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— updated 2018-06-23


Herbalist Review, Issue 2018 #1:
Our first year of Herbalists' BootCamp — observations and experiences

by Roger W. Wicke, Ph.D.

Subtopics on this page…

Copyright ©2018 by RMH-Publications Trust; all rights reserved.


Are you ready to take the red pill?

What are the most serious factors affecting human health planet-wide?
Think big. Think bigger.
Why did the ancients believe that most serious illnesses originate as sickness within the soul?
Are you prepared to go down the rabbit hole?
I try to warn people.
Our website homepage clearly states that we offer education in
  "Chinese herbology and environmental health".
Some skip over that "environmental health" part.
It spans a multitude of sins, some extremely dark.
We have numerous articles on our website about various aspects of "environmental health".
Yet every once in a while someone slips through who does not take my meaning seriously.
I hope to correct that now.

An increasing number of prominent scientists are warning that if we do not immediately reverse our fatal addiction to toxic technology, the human species may become extinct within several generations. Thousands of species worldwide are becoming extinct with each passing year. We seem to be in the midst of a mass extinction event, at least partially brought on by human stupidity, cruelty, and outright psychopathic behavior at the highest levels.

Are you ready to take the red pill?

If you are not yet sure, the remainder of this article explains the type of student we are seeking; it also summarizes some of the changes in Herbalists' BootCamp and some practical tips for participants. This article, however, does not contain anything too distressing. It is an easy read.

If your answer is yes, then proceed to the 2nd article below:

In the preceding article I explain the positive aspects of ikigai, but, unlike many presentations on this topic, I also explore the negative consequences that can occur when one of the 4 principle elements is entirely absent. One should strive for balance of Yin and Yang — this is an ongoing process, never static, always changing, always presenting us with new challenges. Now, many of these challenges have become terrifying, because we have procrastinated far too long. The hour is late. It is time to be blunt. No more euphemisms.


Announcement of changes in Herbalists' BootCamp

For its first year, it was available at no charge to encourage participants to help us work out the kinks. The BootCamp tutorial series has now been throughly tested and debugged.

We call it BootCamp, because we are seeking students who are mature, self-disciplined, self-directed, have the ability to carefully follow instructions, and desire to restore balance to a world urgently in need of a moral compass, compassion, and a respect for tradition.

Within an estimated 24-48 hours of your time, we show you how to use all important features in the HerbalThink-TCM software package, including the CaseQuery module. This latter software utility will enable you to create extremely detailed, accurate health histories that are compiled in a standardized format that can be processed and evaluated by AutoSage-TCM, a revolutionary artificial-intelligence system for performing TCM-pattern analyses of even complicated clinical cases.

If you try out Herbalists' BootCamp and decide it requires too much effort, you are still welcome to purchase an HerbalThink-TCM software license. BootCamp will give you an opportunity to sample all major features of HerbalThink-TCM at a low cost. Many people have used our software to help them pass exams at TCM college and to prepare for professional licensing exams. (I, myself, have practiced as an unlicensed herbalist for 25 years; licenses are not generally required and the vast majority of American herbalists are unlicensed.)

BootCamp is intended to appeal to a wide range of people, from individuals seeking help with personal health issues to health professionals. We have designed our curriculum to provide practical insights quickly, even to beginner students.


Why we offer BootCamp — helping individuals to help themselves

Herbalists' BootCamp is intended to help ordinary people figure out how to use our text references, interactive-learning modules, databases, and automated pattern-assessment software tools and, within a short period of time, begin using these tools to solve real problems. Over the decades that we have taught Chinese herbology, we have gradually shifted our focus from exclusively professional-level education toward providing educational services directly to individuals seeking to help themselves, family, and friends. There are several important reasons for this shift:

  • A huge percentage of modern health problems are caused or aggravated by toxic foods and consumer products, for which the solutions are often very simple: education, informed avoidance, and rejection of toxic products and technologies. I would estimate that about 70% of all health complaints could be significantly alleviated by doing this alone, because corporations have become so corrupt and greedy that government regulation no longer serves to protect the public. It does not require an expert to provide this information. Much is available free on the Internet, and it helps to have Internet buddies to help point you to the good stuff. RMHInet is one way to join a ready-made network of people who have the same interests and dedication to acquiring new skills.
  • The 30% or so remainder of health complaints have become increasingly complex, requiring time and effort to evaluate and to experiment with potential solutions. Unfortunately, for the typical healthcare practitioner to devote the necessary time and effort toward solving these complex health conditions would lead to huge expenses to their patients. It makes much more sense for individuals with complex health problems to take charge of their own healthcare, to do reading and research, and to ask for advice from experts only for assistance in answering highly technical questions, lab tests, etc. RMHInet provides a friendly online forum to assist individuals in doing their own information research.
  • The AutoSage-TCM expert system is designed to help people with complex health conditions quickly obtain a bird's-eye view of their overall health status so that potential remedies/therapies can be targeted quickly and with greater precision. This also helps to avoid clearly contraindicated remedies at the outset, avoiding wasted time and expense.

