This Tuesday, October 15, the call-in discussion group will be discussing Chapter 9 (What Did You Meme by That?) in Steve Ozanich's book The Great Pain Deception starting at 9 pm Eastern Time. It lasts an hour, sometimes a little longer. Phone lines will open half an hour early so you can talk to hosts and early callers. Here's how to join the discussion (for detailed instructions, visit http://go.tmswiki.org/connect ): · If you're connecting by phone, dial 1 (347) 817-7654 and when prompted enter the meeting number 18311499. · If you're connecting via your computer (Fuze Meeting), go to www.fuzemeeting.com/fuze/app/48fb7aa8/18311499 and follow the instructions from there. For more information, visit www.tmswiki.org/ppd/Call-In_Peer_Discussion_Group . Steve introduces a word new to most of us in this chapter: meme (rhymes with dream). It first appeared in a book by Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene, in 1976 when he said a meme is an idea or way of thinking about the world that is passed from person to person, society to society, and generation to generation. It replicates information by imitation, using a language of words, sounds, or other symbols and also organic genes can pass down information to us that make us believe in certain things or ways. Memes can definitely effect our health. Examples of memes are the notion that cold weather causes colds, and that slipped discs cause pain, and if we believe those theories, memes really do cause these symptoms. But these are false realities if our unconscious mind accepts a false meme. Memes can express themselves in the form of behavior. These false notions of the human body’s breakdown or demise actually affect our behavior because memes “infect” the brain through imitation. One person passes the false meme on to another, and so forth. Memes of different types go in and out of “fashion.” Ulcers used to be a main complaint, while today many people complain of back pain. If you had a stomach ache years ago you might have thought you had an ulcer. Just hearing a family member, friend, or neighbor say they have an ulcer produced a meme that gave a person the same symptom. Steve quotes Dr. Marc Sopher who said that when he discovered that he could not slip a disc, or that herniated discs were not causing his back pain, he removed that meme from his mind. He now understood that his survival was based solely upon his beliefs. “I am what I believe I am; no more, no less.” Our parents, doctors, chiropractors, physiatrists and other medical authority figures can all plant memes that grow up like pain-producing weeds in the gardens of our mind. Dr. Richard Cabot wrote about this as early as 1903 when he said “It is we physicians who are responsible for perpetuating false ideas about disease and its cure. The legends are handed along through nurses and fond mothers, but they originate with us, and with every placebo that we give [to others] we do our part in perpetuating error, and harmful error at that.” He didn’t identity an alternative to meme because he didn’t know about Dr. Sarno’s TMS theory that our pain may not be caused by anything structural but by repressed emotions. It’s very interesting that in this chapter Steve says that studies reveal that people with higher intelligence are more susceptible to suggestion and more prone to the placebo effect than those with lower intelligence. He says that physicians need to stop telling patients that they have bad feet, knees, hips, necks, back, and hands that they will have to live, manage, and die with, thereby igniting a nocebo response [a nocebo is a negative placebo]). The actor Christopher Reeve who played “Superman” in the movies, said, “Our well-being has a lot to do with the mind body connection, in that we can make ourselves better, and we can also make ourselves worse, by that mental attitude.” While our health can be radically influenced by physicians and others, the responsibility for healing ultimately lies with the sufferer. A man said his family doctor examined his elbows and asked if his hands felt numb at night. The man said no, but a few nights later he began to feel pain his forearm and his hands became numb. The man was a victim of the power of suggestion from a doctor. Steve cites the extreme example of the power of suggestion two doctors tested by telling a man in a restaurant that he looked sick and should be at home resting in bed. The man went home, climbed into bed, and died. “The tragedy is,” says Steve, “that like pain, cancer is an effect of [severe] Phase 4 TMS, and that billions of dollars raised for a cure are aimed at only treating the effect and missing the cause altogether. But we have the ability to attract cancer to us if we consciously obsess on it. He quotes from a doctor who said, “When I was in medical school, a surprising percentage of the class came down with whatever disease was being discussed in class. It made no difference what the disease was; it could have been hepatitis, schizophrenia, or syphilis.” Steve says, “There must be more research and public education conducted as to how a thought permeates the unconscious mind and manifests itself into the mind body.” So be aware of memes and people who can make us think we’re sick or in pain. While considering this chapter, I was reminded of the old song, “Mean to Me,” written in 1929 by Fred Ahlert and Roy Turk, sung over various generations by Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Doris Day, and Linda Ronstadt. The words go: “You’re mean to me. Why must you be mean to me? Gee, honey, it seems to me you love to see me crying.” The song ends saying, “It must be great fun to be mean to me; You shouldn’t, for can’t you see, What you mean to me?” In thinking about this chapter, I find it easy to substitute the word meme for mean. I hope you join us at the call-in on Tuesday and share your thoughts and experiences on how memes have impacted your health. Perhaps you are, like we and thousands of others, following Dr. Sarno’s theories of TMS causing your pain. He is a positive force spreading a meme whose good news has healed many thousands.