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— updated 2013-02-22

Herbalist Review, Issue 2013 #2: Are our schools creating self-destructing human robots? — Advice for escaping the Matrix
(and how this applies to TCM herbal education)

by Roger W. Wicke, Ph.D.

Have our schools created generations of biological robots incapable of acting in their own best interests, even to save their own lives? Are toxic chemicals in our food, water, vaccines, drugs, and environment, electrosmog and cell phones, and media mind control making us even more stupid? This article presents a specific action list for those who are motivated to undo the mind-control programming of public school and to escape the Matrix, especially relevant to applicants for admission to RMHI. Students have asked me how they can improve their cognitive abilities and what are the most serious factors underlying the decline in cognitive abilities among the population. That is the focus of this article, and much of this information is based on what my most successful students have done.

Subtopics on this page…

Copyright ©2013 by RMH-Publications Trust; all rights reserved.


Crisis or opportunity?

It is no secret that our so-called health care system is a disaster, peddling toxic drugs, excessive vaccinations, and unnecessary surgeries to people whose health has already been ravaged by crappy diets, water poisoned by fluoride and pollutants, Chemtrails, cell-phone radiation, toxic household products and building materials, toxic cosmetics, lack of exercise and contact with nature, and a corporate-controlled, fear-porn-infested media and dumbed-down public schooling that has programmed people to become thoughtless consumers. Not only have these toxic influences degraded our health, they have resulted in a significant increase in mental and cognitive disorders. Once cognitive function and self-awareness are impaired, it becomes increasingly difficult for such individuals to recognize the causes of their demise, as they succumb to the corporate-fascist depopulation agenda as a consequence of their own blindness to reality. Philosopher-mystic George Gurdjieff described most victims of such programming as biological robots, for whom the outlook was grim. (For the few victims whom he thought were capable of overcoming their robot-hood, he had devised a form of deprogramming involving intensive examination of one's beliefs and delusions, music, dance, and movement.)

Ancient Chinese wisdom states that times of great crisis are also times of great opportunity. Modern psychological studies reveal that less than 5% of the population typically recognizes such opportunities and acts upon them. The vast majority, laboring under delusions induced by politicians, mass media, and religion, has been programmed to avoid even acknowledging the crisis. When current reality clashes with the fairy tales we have been taught in public school — e.g., "America is the land of the free and home of the brave." — cognitive dissonance kicks in to abort conscious perception and logical thought. Pay no attention to those sociopaths behind the curtain! Effective response to times of crisis require knowledge, self-awareness, and conscious effort, and few are willing to expend such effort. My teacher and colleague C.S. Cheung, M.D., frequently reminded me of a Chinese saying: "Most people will not awaken to reality until the coffin-board is being lowered onto their graves" — only after it is too late to take action.

I've been a teacher and practitioner of Chinese herbology for over 26 years. During the last 20 years, I've witnessed an alarming decline in cognitive abilities among the population at large at the same time that I've come to know a growing minority of people whose abilities might be described as prodigious — evolutionary breakthroughs. The latter not only demonstrate high ability on conventional cognitive tests, but often have telepathic and other psychic faculties to varying degrees, a high degree of empathy and intuition, and a display of wisdom at young ages that ordinarily one attains only after many decades of worldly experience.

It is critical for our survival as a species to understand why and how this apparent evolutionary divergence is occurring. Trends in health, education, social life, and general culture indicate we have been collectively heading downhill for at least 50 years.

Many of my fellow herbalists grew up during the 1960's, as did I — the Baby Boomer generation. We were exposed to a steady drum-beat of naive preachings on "peace and love" and many of us worshipped collectivist-utopian-socialist visions of the future. We had not yet understood that collectivist utopias on a mass scale have often led to the greatest mass murders in history, even though the historical evidence was readily available to us then. While the back-to-nature movement that arose during that era led to many positive trends, including the resurgence of herbal medicine and ecological awareness, we are now confronting the dystopian consequences of the naive collectivist mindset permeating political thought during that era. The hippies who followed psychopathic collectivists like Charles Manson and Jim Jones were merely following in the predictable patterns established by more efficient collectivists like Stalin, Hitler, and Mao. Dr. Cheung, who personally experienced the terrible abuses of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, would often remind me that leaders of utopian revolutions invariably resort to mass murder rather than admit to their flawed visions.

To those who recall the 1960's youth rebellions as spontaneous manifestations of "peace and love" consciousness, it may come as a shock to learn that this mass social movement was carefully scripted and staged by a network of international think-tanks, with the intent of applying the behavioral sciences and methods of mind control to the manipulation of mass populations:

  • Tavistock Institute of Human Relations (London), whose origins trace back to the British Army Bureau of Psychological Warfare, commanded by Sir John Rawlings-Reese
  • Stanford Research Institute
  • Rand Corporation
  • Mitre Corporation
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Mont Pelerin Society
  • Club of Rome
  • Trilateral Commission
  • Esalen Institute
  • National Training Laboratories
  • Institute for Policy Studies
  • Center for Strategic and International Studies at Georgetown

If you'd like to learn more about Tavistock and its network, the following articles offer an overview:

The primary goal of such manipulation was to weaken the social fabric of society in order to facilitate public acceptance of ever greater degrees of government intervention into every aspect of family life. Increasing rates of illegitimacy, petty lawlessness, drug addiction, welfare, venereal diseases, and mental illness were some of the consequences of the "peace and love" consciousness of the 1960's, setting the stage for the emergence of vast government bureaucracies to cater to the victims of this social breakdown. (To learn more, do an Internet search for "Hegelian dialectic": problem-reaction-solution. Create the problem, anticipate the public reaction, then have a scripted solution already prepared in response to public demand for action, the scripted solution being one more step toward NWO, New World Order.) While the initial phases of Tavistockian mind control operate to destabilize and revolutionize family life under slogans of "peace and love" — the "Aquarian Revolution", as social breakdown progresses and becomes ever more apparent to a growing percentage of the population, risking public backlash, overt state-sponsored terror displaces peace-and-love consciousness. Big Brother removes his mask to reveal a power-mad psychopathic beast, as George Orwell foresaw in his prescient novel, 1984.