RMHI professional courses — more selective than most Ivy League colleges, by necessity

If you successfully complete BootCamp and eventually decide that you would like to study Chinese herbal medicine in depth, we also offer a range of professional-level courses.

As Director of RMHI, I have not chosen to be selective because I wish RMHI to become elitist or snobbish. On the contrary, I am probably one of most down-to-earth, practical people you will ever meet. Instead, as I will explain in the remainder of this article, RMHI has evolved a highly selective admissions policy because of necessity.

Based on student exam scores and clinical performance, the curriculum and interactive-learning software that we've developed over the previous 17 years have consistently proven their effectiveness. Assessment of complex cases characterized by multiple simultaneous syndromes (which are becoming increasingly common due to widespread environmental toxicity, contamination of the food supply, and other aspects of modern life) is a notoriously difficult skill to master, and few TCM practitioners ever acquire it. In contrast, most students who complete our first year (Level 1) using the interactive software are able to analyze complex cases with ease, as if they had been doing it for decades.

If you can successfully complete Herbalists' BootCamp and meet the test scores for admission to our professional-level curriculum, we have 17 years of student statistics to prove that you very likely have the ability to thrive in our courses and to graduate. The reason we no longer require any documentation of formal education is that we have found these credentials to be relatively useless as predictors of success in our courses.

To successfully complete our curriculum requires a level of maturity and persistence that ever fewer students seem willing and/or capable of achieving. (It does not necessarily require great intelligence, though that is always a bonus. I've made great effort over a 30-year period to make our course materials and texts available in clearly worded, plain English, and many readers have complimented me on the clarity of our course materials.) Unlike many schools who will accept students' tuition payments regardless of their ability, I have absolutely no desire to attract applicants who are not really serious, do not possess the determination to succeed, or are not willing to work to achieve mastery. One does not need to be a genius; rather, dedication and persistence are more important. Consistently, some of our very best students have been:

  • Young home-schooled individuals who have never attended college, and some who have even dropped out of high school — due to boredom! I can assure our students that they will never be bored and that they will be continually challenged with new ideas.
  • Individuals suffering from complex health problems requiring time, patience, and understanding, which have become rare commodities that many licensed healthcare professionals are unwilling or unable to provide. Such individuals have arrived at a realization that they must become their own health practitioners, researchers, and advisors; they have a strong motivation to succeed.

Herbalists BootCamp comprises a series of eight online tutorials. Each is clearly worded in plain English with a minimum of technical jargon. Unlike in many admissions exams, my policy for grading/feedback to Herbalists' BootCamp participants is to stress the importance of correcting your own mistakes. The single most important criterion I apply is whether you are interpreting data correctly so as to avoid serious errors potentially leading to harmful health decisions and herb choices. If you make such errors, I may give you hints and suggestions for going back and studying that question more carefully. If you show me that you are serious about following instructions carefully, I will try to give you every opportunity to get it right. In fact, the vast majority of applicants for admission to RMHI are not disqualified by me, but, rather, simply choose not to complete the tutorial sequence when they realize that I expect them to do things correctly. Just like gardening. If you do not prepare the soil, plant seeds, water, weed, and tend your plants correctly, they may die or fail to produce. If you do not succeed, you can give up (and, 100 years ago, go hungry), or you can try to analyze what you did wrong and to persist until you do succeed. It's your choice. You are the ultimate master of your life.

Healthcare professionals of all types have always been welcome in our courses. However, if you expect to use our courses for a quickie certification with only minimal work, as has become the habit with many continuing education courses, stop right here. RMHI is not the right place for you.

If you have the character and self-discipline we are seeking, we offer you a way to thoroughly master the art and science of Chinese herbology at a fraction of the cost of tuition at mainstream accredited TCM colleges. Our curriculum has been judged by many TCM scholars and practitioners to be among the best available anywhere:


The importance of tradition

Almost 30 years ago, I chose to relocate to a remote mountain valley on an Indian Reservation in western Montana because I perceived American society to be headed toward a disastrous crisis brought on by a fatal addiction to high technology. Our civilization has become dominated by highly intelligent, psychopathic elitists who have used technology as a weapon to destroy human health, family life, sanity, culture, and tradition and to substitute in their place a godless, technotronic, transhumanist dystopia.

