Quotes are Insp…

“Follow the path of the unsafe, independent thinker. Expose your ideas to the dangers of controversy. Speak your mind and fear less the label of ‘crackpot’ than the stigma of conformity. And on issues that seem important to you, stand up and be counted at any cost.”

– Thomas J. Watson (1874-1956, American Businessman, founder of IBM)



3 thoughts on “Quotes are Insp…

  1. With due respect to Mr. Watson, there is a time to speak and a time to be silent.

    My wife experienced her first symptoms of M.S. in 1980, shortly before we met. She was strong, healthy, and beautiful. Now only her beauty remains. M.S. has robbed her of all movement below the neck. She always led as full a life as we could arrange. Now most of the time she lies in bed and uses her laptop with voice commands and watches television.

    When her neurologist gave us the bad news in 1990, my heart sank. I did not know then what we would have to live through, and it may have been better that I did not. M.S. is scary. Every new stage of her disability required new routines, new equipment, new ways of coping. Every new stage created new responsibilities and new losses.

    For many years I assumed that my wife’s condition was a misfortune of nature. I knew something of her troubled history. I did not connect it with her M.S. All the medical authorities agreed that her condition was purely medical.

    I no longer agree with them.

    Over the years I have developed my own theory of how people get M.S. My theory is fairly simple. It accords with the facts. It fills the vast gaps in medical science’s concepts and reasoning about M.S. It may explain why women are more likely than men to get it, why people of ages 20 to 30 are most vulnerable to it, and why it rarely appears in some cultures.

    But I have no way to test my theory and no medical training to justify it. I have no substantiation beyond my experience of my wife’s M.S., her personal history, and what little I have read on the subjects of M.S., debilitating diseases in general, psychology, and energy medicine.

    If I publish my theory, it may not lead to general cure or prevention of M.S. or help any individual patient. Worse, it may do harm, especially if it is partially or wholly unsound. My theory affronts medical dogma and social taboo. To publish it would arouse opposition, probably organized opposition. I am in no position to defend against that. I would lose such a war, and if my theory is sound and useful, it would be in vain, and I would become just another “crackpot.”

    Maybe some day, if I learn more about these things and find others willing to help me, I can do some good with my theory. But not now.

    • I’m so sorry to hear of your wife’s debility. I know that it has not been an easy road that you have traveled together. I surmise that you follow a code of ethics that many spouses cannot follow in the face of this disease; kudos to you and your bride.

      As for your theory….because of your years as an MS caregiver, you have earned the right to voice the conclusion you have reached from the things you have observed, connections you’ve made, conclusions that may or may not be totally accurate. I think the key to curing any debilitating disease lies in the discussions that take place among people who see things through different lenses. I believe that ‘medical dogma’ does much harm, and there are many inroads to breaking the strongholds that surround the theory of MS being an autoimmune illness, for example. When you talk about social taboo, arousing organized opposition, or being labeled a crackpot, it makes me wonder what it is you’ve concluded! The fact that you have included energy medicine in your list, and think that your wife’s troubled history added to the genesis of disease is interesting too.

      I wish you much success in your learning and theorizing. Maybe soon you will like Watson’s quote a little bit more.

      • Thanks, Donna. I would like to clear up one point: our marriage has nothing to do with ethics. My wife is unique to me, my life companion and bedmate. I have stood by her in her affliction because my heart advised me to. A few months ago one of her home health aides told her of another patient whose husband had just left her, saying that he wanted to “cut his losses.” I do not blame that husband. I just happen to have a greater tolerance for losses than he does.

        Besides, if my theory is right, marriage can be involved in the development of M.S., and M.S. can upset a marriage psychologically, quite apart from its physical consequences. Early in our marriage my wife started behaving irrationally and antagonistically toward me. At the time I was hurt and baffled. I now see it as a manifestation of the problem that triggered her M.S. That we are still together is partly because I trusted my knowledge of what she was when I first knew her.

        When I posted to your blog, it was because I was discontented with having a theory that could help many and not being able to publish it safely and usefully. Your reply to my post shows self-restraint and consideration for me, as well as interest in what I might have to say about M.S. I am willing to discuss my ideas privately with you, and with anyone else who is involved with M.S. and will respect my concerns. I shall have to be careful. Though my ideas rest on familiar concepts, the theory I have built from them is revolutionary. Revolutions, no matter how well-intentioned, often hurt far more people than they help.

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