Today's younger generations in America have been subjected to persistent, nagging tyrannies of the nanny state in public school. Many young people in their 20's and under will recall being "strapped like pint-sized Hannibal Lecters into 'safety' seats and fed Ritalin and hectored to Submit and Obey".  [ref.]  Zero-tolerance decrees have attempted to straight-jacket them into politically correct, unquestioning obedience to the Church of Global Warming and to the Dogma of Carbon As Evil, never mind the fact that all life on this planet is carbon-based. As adults, lest they deviate from their robotic programming, taser-wielding cops are ever-present in many communities to remind them of the consequences.

In spite of all this, I am an optimist. While serving as county coordinator for the Ron Paul presidential campaign in 2008, I was impressed by the large numbers of young people among his most enthusiastic supporters. Libertarian philosophy and ideals have taken root among youth who are disgusted with the tyrannical nanny state, and they are ready to rebel. Unlike the noisy, naive, rock-sex-and-drugs, scripted and staged pseudo-rebellions of the 1960's hippies, these young people are quietly rebelling by studying alternative views of history, economics, law, and political theory, by refusing to believe mainstream media propaganda, and by refusing to participate in the collectivist nightmares of their parents' generation. And unlike the 60's, this revolution has been powered by information-sharing on the Internet rather than by hallucinogenic drugs and naive rhetoric.

My own transition from utopian collectivism of the 1960's to libertarianism occurred gradually over several decades, and it had become complete by the end of the 1990's as it became clear to me that the totalitarian Wars on Poverty, Drugs, Cancer, and Terror have all failed miserably. And let's not ignore the War on Stupidity, otherwise known as the national educational policy of "No Child Left With A Mind". When the government declares "war" on something, watch out! The problem is virtually guaranteed to become worse. It's built into the system. The bureaucrats, of whom a significant and powerful minority are psychopaths, administer such wars with the secret goal of expanding their bureaucratic empires and promote expansion of these problems to monstrous proportions and into every crevice of American life. Many historians, including Arnold Toynbee, have warned against the inevitable tendency of bureaucratic institutions of empire to sacrifice their own civilization for the sake of power; the current American empire is showing many indications of following in the path of ancient Rome.

How the crisis has affected health care and herbal medicine

Several years ago, I attended a weekend conference on herbal medicine. Typical of many so-called New-Age gatherings, an aura of bland good cheer suffused the proceedings. Many of the aging hippies and flower children who attend such events still cling to the delusions of utopian collectivism, and, like most victims of cognitive dissonance, they carefully avoid painful reminders of how the utopian dreams of the 1960's have turned to excrement. "Don't think negative thoughts, think only positive thoughts" has become a feeble New-Age mantra, reminiscent of a damaged robotic Stepford Wife or of suburbanites on Prozac -- "Don't worry, be happy. Ignore that man behind the curtain." (Historian Arnold Toynbee recognized this type of delusional reaction as stereotypical of the many religious cults that tend to proliferate during the decline and collapse phase of empires.) During the entire weekend, I do not recall even a single workshop or discussion of the outrageous poisoning of the American people with toxic substances and radiations in their food, water, air, and consumer products. Instead, most presentations followed the predictable format of "herbal formula X for disease Y".

Over the 26 years I've practiced as a clinical herbalist, the food supply alone has become far more toxic than ever before, to the point that I consider major dietary cleanup absolutely mandatory to overcome most serious, chronic health conditions. To pretend that such conditions merely require a few herbal tinctures or formulas is absurd and delusional, yet many of my fellow herbalists continue to adhere to the simplistic mantra of herb-formula-X-for-disease-Y, as evidenced by discussions at such conferences and on Internet forums.

For many years, I agonized over the obstinacy of fellow herbalists to see beyond the simplistic paradigm of herb-formula-X-for-disease-Y toward a broader perspective of human health as an ecological relationship affected by diet, environmental factors, electromagnetic radiation, and by social, legal, economic, political, and spiritual circumstances. This is what "holistic" originally meant, but I avoid using that word; it has become trite from overuse by hypocrites and biological robots, an unpleasant reminder of failed utopian dreams.

Over the decades that I have experienced the dysfunctional consequences of "New Age" thinking, first as a naive participant and later as a skeptic, the similarity of our crisis of civilization to that of a family whose parent is a child abuser, torturer, and sociopath became more apparent. To maintain some illusion of dignity and self respect, a common reaction of family members in such horrific situations is to deny to the outside world that anything is wrong, presenting a facade of false cheer, fake smiles, and socially acceptable excuses for their parent's deviant behavior. To the family victims of such abuse, their tortured and distorted world must be defended against the outside world and especially against outsiders who threaten to expose the pathology. Such outsiders are often ridiculed or verbally attacked; the family honor is at stake.

