had a big impact. There are many others, too, and the point of this article is not to analyze them in any depth, but to argue that medicine is the “biggie” standing next in line, demanding the urgent attention of systems science to sort its manifold and growing problems out! 3-9

Properties, Behaviour and “Climate” of a System

So the first application of systems theory, as in these fields, is in recognizing the presence of systems, with their mutual interactions, and then in making an attempt to study their properties and behaviour. So far so good, and this in itself is a significant breakthrough for modern science. But there is more to come, as the systems sciences remain in their infancy, and much is continuing to be discovered.

Now let’s look at medicine, in comparison with these other fields. When people fall ill, we find that here, too – just like in an economy or an ecosystem – we encounter apparently isolated signs and symptoms which are nonetheless inter-connected with the wider “climate” of what is happening in the rest of the system of which it forms part – as well as being dynamically inter-related with what is happening in the many other neighbouring systems (in this case, organs and tissues).

So immediately we can say that in order to understand the state of a human body in sickness, we should not restrict ourselves only to the obvious symptoms, or even to the main underlying bodily processes recognized to form part of the disease. Doing so is, in essence, the main focus of modern conventional medicine, which seeks to isolate the parts and processes which are causing the symptoms, then modify them in some way, wherever possible. This effort is, in the first place, not necessarily a bad one, but is nonetheless an extremely limited one – in terms of perspective 38 and, consequently, clinical results.14 Modern medicine is finding itself, not surprisingly, unable to cure a wide range of modern diseases. We could say it is an approach which, in general, exhibits a relatively high degree of accuracy and scientific precision, but which at the same time risks a poverty of perspective that may lead to poor decision-making.

Seeing the Forest for the Trees

By comparison, consider an ecosystem which is on the point of collapse due to accidental external disturbances to the relationships of the animals within it: In order to maintain this ecosystem in healthy balance, then no matter how much we know about the parts we have studied – such as the individual leaves on trees, teeth in the mouths of gorillas or tails on monkeys – this information, useful though it may be, will not allow us to save the ecosystem. To do that, we must base our decision-making process on the science of perspective – namely, systems science. This will involve looking at the properties and behaviour of the system as a whole, and the many interactions and inter-dependencies between its parts, and between the ecosystem as a whole and other systems outside of it.

Suddenly, for example, the interactions between the gorillas and the monkeys may become of far more importance than studying their teeth or tails, respectively. Or perhaps it may be more fruitful to analyze the interactions between the ecosystem and the local mining companies deforesting the area. Obvious though such things may seem, they will not be factored in to our analysis while our primary focus is on the teeth and tails. And yet that, in a nutshell, explains the poor results of conventional medicine today.

Are Teeth and Tails Really Where It’s At?

There are certainly clinical situations where understanding “teeth and tails” (symbolically speaking) pays off – if this does turn out to be the epicentre of the problem. But more often than not, it pays also to look at a wider perspective, as described above. In an ecosystem, you’d have to be wilfully neglectful to fail to notice the mining companies pulling down the trees, in this obvious example. But in the case of a human body in sickness, the “mining companies” causing disturbance and disease may be far subtler – and more easily missed unless actively looked for.

Holistic Medicine vs. Living Systems Medicine

So at this stage, you might be saying to yourself: Okay, so when they say ‘Living Systems Medicine,’ what they mean is basically Holistic Medicine.

The answer to this is actually no. They are not the same, and therein lies the brilliance and ingenuity of Living Systems Medicine. That is precisely why we are describing it as a Revolution of ideas.

This is because, just as it is possible to become so focused on the parts that you fail to see what is happening to the whole (a common observation made by holistic thinkers, and the basis of many alternative therapies), there is also a danger of the reverse!

If we spend all of our time trying to understand “the economy” or “the ecosystem” or “the human body” but without ever studying its parts – such as the individual companies, animals and organs, respectively – then our perspective will here, likewise, become impoverished.

Scientific Holism: Factoring in the Whole – AND the Parts

The key point about systems theory – which I am describing as the science of perspective – is that we need to do both: We must consider both the whole and the parts! And not only that – we must also consider the many interactions between all of these: between the various parts, or between the parts and the whole, or between the whole and other external systems and influences.

Even that is not the entirety of the Living Systems Medicine model – because there is more to come! But here I am seeking to lay down the various key principles of the approach one at a time, to build a picture but without throwing in all of the principles at once. I feel each of these core principles is so profoundly important in its own right that I would rather linger on each one for a while – to allow time for digesting. . . It might be better if I succeed in conveying only a single key concept well, so that you will still remember it in years to come, rather than conveying ten so superficially that they are all easily forgotten by next week. . .

As you see, from starting out with the simple concept of what a “system” is, and applying that to medicine in a proper way that has never been done before, we can gradually build up an amazing set of conclusions set to transform the face of modern medicine. By the time I have finished, I hope you will be able to see why this model is so revolutionary in scope: namely, the single most complete model of medical practice ever devised.

So let’s linger a little more on that idea of combining both the whole and the parts in our analysis.

Reductionist science is not enough. Holism is not enough either. Instead, we need a revolutionary new model of scientific holism which incorporates the best of both traditions.

That model is the Living Systems one. It does not negate either the tradition of reductionist science nor that of holistic therapies, but rather, for the first time in history we have a unified model – and one that makes profound sense – to unify the best of both into a single “cunning plan”!

