illness and karma

Why resistence towards vaccination — from an anthroposophical viewpoint? Vance Dietz, MD, explains at AnthroMedLibrary:

Anthroposophic medicine sees humans as passing through successive earthly lives in­carnated in a physical body, “laying one’s karmic founda­tion in one incarnation for the next.” Illness comes to an individual not by chance but as an opportunity to come to terms with one’s karma from previous incarnations. Ill­ness provides an individual with a message which ulti­mately assists in self-growth and development. The re­sponsibility of a healer is to assist the human being expe­riencing the illness to deal with it karmically. Thus, pre­vention of an illness may be beneficial in the course of one incarnation but may not be for the entire soul life and development of the person. Anthroposophy views that in early childhood years, soul-spiritual forces permeate the organism and have an organizing effect involving growth. […] [T]hese childhood illnesses are viewed by anthroposophic medi­cine as a necessary instrument in dealing with karma and […] the incar­nation of the child. During childhood illnesses, anthroposophic medical practitioners administer medical remedies to assist the child in deal­ing with the illness not only as a dis­ease affecting their physical body in the physical plane, but also for soul ­spiritual development, thereby pro­moting healing. In contrast, allopathic medicaments are aimed at suppression of symptoms and not necessarily the promotion of healing. […] Anthroposophic medicine teaches that to prevent a disease in the physical body only postpones what will then be produced in an­other incarnation.

Serious complications are karmically meant to occur. Another anthroposophical MD writes:

Each child gets ill in his or her own individual way, and each illness a child gets has a meaningful part to play among the challenges belonging to that child’s life.

A third one says that:

Children’s illnesses modify the body and make it more akin to the individuality inhabiting it. There is now greater com­patibility between the outer person (body) and the inner person (soul/spirit). The child becomes more stable, more enclosed. The fire/fever process sweeps away in­herent weaknesses, chronic colds, bed wetting, psychic problems – even, mother can attest to this.

Thus, it’s not that anthroposophical medical practitioners don’t know about the risks of disease, or that they’re consciously evil — they believe that this spiritual stuff is more important than avoiding suffering or death, and, from their viewpoint, they’re doing good and they’re helping the child avoiding more detrimental consequences (in the — very — long run). It shouldn’t be a part of any medical practice, because the aims are obviously spiritual.

There are several other articles on ‘child health’ on the library’s website. I can but recommend them.

Other blog posts about anthroposophic medicine on this blog.

11 thoughts on “illness and karma

  1. I believe in karma, but what is interesting to me is the assumption by anthroposophists that what is part of another person’s karma can be known by a doctor(or teacher, or anybody else!)
    I believe that a doctor confronted with a dangerously ill child, and in possession of knowledge that could potentially save that child’s life, could be facing something to do with their own karma. Ie, that doctor could be facing an opportunity to help someone they damaged in a previous life, or to help that child’s parents whom they have a karmic debt to.
    It seems that the anthro doctors no longer see it as their duty to alleviate suffering but to take on some kind of priestly role.
    It does seem terribly twisted to be able to relieve the suffering of other human beings but to decline to do so because one imagines it is one’s duty to assist people to endure suffering.
    I wonder what such people make of the story of the ‘Good Samaritan’? After all anthroposophy is supposedly a christian moevment.

  2. well said, Falk. All anthroposophical doctors are of course orthodox doctors too – so we could say they have a duty of care to their patients. There are both moral and legal issues here.

    I’m reading a book called The Moral Landscape’ by Sam Harris, which raises some very interesting questions. I recommend – though I’m not in a position yet to form an opinion about Harris’ ideas. Exciting though.

  3. Indeed, Falk! I don’t know, but it sometimes seems to me they have actually distanced themselves from scientific medicine — from very relevant ways of helping — in favour of beliefs which have too little to do with helping on the material, medical level.

  4. Thetis — they probably do ccare, but sadly in a manner which has bad consequences. They need to rethink the vaccine issue — it is the responsible thing to do. The german anthro doctors’ document i blogged on the other day was a lot more reasonable than the swedish one i blogged yesterday, so it certainly is possible w progress.

  5. The vaccine issue is certainly taken very seriously by health bodies and policy makers. It is a moral issue, and Steiner schools should recognise that they have a particular responsibility (bearing in mind current epidemics) to suggest parents at least discuss concerns about vaccination with their own GPs and inform themselves of the consequences of individual’s choices – which may put other members of the community at risk. The schools should be proactive in my view and demonstrate the strong ethical stance they so often say they represent.

    Of course in all this the children themselves rarely have a choice.

  6. News today: the measles cases are increasing in Sweden. Several new cases lately. It’s just a matter of time before there’s an epidemic in an area with low vaccine uptake.

    I agree they (Steiner schools) have a particular responsibility — they’re breeding grounds for anti-vaccine sentiments. They don’t take an official stand, but given the situation among their clientele, they should. Also — they risk having to close down when their students fall ill, as not to spread the disease. This is a serious disruption for all children who attend these schools.

    ‘Of course in all this the children themselves rarely have a choice.’

    I hope they get their vaccine shots once they grow up. (Actually, this was one of the sensible advice given by the German anthro doctors — in that document I blogged about the other day — they said that once children are older, they should be informed that they’re not vaccinated and given the opportunity to get vaccinated if this is what they wish for. I’m not saying this is anywhere near enough — but, assuming some parents don’t even see the need to inform their teens/young adults, it is very sensible advice. Especially since, growing up, they may go travelling and expose themselves to diseases and — even more seriously — expose less fortunate populations to diseases the unvaccinated european may carry with him/her.)

  7. yes, I often think that’s the common sentiment. They do so often get in the way of Nirvana.

  8. Yes, I agree, but you’re digging your chin in my shoulder. Let me at least put this flamingo down…

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