"See no evil, hear no evil, and speak of no evil" is the hidden undertext of the mantra "Think only positive thoughts." It is used as a social trigger to immediately terminate any serious tendency to think through the problems and pathologies of our world and to explore solutions. And for those people whose New Age programming has failed to kick in, there are psychoactive drugs like Prozac and Paxil whose toxic fluorocarbon molecules chemically switch off parts of the brain that govern our consciences and our ability to foresee the future consequences of our thoughts and actions. Don't worry, be happy. Ignore that man behind the curtain who is manipulating the fear-porn-infested Matrix.

For several decades I have been warning my students and colleagues of the impending rise of the fascist police state. During the early 1990's most dismissed me as a raving conspiracy theorist. America was then still enjoying the illusions of prosperity. Though much of this prosperity had been attained by the invasion, conquest, torture, mass murder, and looting of the resources and labor of foreign countries and the remainder by heavy borrowing from other foreign countries, most Americans chose to ignore these unpleasant facts. As long as the nominal value in inflated dollars of their homes, their retirement portfolios, and their access to consumer goods continued to increase, the New Age mantra of "Think only positive thoughts" served as an effective silencer of troublesome whistleblowers and critics.

Around the year 2000, after experiencing an entire decade of denial by most Americans that anything was amiss in the nation, partly out of sheer frustration, partly from a serious pondering of the Chinese saying "Most people will not awaken to reality until the coffin-board is being lowered onto their graves", I made a prediction to several close friends that Americans would not generally wake up until they had their noses rubbed in tragedy and personal loss. After the event of 9/11, the World Trade Towers demolition, I was dismayed to see how even tragedy on American soil could be utilized for propaganda purposes to terrorize most Americans into accepting and even welcoming an advanced police state to "keep them safe". At this point I began to seriously question how and why most Americans could be so stupid. (If you still believe the government line that Islamic terrorists were solely responsible for masterminding and executing that event, stop right here. I have nothing further of interest to say to you.) And that led me directly to our public school system.

How the crisis has affected education and how this affects our health

In previous issues of RMHI Herbalist Review, I have already explored many of the problems in our educational system and how it has affected the practice of health care, and I won't repeat that information in this article:

In the last article above, I gave on overview of the writings of John Taylor Gatto (book: The Underground History of American Education; full text available free here:  http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/underground/index.htm ). Gatto's book, in my opinion, is the most important book in the last century on the subject of education. Any educator who claims to be concerned about reforming education (rather than reforming the educational system, as Gatto claims it is so broken that it cannot be fixed but must be abandoned), must read it if they truly wish to solve the problem. Gatto is a captivating writer; unlike slogging through boring books on educational theories for creating biological robots, you will not be able to stop once having started. I suspect the many teachers to whom I've made multiple reminders to read it may fear what they will find among its pages. In a previous article, I summarized Gatto's major ideas for what is wrong with our current educational system, why it must be abandoned, and how parents, teachers, and young people themselves are creating successful alternatives.

The human robot — programmed to fail for profit

Human "resource units" who are the products of public schools have been indoctrinated to assume that for any problem that arises one should seek out an expert to fix it.

During the 19th century and especially in rural America, survival required a typical family to accomplish a wide range of tasks with little outside help. Self-reliance was the watchword. Growing a garden, assisting in childbirth, raising children and farm animals and tending to their illnesses, carpentry and building construction, plumbing, vehicle and engine repair, and repair of household gadgets are just a few of the tasks that I recall my close family members performing routinely during my childhood on a farm in western Kansas during the 1950's. In retrospect, these experiences were of greater value to my education than any years I later endured in public school.

On the farm, failure was not an option. Essential tasks absolutely demanded one's full attention until they were successfully completed. If you tried something and it did not work, you studied the problem, asked neighbors and relatives for advice, and kept trying different things until the problem was resolved.

In contrast, public schools have trained its human resource units to routinely accept failure. Students who fail to reach an arbitrary standard within a fixed time period have that failure permanently recorded in their transcript, and over many years of such negative reinforcement, students eventually take on the identity and personality that is reflected in their official records. Human products of this industrialized school system are encouraged to specialize in subjects for which the system has rewarded them with good grades and to defer to experts in all other matters. Such narrowly specialized people become reliable workers and profitable consumers in an industrial economy, because they are human robots who do not ask annoying and troublesome questions, who perform their assigned tasks predictably and repeatably, and who can be relied upon to purchase the many products output by factories comprised of other specialized human robots.

In matters of health, over-specialization and robotic behaviors are the foundational principles of our modern medical-industrial-pharmaceutical empires. Robotic programming prevents its human victims from conscious awareness of how their choices of food, consumer products, and living habits affect their health. Over-specialization has left many without the life experiences and knowledge to understand matters of health and with the belief that they are incapable of ever acquiring this understanding. Instead, they seek out pronouncements and advice from "experts", who make them pay dearly for such advice and for the medical-industrial-pharmaceutical products that have been designed to merely palliate symptoms while inducing chronic and often deadly illnesses — for a profit.

To awaken the public to how we are all being manipulated and poisoned for profit, self-education is key. In spite of the dumbing down of our public schools, millions of people have learned to access the Internet for information on health and to acquire the information and understanding that public schooling has failed to provide. Alternative health practitioners should encourage that trend, for it is a powerful and effective means of breaking the back of the disease-for-profit, medical-industrial complex.

Institutionalized dumbness

Public schooling does not stop at producing functional human robots who are good at specialized tasks; instead, it persistently suppresses critical thinking and creativity, for these latter could sprout into deadly threats to the established order.