My own personal response to that agenda has been to passively resist it in every way I can conceive. I live very simply, with as few gadgets as possible. I've chosen to minimize all chemical and electromagnetic sources of pollution in my home. I do not allow guests or students to bring their cell phones into my home. (Our small rural community was one of the very last places in the US without cell-phone service until a few years ago, and the day that it finally arrived was a sad occasion for many of my friends and neighbors.)

My only major concession to the technotronic agenda is my selective and cautious use of computer technology. Those of you who have been following RMHI over the past 30 years may be confused by the fact that our curriculum is heavily based on interactive software and artificial intelligence. During the 1970's and 80's I was heavily involved with the high-tech sector. I acquired a PhD in Biomedical Engineering — MIT, 1980. So I understand the power of technology and computers, for both good and evil. The current reality is that the most potent weapon employed in modern warfare is information. I am a strong supporter of the 2nd-Amendment right of self-defense. For that very same reason, I would never choose to voluntarily disarm myself of the most potent weapons of all — machines for processing, storing, and transmitting information.

40 years ago, I was drawn to the study of traditional Chinese herbal medicine for reasons of personal health. As I learned more about it, I eventually re-acquired a greater respect for my own cultural traditions, not for the sake of blind, unquestioning adherence to tradition, but because culture and tradition represent the stored wisdom of many previous generations of our ancestors. These are more precious than gold or diamonds. There is no more dangerous fool than the clever man or woman who is so arrogant to believe that their intellectual brilliance entitles them to discard the wisdom of tradition, frequently leading to tragedy not only for themselves but for all under their influence. Many of our modern colleges and universities seem to have degenerated into madhouses; public exposure of rampant fraud, corruption, and scandals within the scientific and academic worlds and the destructive tyrannies of "political correctness" are sobering reminders to all of us that we should exercise great caution in discarding tradition and culture. These are our protection against the psychopaths among us.


Overcoming the "Crisis in TCM"

Motivations for studying TCM vary widely. When I studied it during the mid-1980's, Chinese medicine/acupuncture was not yet even a licensed profession in many states. The vast majority of my fellow students chose to study it after having first experienced its benefits in overcoming personal health crises. Some had given up lucrative careers in law, science, nursing, engineering, and business to study full-time. However, as it gained some respectability along with licensure status in many American states, it also gained attention among young people who had failed at other professions and career tracks. As in China, the current reality is that TCM colleges have tended to attract those who failed to gain admission to the more competitive science, engineering, or medical schools. TCM colleges worldwide have had to struggle under a cloud of second-class status, and, consequently, are under economic pressure to cater to students who may lack ability, motivation, or persistence. As with many of the high-status professions like law and medicine, it has attracted an increasing percentage of "hustler" types who, unrealistically, see it as an easy path toward making a lucrative income.

In a pivotal review of the 20th-century history of Chinese medicine [see ref.], practitioner and scholar Heiner Fruehauf explains how as Chinese medicine has become popularized worldwide, the essence of this tradition has been desecrated by a combined assault from Chinese Communist ideologues, allopathic medical infiltration, quick-buck marketers and practitioners, and naive westerners who have infused it with their own misunderstandings, fantasies, and delusions.

I believe that the "Crisis in TCM" is merely a symptom of a crisis in the global economic model that has created terrible mismatches between what the world needs and what a tiny group of oligarchical psychopaths have decided will bring them the greatest wealth in the shortest period of time. In turn, they have inflicted their perverse mindset on all sectors of society: corporations, the medical-industrial complex, media, academia, government, law, and the judicial system.

The following article on our website explores how the traditional Japanese concept of ikigai may offer insights into how to overcome the perverse economic disincentives that have led many of us to stray from our true life purpose:

Our goal is to attract qualified students who are committed to the principle of ikigai.

For many years, in the absence of students who were committed to learning and applying Chinese medicine correctly, I chose to spend most of my time developing artificial intelligence software to perform those tasks that ever fewer humans had the self-discipline to learn. Consequently, just as in my own student days, our best students are frequently those who are struggling with complicated personal health issues and who have arrived at a realization that very few licensed health practitioners are willing and able to help them. By necessity, they have become their own health practitioners. It is these people we are most devoted to helping. Many licensed health practitioners examine our curriculum and move on because it is too demanding of their time. They may be impatient, want quick answers, easy solutions that are compatible with the economic imperative of hustling patients though their office assembly line. Our current world economic system is badly out of alignment with the principle of ikigai, and solutions will not be found within such an out-of-balance system. To relieve suffering from illness and disease, we should contemplate how a major root cause might be the perverse economic incentives built into the very fabric of our lives.

Are you ready to take the red pill?

No Yes