Whole by T. Colin Campbell, PhD explains the difference between a holistic paradigm and the view favored by science and medicine. The linear reductionist view is generally accepted as the “truth” by government agencies and in the media. Campbell addresses nutrition and health and the extreme and debilitating effects resulting from the American population’s acceptance of government guidelines and medical professionals’ second-hand opinions. Those of us who are astrologers face similar challenges with our holistic perspective, which is often at odds with the norm.
Dr. Campbell was an insider for over 50 years, teaching standard courses on nutrition at Cornell University, and receiving numerous research grants throughout his career. He explains that funding is only available to those willing to tailor their research to a strictly linear, cause-and-effect model. While I was already aware of the many ways our society diminishes a holistic view of life, this book was still an eye-opener. It’s disturbing to see how medicine and the media are deeply enmeshed with corporate America.
Growing up on a farm, Campbell began with and advocated for a standard American diet. Yet over his years of research and study, he came to support whole foods and plant-based nutrition. Studies for such a diet are difficult to find as they are not linear and are not supported by industry. Apparently there are nevertheless many such studies, which show the positive effects of the diet, though they often cannot gain the attention of publications or the media (both of which are also often funded by industry, especially pharmaceuticals and other special interests).
This is an important book, however as with many of its kind, its value and limitations are both due to the author’s strong point of view. He comes just short of saying that vegetarianism can cure cancer, for example. It’s hard for us to know if he’s right or wrong. But given the predominant influence of the pharmaceutical and food industries on medicine and lifestyle in this country, more alternative voices need to be heard.