As Gatto points out, old-fashioned dumbness, or simple ignorance, had been replaced in the 20th century by an institutional form of dumbness scientifically induced by propaganda and Skinnerian stimulus-response conditioning. Future teachers are indoctrinated in these methods at colleges of education. One can trace the history of these ideas in the West to Tavistock and its sister mind control thinktanks such as Stanford Research Institute and National Training Labs, though the history of robotic programming of human populations can be traced back thousands of years to the ancient Hindus and Babylonians. The Hindu system of education, still prevalent in India and much of Asia today (though this is changing due to rapid economic development and increasing need for engineers, mathematicians, physicists, and business entrepreneurs), was designed to buttress the rigid caste system by destroying the critical thinking abilities of the vast majority of the population who constituted the lower castes. These victims of rigid public schooling were indoctrinated by forced memorization of facts and dogmas that reinforced their inferior status in the established order. Questioning of authority, natural curiosity, individual deviation, and critical thinking were punished until these behaviors were extinguished. Only children of the highest Brahmin caste were encouraged to develop these tendencies, for these would become the priests, heads of state, and high-level government administrators.

During the early 19th century, the militaristic Prussians were among the first in the West to adopt a modified version of the Hindu system of education, stratified by caste, to public education. Prussian generals, frustrated with failure of soldiers to reliably follow orders, desired to create a system of education that would produce soldiers who would follow orders without question and without individual initiative and judgment. To accomplish this, they imposed a robotic style of education on 95% of the population; rote memorization and group recitation of dogmas and principles constituted the core techniques, supplemented by immediate punishment of individual initiative, natural curiosity, and critical thinking. Approximately 4% of the population were encouraged during their education to develop these abilities within a very limited range of subjects, for these young people would be groomed to become the lower-level bureaucrats and technicians. Only 1% of the population were encouraged during their youth to develop their maximum intellectual potential, for these people were slotted to become rulers, planners, strategists, and high-level administrators.

With the rapid industrialization of western nations during the 19th and 20th centuries, the titans of international capitalism agreed among themselves that the Prussian system of education could be adapted to producing reliable factory workers to fulfill jobs that were repetitive, boring, intolerant of deviation from rigid protocols, and often dangerous, as these were very similar to conditions imposed on European soldiers during an era in which warfare had become dependent on technology and mechanization.

How institutionalized dumbness has become entrenched in the training of health care professionals and TCM herbalists

To successfully maintain a system of disease-care that is highly profitable to its medical-industrial controllers though toxic and deadly to its customers, institutionalized dumbness must be inflicted with special intensity upon the professional classes authorized to administer this system. Licensed health professionals of all types, including so-called alternative practitioners, must be hobbled so that they are intellectually incapable of challenging the system.

Gatto hints at how this is accomplished:

"The new dumbness is particularly deadly to middle- and upper-middle-class kids already made shallow by multiple pressures to conform imposed by the outside world on their usually lightly rooted parents. When they come of age, they are certain they must know something because their degrees and licenses say they do. ...According to official reports, only a small fraction of the population is capable of what you and I call mental life: creative thought, analytical thought, judgmental thought, a trio occupying the three highest positions on Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives. Just how small a fraction would shock you. According to experts, the bulk of the mob is hopelessly dumb, even dangerously so. Perhaps you’re a willing accomplice to this social coup which revived the English class system. Certainly you are if your own child has been rewarded with a 'gifted and talented' label by your local school. This is what Dewey means by 'proper' social order."

To those who still cling to their public-schooling indoctrination, the notion that state-certified and licensed professionals may be executing a hidden agenda reeks of conspiracy theory. The cognitive dissonance resulting from such a notion is often intense. Our entire world view risks being turned on its head if such a notion might be correct.

Twenty years ago, after I had been teaching clinical TCM herbology to health professionals for several years, I began to suspect a disturbing trend that would later prove to have an immense impact on RMHI's admissions policies: an applicant's accomplishments in "higher" education, graduate degrees, etc., beyond that of basic literacy generally had no predictive value in estimating the likelihood of successful completion of our courses. In fact, after 20 years of statistics on our graduation rates, I now believe that there is even a slight negative correlation — consistent with John Taylor Gatto's description of the phenomenon of institutionalized dumbness. Our observation that home-schooled young adults with few or even no years of college attendance have been among our very best students confirmed this.

For several decades, I have had an ongoing debate with other instructors who teach at TCM colleges or provide continuing education to TCM herbalists. There seems to be a consensus among such instructors that rote memorization is an essential part of training competent TCM herbalists, yet these same instructors complain that graduates are lacking in cognitive skills. In other words, even though they have memorized a huge amount of information and can regurgitate it on multiple choice exams, they cannot successfully use this information to solve real clinical problems. However, to consider the possibility that emphasis on rote memorization might actually be a cause of this intellectual deficit is taboo, for it would demand frank examination of the diametrically opposed educational philosophies of East and West and of the authoritarian, mind-destroying purposes of Eastern modes of education. Paradoxically, as East Asia becomes more prosperous and technologically developed, East Asian universities are, by necessity, adopting the educational practices of the best European and American universities at a time when many of these institutions in the West are abandoning these traditions in favor of authoritarian mind control, political correctness, and suppression of independent thought. (Trains passing in the night?) Meanwhile, TCM colleges in the West cling to a dysfunctional and despotic Asian model of schooling for the masses that can be traced back to the Hindu caste system of ancient India — a situation I consider to be ludicrous, and which continues only because this intellectual hobbling of future TCM herbalists serves the purposes of the medical-industrial complex; by its system of licensing and enforced mediocrity in education, potential challengers to its dominance are kept ineffective and subservient.