A Single Unified Model for the Future of Medicine

There are thus elements of the Living Systems model which can be traced both in the history of conventional medicine and in that of the best holistic therapies. But – and this is the key point – never before has this model been brought together into a single, clearly-expressed new language, definition, theory and practice.

As an interesting aside, the outstanding author and homeopath Harris L. Coulter (recently deceased) published a series of voluminous books (“Divided Legacy”) – over the course of nearly two decades – in which he sought to give a history of modern conventional and alternative medicine, where he argued that over two thousand years of this history have been characterized by what he calls a grand “schism” between reductionism and holism. Now, in 2011, as I write this article, we can finally heal that schism and allow future patients to benefit from a truly integrated approach. The Living Systems Medicine approach will take time to filter into mainstream medical practice, but we will do our best to hasten that process. The time of this “schism” is at an end.

Potential Obstacles in the Systems Approach

If we were to stop here, and seek to extract no further additional insights from the systems idea, then Living Systems Medicine would be a bit like the modern fields of ecology and economics: systems theories in their infancy, showing promise but with many limitations and obstacles yet to be overcome. This is for a precise reason: the great complexity of data involved.

Let us remember why reductionist science has for centuries been so successful and useful: It is, in a word, because it enables us to avoid the quagmires of this vast complexity! Once you adopt a systems approach to ecology, economics, medicine or any other field, you are inviting a far greater complexity into your analysis than when you take a reductionist approach. This is the beauty and indeed marvel of reductionism, which is one of the great achievements of modern science: In the face of a complex universe, we can “bite off” certain parts, one or a few at a time, and apply careful focus to those parts in order to study them accurately. While this won’t enable us to understand everything, it will at least enable us to break down certain parts of the picture very clearly.

That, in itself, is a wonderful thing. But these many broken-down parts need then to be pieced together into a wider perspective, if ever we are to make sense of the world around us. And so, like it or not, reductionism is a useful tool which contributes to the systems sciences but cannot do the whole job.

This, then, is where a more holistic picture comes in, to help allow us to study the properties and behaviour of whole systems, providing a model within which to start fitting the individual pieces concerning knowledge of the parts – and, most essentially, start to observe and understand their interactions in a broader context.

On this note, below I present my fourth diagram. Here we see that we have moved beyond one system to a new perspective which looks at multiple systems standing in mutual relation as neighbours. Here I have specifically chosen, as my examples, three key bodily organ systems which take up a lot of our attention in Living Systems Medicine, for reasons we will look at in Part Three of this article. Of course, these are not absolute categories (e.g. the liver has an immune role too, and the thymus is an endocrine gland, etc.) However, the purpose here is not to be exhaustive in our groupings – but to mark some clinically useful preliminary groupings of great significance to help us make sense of the sea of parts.

My next detective task for you, my dear Watson, is to look at the diagram below and figure out what is still missing – as we have two more diagrams to come, and each one to come is of exponentially greater value to clinical practice compared to the one before it:

We have come a long way, already. But how are we to effectively piece all of this together in a manner which brings real results in terms of ecological, economic or medical success? That is the million-dollar question…

Thankfully, the Living Systems model has an answer for this, too. I will go on to present the answer to this dilemma, in terms of the practical tools and medical applications, in Part Two of this article.

Key References

Below is a small selection of key works which I have drawn from and which have contributed to our conception of Living Systems Medicine as laid out in the various parts of this article and website. Most of these works are books, and all have been published in the last exciting half-century of human development. I believe that these works (which are in themselves only the tip of the iceberg, as there are many more which have also informed our work) can not only be warmly recommended to the serious reader and/or to the student of Living Systems Medicine, but moreover represent key examples of the nature and diversity of ideas which are a turning point in human history, and the rising of a new paradigm of science, medicine and life for our collective future.

I did not cobble this list of references together from hearsay or secondary sources. These are literally the titles of the books on my own shelf which I have chosen based on which ones have most influenced my own thinking in this and other related articles on this subject.

After extensive research, learning, reflection and experience in this field, it is my personal view that this list, and the contents of this article, truly represent the gradual dawning of a golden age for humanity and the planet Earth, provided the sun of this inspiration is not squashed back below the horizon but instead allowed to rise!

1. Laszlo, Ervin, “The Systems View of the World: A Holistic Vision for Our Time,” Hampton Press (1996). (Original earlier edition was published in 1972).
2. von Bertalanffy, Ludwig, “General System Theory,” George Braziller Inc (2003). (Original edition was published in 1969, and included reprinted articles from previous years, including the first public announcement of General System Theory dating back to 1945).
3. Yurkovsky, Savely, M.D. (DVD), “Field Control Therapy Basic Level Seminar,” SYY Integrated Health Systems, Ltd. (Dublin 2004).
4. Yurkovsky, Savely, M.D. (DVD), “Field Control Therapy Basic Level Seminar,” SYY Integrated Health Systems, Ltd. (London 2007).
5. Yurkovsky, Savely, M.D. (DVD), “Field Control Therapy Post-Graduate Seminar in Patient Management,” SYY Integrated Health Systems, Ltd. (New York 2007).
6. Yurkovsky, Savely, M.D. (DVD), “Introduction to Field Control Therapy,” SYY Integrated Health Systems, Ltd. (Athens 2008).
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