Learning to determine our own truth

There once was a simple woman who lived in a little, lovely village. She didn’t have much of a formal education, but she was curious and she always tried to consider as much as she could.

She had the good fortune to make acquaintance with a colleague who was very learned and well-traveled and knew many things about the world. They became good friends and would enjoy meeting together in the evenings for tea and did so frequently.

The learned colleague liked to tell stories about beautiful sights and relics they encountered in their life. They also liked to tell tales of the times when they recognized goodness in life. The colleague felt great peace when they were talking about goodness and beauty.

One evening over tea the colleague proposed a toast to truth. “To be led by truth: what an important beacon for a person as they go through life.”

The simple woman smiled, raised her cup, and drank. Always a person feeling most comfortable with balance and harmony, the simple woman then proposed a toast for untruthfulness and heartily raised her cup.

“Why would we celebrate untruthfulness?” asked the perplexed colleague.

“Because no one is perfect. And just as important as striving for honesty, beauty, or goodness is to be kind to yourself when you haven’t done your best, for whatever reason.”

The learned colleague took a small sip of their tea and looked a bit neutral about the turn the conversation had taken.

The simple woman continued. “Yes, I also think we should toast the liars and all people who deceive and cheat,” she suggested.

“Now, hold on a minute. I know you are a fan of integrating everything,” said the learned colleague, “but aren’t you taking this too far? These are agents of chaos who threaten the established and thoughtful consensus. They and their lies are dangerous. We would be better off if these agents were silenced altogether!”

“I disagree,” said the simple woman. “I’m grateful when the truth is hidden in a sea of lies because it trains me to learn how to find truth for myself, wherever it is.”

“But people will get hurt,” protested the colleague.

“Anything worthwhile carries real danger, of course. How else could it be a legitimate lesson?”

The two sat in silence. The simple woman sat calmly with a warm smile on her face, her gaze lifted slightly above the horizontal and focused on nothing in particular, while her colleague’s face was contorted, looking down towards the floor, revealing she was wrestling with her thoughts.

“And besides,” continued the simple woman after the pause, ”if you make space to permit what others consider to be bad, ugly, or untrue to exist, you’ll never suppress an important truth that did not appear to be such at first glance.

The colleague looked up towards her friend, eyes squinting.

“Are you saying the truth is constantly unfolding and needs the free flow of ideas and discussion?… And are you saying encouraging people to think for themselves would eliminate the potential for abuse of power?…”

The colleague finished their tea with one large sip, poured themself some more, and raised their cup triumphantly.

“Here’s to the liars!” the colleague exclaimed. “Forget false protection from lies by being smothered with an imperfect version of things. Forget making someone’s else’s mistakes. Forget the paternalism. Here’s to learning how to determine the truth for ourselves.”

Medical misinformation

Medical misinformation has been defined as “any health-related claim of fact that is false based on current scientific consensus.” Suppose it were only that simple! Misinformation determinations are popular in medical journalism and not my favorite trend. To make it more intense, medical licensing boards are now positioned to be able to take away the license from practicing doctors for taking positions outside of the consensus opinion.

There is a critique: “Physicians who believe that the existing standard of care is misguided would therefore have no way to express their views publicly without exposing themselves to potential disciplinary action. If physicians could not question prevailing standards without risking disciplinary action, the result would be a substantial chilling effect on potentially valuable speech. The history of medicine contains numerous examples of once-accepted medical standards that were ultimately shown to be ineffective or harmful.” It seems a good doctor would have to go along with the consensus even if it was wrong and even if he or she knew it was wrong until the consensus was smart enough to adjust its errors. Make no mistake about it, the consensus has errors.

In misinformation news this past week a self-appointed professional misinformation vigilante who writes pieces for national media markets had to post an apology to a handful of doctors for using misleading and false statements in her published criticisms of them. What do we do when the misinformation police are guilty of using misleading statements?

But that’s private, the government wouldn’t do that.

In other misinformation news, as a result of a lawsuit, the FDA was forced to take down misleading social media posts about the safety of certain re-purposed drug. The drug was in a position to threaten the rollout of a new medication.

Kelly Sutton, MD

Well, imagine the distaste in my mouth when a friend and exemplary colleague from CA who practiced medicine for 50 years had her license revoked for taking a stand against a consensus issue with which she disagreed, choosing to stand for patients’ autonomy. Can you imagine what it was like for her to take on the state of California for several years on appeals, much of that time defending herself? It takes a toll. Last week she suffered a heart attack and is recovering from heart surgery. Efforts are being made to support her recovery. I have included a link here because I think her story is an important one.

It is with concerned hearts that we share news that our dear physician and PPRM co-founder, Dr. Kelly Sutton, suffered a heart attack on Wednesday, March 27, 2024.   She is currently recovering from triple bypass surgery that took place on Monday, April 1st.

Many of you know Dr. Sutton is an extraordinary woman, her nature is calm, peaceful and wise and she is very articulate and dedicated to the principles of Anthroposophic medicine. She had a private medical practice in Fair Oaks, CA until several years ago when she decided to move to the East Coast to be near one of her two sons and her two grandchildren. 

Despite decades of providing exemplary medical care of the highest ethical standards, she underwent a long and arduous investigation by the Medical Board of California and subsequently had her medical license revoked and her 50 year career terminated; the boards of Massachusetts and New York quickly followed California in revoking her licenses there as well.

In response, she co-founded Physicians and Patients Reclaiming Medicine (PPRM) to try to stop the unconstitutional government and medical board overreach into the doctor-patient relationship which has infringed on free choice regarding one’s own health and the health of children, i.e., parental rights.  

Dr. Sutton is grateful for the outpouring of love and support she has already received.  If you would like to support her with a prayer and/or a monetary donation to help with medical expenses, a Give Send Go page has been set up for her.