According to Gatto, the traditional Asian concept of education is epitomized by the image of an adult pouring knowledge into the empty head of a passive child. Diametrically opposed to this authoritarian concept, the ancient Greek model of education is to cultivate the natural curiosity and intellect that are merely waiting to be awakened in a child and to prepare the child for full freedom of thought and intellectual sovereignty as an adult. These two models of school/education are totally incompatible.

So what are the educational alternatives for escaping the Matrix?

During my years of undergraduate and graduate study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where I acquired several degrees in biomedical engineering, the only course I completed that required any degree of rote memorization was human anatomy. In fact, most of my professors had contempt for rote memorization, calling it the refuge of dilettantes and the mediocre, a poor substitute for understanding. Almost all my homework and exams were comprised of "problem sets" — carefully designed sequences of problems that would require students to recreate important ideas and discoveries in the historical evolution of that subject. This historical precedents for this model of education centered on problem solving and developing of cognitive potential can be traced back to ancient Greece and the philosophical foundation of the Trivium ( www.triviumeducation.com ):

  • grammar — in the larger sense of rules for accurate observation and description of facts: the who, what, when, where of any phenomenon;
  • logic — the application of rules of deduction to arrive at true conclusions based on the facts organized and described by grammar;
  • rhetoric — the skillful communication to others about insights and conclusions we have derived from observations and logic.

The Trivium, far from being "trivial", formed the core of education for the elites of Europe and provided the intellectual foundation for the Renaissance 2000 years later. (The intellectual sequence of the Trivium was traditionally followed by the Quadrivium ( http://towardthequadrivium.com/?page_id=191 ), which included studies in:

  • arithmetic, the study of pure number theory
  • geometry — the application of number theory to space
  • music — the application of number theory to time
  • astronomy — the application of number theory to space-time, which eventually led to the development of modern physics

Currently in the U.S., it is only at a small number of elite college preparatory schools and universities that methods based on the philosophy of the Trivium are used to prepare the 1% to rule the robotically programmed 99%. The remainder of schools inflict techniques perfected by the ancient Hindus to transform individual, unique, and self-actualizing human beings into subservient biological robots who are incapable of critical thought. If we have retained any self-respect after such mental and spiritual abuse, it is our duty to rebel. As John Taylor Gatto proposes, the system is so broken that it cannot be fixed, and he suggests that the quickest way to defeat it is to simply abandon it, creating our own education much as Americans did 100 years ago when we were largely a nation of highly literate, successful, and independent farmers, tradesmen, entrepreneurs, and small businessmen — before the era of dumbed-down, forced public schooling.

In spite of having several degrees from MIT, I did not fully escape from human robothood for many years, and I am even today uncovering remnants of robotic programming in my behavior and assumptions about the world. After graduating from college, I fell victim to several logical fallacies that were to have a severe impact on my health. I had held excessive and undeserved reverence for Authority Figures and for the Printed Word, in spite of having experienced some of the pettiness and human foibles of scientists. I had made conscious choices in my own diet based solely on scientific journal articles, then ignored symptoms of gradually worsening health, because the Experts said that couldn't happen. Woops. Now I understand that even scientists lie when given enough motivation — money, power, prestige. Some of them may even be psychopaths. Others might simply be human robots who have not yet awakened, merely carrying out the orders of other psychopaths. After repeated experiences of getting into trouble for ignoring my own body's signals, I have learned the lesson that it is one of the ultimate authority figures. If I'm being stupid, it will send out alarm signals. If I'm paying attention, the alarms will be subtle, like a nagging cloud of doubt in my mind, a disturbing dream. If I'm being persistently stupid, the alarms may escalate into physical pain. It wasn't until my studies in Chinese herbology that I learned that these patterns of pains, symptoms, and human behaviors held a huge amount of useful information, if they were analyzed logically and correctly. Western medicine and industrialized robot society, on the other hand, have trained us all to ignore our symptoms. The doctors know best, because they have Lab Tests and scientific labels that decree What Is Wrong.

With the invaluable help and insights of C.S. Cheung, M.D., I have examined the traditional literature and history of Chinese herbology with the particular goal of extracting its underlying grammar and logic, in the sense that these terms are used in the ancient Greek Trivium and by modern mathematical linguistics scholars such as Noam Chomsky. What I discovered was that the linguistic structures — not in the ordinary linguistic sense, but in the mathematical linguistic sense of deep grammatical structures— of a few key historical figures and eminent TCM herbalists showed evidence of highly sophisticated understanding of the mathematics of pattern recognition and the optimal design of multivariate subjective measurement systems, though none of these authors ever described their conclusions in such terms. However, by a careful analysis of these authors' thought patterns, clinical practices, and their conclusions, one can detect evidence that they were operating on the basis of such a system even though they may not have been conscious of its workings or capable of explaining it to others.

In our advanced course materials, we explicitly provide our students with explanations of the underlying grammar and logic of TCM herbology. What we have discovered is that before students play the interactive games in our HerbalThink-TCM software, such explanations may seem highly abstract and incomprehensible, but after playing these games at an advanced level, students report that these same explanations make intuitive sense and that they recognize that they have, at least subconsciously, come to the same conclusions as a consequence of their own experiences. In other words, successful performance in the games requires each user to construct an internal mental model of the grammar and logic of TCM herbology that leads to correct answers and decisions, similar to the manner in which an experienced native speaker of a language shows evidence of subconscious understanding of basic rules of grammar, even though he or she might not be able to explain these rules to others. A similar evolution of skill and understanding applies to playing chess at an advanced level. The rules for developing successful strategies of playing chess are not at all immediately evident from the basic rules for how each type of chess piece is allowed to move. Such successful strategies evolve gradually over time as players acquire insights by playing lots of games. Abstract written explanations of such strategies may seem incomprehensible to inexperienced players, but with experience, these same strategies may become self-evident.

That brings us to the third foundation of the Greek Trivium, rhetoric. One who becomes fully self-conscious of the underlying mathematical-grammatical and logical structures of TCM herbology is then faced with the task of explaining these rules to others. It has become clear to me that the ancient and traditional Asian system of education that emphasizes rote memorization has failed badly in transmitting this knowledge to modern students of TCM. This should not be surprising if one recognizes that its ancient Hindu purpose was to intentionally inhibit any ability to think among its lower-caste victims. Over-emphasis on rote memorization is like expecting someone to become expert at playing chess by memorizing verbatim the entire rule book for allowable chess moves and the strategies of great chess masters. By such means, one will never become expert at anything except rote memorization. Instead, one would be better served by playing lots of games and discarding the textbooks after the basic rules are understood, though a good textbook may regain its usefulness after the student acquires experience with enough games.

In the remaining sections I outline specific steps and actions that I recommend to serious applicants for admission to RMHI.

How RMHI identifies promising applicants with the necessary cognitive skills: self-administered aptitude tests

For reasons explained above, prior to RMHI's release of a free trial version of the HerbalThink-TCM software, it was virtually impossible for us to predict which applicants for admission would do well in our courses and eventually graduate. (Unlike many other schools who have succumbed to the general dumbing-down of the population by perpetrating grade inflation and meaningless degrees, we have always refused to graduate students who cannot demonstrate basic competence, and we stand firmly behind those who do graduate from our programs.) Beyond requiring basic literacy, which can be readily assessed by the quality of an applicant's answers to essay questions, the extensiveness of an applicant's higher education was almost irrelevant and had no predictive value, and this included number of years enrolled at a TCM college! With the HerbalThink-TCM software, however, we have been able to accurately spot those students with abilities specific to the requirements of TCM herbology. All applicants for admission are required to submit a progress file from their use of HerbalThink-TCM, which measures key reasoning skills that are absolutely essential in the successful practice of clinical TCM herbology — reasoning skills that we believe have been suppressed by formal education in the U.S. from kindergarten to graduate school.

Without requiring students to ever engage in brute-force memorization, a progressive sequence of interactive games simultaneously allows users to learn the rules and strategies of the game as well as the data and definitions of TCM. The cumulative game scores help to track whether users have adequately learned the following clinical reasoning skills:

  • How to differentiate a clinical syndrome (a defined pattern of symptoms and signs) from another and from syndromes that may share subsets of symptoms;
  • How to estimate the probability of a syndrome in a specific case from the symptom-sign clues actually present;
  • How to estimate the relative magnitude or severity of a syndrome if only a subset of symptoms in the definition are present;
  • How to know whether one has adequate information to make a conclusion and, if not, how to ask specific questions that will reveal the necessary information.
  • How to match herbs and formulas to the total requirements in a specific case, including cases with multiple simultaneous syndromes.

Over the course of completing the games, users will discover that they remember the definitions and data of syndromes, herbs, and formulas, without ever having overtly memorized anything, in much the same way that young children naturally learn to speak their native language without drilling vocabulary and rules of grammar. Why should this result be surprising at all? Drilling vocabulary and listening to lectures on grammar are terrible ways to learn a language, and you can bet that many of the world's espionage agencies do not train their field operatives to flawlessly speak a new language without telltale accent by sending them to conventional university language courses. No. Instead, they create their own intensive, accelerated learning environments that immerse agents in the language 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, requiring them to accurately communicate their everyday needs and problems, supplemented with real activities like singing, dancing, sports, religious rituals, and other culturally specific activities that they will be expected to perform like a native. Words, events, and ideas that have emotional or dramatic significance, that we have struggled to relate to things and ideas that we already know, and that have importance to us we naturally remember with ease. Words, events, and ideas that are presented in a boring context and of little emotional significance or importance to us we quickly forget. Why should the subject of TCM be immune from these rules for human learning and memory?

RMHI has over 12 years of data collected from students' use of the software, and following are some observations derived from this data:

  • We estimate that about 10% or less of the population has the combination of ability, persistence, and motivation to learn the reasoning skills required to perform clinical TCM herbology at a level essential to handling the complex health problems typical of people in industrialized nations. This estimate of 10% is based on the observation that about 10% of the people expressing serious interest in our herbal program actually follow through to the point of successfully passing our admissions exam. As Dr. Cheung has frequently reminded me, TCM master herbalists throughout history have commented on the difficulty of becoming skilled at TCM herbology and have noted that accuracy in assessing a client's patterns of disharmony is the root skill upon which clinical success or failure depends. The problem is that until recently, we had no way to adequately measure aptitude for these skills among potential applicants. Now we do, and the good news is that potential applicants can pre-screen themselves by taking a self-administered aptitude test.
  • We know that the HerbalThink-TCM software thoroughly prepares graduates to begin clinical internship and practice, because the vast majority of graduates from our Level-1 curriculum who choose to go on to clinical internship demonstrate almost immediate ability to perform accurate syndrome assessment of clients with very little correction required by instructors. Many of these clients present with complex health problems characterized by multiple syndromes simultaneously, often with multiple dietary problems and food allergies, chemical and environmental toxicities and sensitivities, and mental-emotional imbalances. Such cases overwhelm the typical graduate of a 4-year TCM college, which is confirmed by many of our students who have discussed and shared their experiences with such graduates. With 12 years of data to back this conclusion, it is frustrating for me to hear other teachers and students obsessively attempt to justify rote memorization, when not only our data, but results of much educational psychology research repeatedly confirm that rote memorization is one of the least effective means of education. Moreover, I concur with John Taylor Gatto that it damages students' abilities in critical thinking and transforms them into human robots.
  • Since release of the free trial version of HerbalThink-TCM, potential students can now pre-screen themselves to determine whether they have the abilities and the persistence required to successfully complete our courses. Consequently, our eventual graduation rate for admitted students is now approaching 70% and increasing, as we still have students who are in the process of completing Level 1 who had been admitted after the free software release. The introductory material of Level 1, which anyone can sample in the free trial version of HerbalThink-TCM, presents the most challenging aspects of Chinese herbology right up front so that you can determine for yourself whether you have the ability to master this material. Correctly choosing herbs and formulas for individual cases absolutely depends on a thorough understanding of these principles.
  • Based on voluntary submission by students of Myers-Briggs personality evaluations (we do not require nor do we ask for this information in the admissions application), the vast majority of our successful graduates fall into one of the four Introvert-Intuitive types. (INTP, INTJ, INFP, INFJ — See free online self-test here: http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/JTypes2.asp.) We have speculated several possible reasons for this: (1) Introverted people, in contrast to extroverts, tend to look within themselves for answers to problems, which in any distance-learning course is a distinct advantage; extroverts may require more in-person interaction with other students. Additionally, challenging the destructive and deadly medical-industrial complex requires a certain degree of courage and inner-directedness, and extroverts, who rely more on social networks for self-identity and decision-making may find it more disruptive to challenge the status quo. (2) TCM herbology requires a great deal of abstract reasoning and symbolic thinking, which is the preferred mode for Intuitives, in contrast to Sensing-dominant individuals who prefer relying on concrete facts and immediate sensation to guide their actions. Intuitive types are especially good at detecting patterns in data over time and at formulating and evaluating hypotheses to explain these observed patterns. For example, many scientists are of the INTJ type — Introvert-Intuitive-Thinking-Judging.

It has been said that insanity is repeating the same mistake time after time and expecting different results. If TCM graduates have memorized a ton of information yet without understanding it and without an ability to use it clinically, the conventional answer is to add on yet more years of the same type of courses to a failed curriculum. This, of course, is highly profitable to the school biz.

Our answer is to stop doing something that is clearly not working, that educational psychologists have determined is ineffective, and that ancient elites of India and Babylon discovered could be used to create an entire population of human robots. Just stop it.

Instead, at RMHI we have developed a system of accelerated learning based on the way that real people, uncontaminated by self-destructive programming, naturally learn and that recent research in educational psychology has been proven to work. Due to the limitations of a distance-learning format, we have also learned from experience that we must be highly selective of those students who demonstrate the required self-discipline, persistence, and skills to successfully learn TCM herbology.

RMHI's aptitude test for aspiring TCM herbalists

Chinese herbology, to be practiced well, requires a certain minimum level of cognitive abilities of the sort that are typically involved in solving puzzles, recognizing patterns within partially random data sets, and making logical connections and inferences from disparate classes of information. Since 2011, RMHI now provides a means for aspiring students worldwide to self-test their aptitude for Chinese herbology:

Admission to RMHI's accelerated learning program in clinical TCM herbology is highly selective. We admit only those who demonstrate that they have the intellectual potential and self-discipline to successfully master the course material. If you are interested, you are welcome to try out our course materials for free:


To make it easy for you to discover whether you have an aptitude for Chinese herbology, the RMHI HerbalThink-TCM software is available for download here.

Improving your cognitive abilities — recommendations for applicants for admission to RMHI

Successful applicants to our programs will have already become aware of a majority of the topics listed below. To help you convince your future clients, we provide regular updates to articles and scientific documentation in prepared reading lists emailed to students each week. The lists below are not exhaustive, but focus on those factors that we believe are among the most serious in affecting people's cognitive abilities.

Dietary factors (and "ingestibles") generally applicable to everyone, regardless of body type and constitution:

  • Eat a healthy diet for your body type and nutritional requirements, eliminate all junk food, with special attention to consuming adequate omega-3 oils, avoid all types of unfermented soy products, screen for food allergens/sensitivities. (Do a Google search:  diet IQ cognitive function )
  • Avoid all synthetic sweeteners (e.g., Aspartame) — causes neurological disorders, brain tumors.
  • Avoid high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), found commonly in many processed foods and especially in junk foods.
  • Minimize exposure to heavy metals (mercury, lead, arsenic, cadmium, etc.) in diet and environment; they are especially damaging to the central nervous system. (Sources: many types of vaccinations, dental amalgams, fluorescent light bulbs if ever broken, and many consumer products.)
  • Avoid drinking fluoridated water. Fluoride added to water serves no valid health purposes; it is not beneficial to teeth, actually increases rates of dental fluorosis, increases cancer rates even at very low concentrations, decreases IQ, suppresses thyroid function, and multiplies the toxicity of any heavy metals that happen to be present in the body. It is based on a scientific fraud.
  • Avoid or minimize both recreational drugs and prescription pharmaceuticals. (I am obligated to advise you to check with your doctor first, but be aware that he or she may or may not tell you the full truth.) A good percentage of them damage the brain and nervous system in various ways, and some of them have permanent or long-term effects that may be difficult to reverse.
  • Get your nutrition through real foods as much as possible. Multivitamins often contain residual amounts of toxic chemical solvents, heavy metals, and inorganic mineral salts that are toxic and not readily assimilated.

Environmental factors:

  • Minimize or avoid exposure to microwave radiation from cell phones, cordless phones, and computer WiFi signals. The radiation from these sources is now known to produce neurological damage. Harmful effects can be measured via brain imaging techniques within minutes after use; it is my opinion that usage of cell phones and cordless phones is the #1 environmental cause of cognitive decline since the year 2000 when they began to be popular consumer items. They are literally making their users stupid. Moreover, while it has been the subject of much controversy, scientific evidence that they cause brain tumors and cancer is accumulating. ( www.bioinitiative.org ) I have always refused to use any type of cell phone or cordless phone and would consider using them only for emergency calls of short duration. I limit my use of our local public library's WiFi to less than several hours per week, and I keep my computer with its WiFI antenna as far from my head and body as possible, which helps to minimize the exposure intensity.
  • Minimize TV watching time. Better yet, throw it out. TV and public schools form a duo of mutually reinforcing stupefaction of their victims. Avoiding TV is also essential for people recovering from addictions; in all my years of clinical practice, I have noticed that the single factor that is most predictive of an individual's likelihood of successfully kicking almost any type of addiction is the number of TV hours watched per week — the fewer hours, the better their chances of breaking the habit. TV, in my opinion, is the master programmer for addictive behaviors in contemporary society. Corporations know that, which is why they spend so much money subsidizing it.
  • Avoid fluorescent lights of all types. The quality of light from such bulbs is poor, it decreases alertness and learning ability, the flicker can induce seizures in susceptible individuals, alters brainwave patterns, subjects people to hazardous UV radiation and EMFs, and emits toxic volatile organic compounds throughout their lifetime. Stock up on incandescent bulbs. [ref.] Misguided eco-bureaucrats have insanely designated compact fluorescent bulbs as eco-friendly, when they are no such thing. Moreover, if you ever accidentally break one, which may happen occasionally, you must evacuate the room immediately, as enough toxic mercury vapors will be released to create a serious hazard. Mercury is one of the most toxic substances known, and can poison many body systems and result in long-term central nervous system damage. I have never allowed any fluorescent light fixtures in my home for these reasons. To have labelled these insidious products as eco-friendly is the height of stupidity. Personally, I notice feeling lethargic and dull-witted whenever I attempt to read anything inside a library or public building lit with fluorescent lights. Is it merely coincidence that almost all public schools are lit with fluorescent lights? Sure, it may lower the electrical bills, but it also dovetails nicely with the goal of robotically programming the population. Yet one more reason to homeschool your children.
  • Minimize noise, light sources of all types, and EMFs from household electrical devices during sleeping hours. Getting good quality sleep is essential to maintaining good cognitive function. For the vast majority of people, your bedroom should be ideally slightly on the cool side, completely dark, free from electronic gadgets, and distant from wires carrying high currents to refrigerators and electric heating elements.
  • Listen to good music. Music like that of Bach, Mozart, and Haydn has been demonstrated to improve cognitive function. Most forms of rock music and many other types of modern popular music interfere with concentration and mental ability. Several years ago, I completed an entire textbook on this subject, which is now included in the HerbalThink-TCM software package.
  • Vaccinations — the vaccine industry is based on a massive scientific fraud. There is plenty of evidence on this subject, more coming out all the time. Reviews of this evidence are regularly included in our recommended reading lists for our students.

Social and misc. educational factors:

  • Get out in nature frequently. Walking in the woods, getting exercise, clean air, and solitude among nature is one of the best ways to recharge our bodies and minds after being bombarded with stress and sensory overstimulation. Studies have shown that the perceptual focus of people who live in cities is narrowed compared with rural dwellers, since life in cities requires us to selectively ignore constant distractions of noise and activity competing for our attention. Consequently, city dwellers must make conscious effort to become more perceptive when situations require it. If you become a TCM herbalist, how can you expect to perceive and correctly evaluate your clients' problems if you remain oblivious to problems surrounding you in your own life?
  • Limit time spent on the Internet and on social media like Facebook, video games, and use of computers. That might seem a tad hypocritical for us at RMHI to say, because we are advocating computer interactive learning; we recognize that computers are valuable tools, but to design your entire social life around them at the expense of real contact with humans and with nature is a mistake. Many of today's young children have replaced playtime out in nature — with real people, animals, swing sets, tree houses, etc. — with many hours each day in front of a computer screen and are depriving themselves of sensory stimulation that is crucial for normal intellectual development. For example, I know physics professors who report that it has become increasingly difficult to explain many phenomenon in mechanics such as momentum, periodic motion of pendulums, centrifugal and centripetal forces, etc., because students lack the necessary physical experiences such as playing on a swing set or a merry-go-round.
  • Get involved in musical activities. Good music (Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, etc.) helps develop our minds' potential for recognizing patterns, as it mimics the same types of fractal patterns found in nature. In contrast, droning, repetitive, and disharmonious music and sounds disrupt our brainwaves, destroy inter-hemispheric synchronization, and inhibit our cognitive abilities. Learning to play a musical instrument during childhood has been shown to consistently improve performance in other types of cognitive tasks, including those important in math and scientific reasoning.

If I've omitted anything from this list that you, the reader, feel that I should have included, please send me an email.

Acknowledgments

Kudos to the following authors and alternative health commentators for having the foresight to frequently discuss many of the issues I raise in this article. I encourage you to visit their sites: