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TEDMED 2014: ‘The time for thinkers has come’

Written By | Sep 7, 2014

PETALUMA, CA, Sept. 8, 2014 – Well over a century before anyone had ever heard of TEDMED, an annual confab of movers and shakers deeply interested in making the world a better, healthier place to live, religious reformer and health care maverick Mary Baker Eddy proclaimed, “The time for thinkers has come.” Thankfully that time is still here and continues to generate ever more exciting advancements in human understanding, particularly within the field of health.

No doubt they’ll be doing plenty of thinking at this year’s conference, held concurrently in San Francisco and Washington, D.C. The program includes sessions ranging from “Turn it Upside Down,” where speakers will address insights that flip-flop beliefs and question standard operating procedures in health and medicine, to “Don’t You Dare Talk About This,” which will tackle issues that people are reluctant to discuss publicly or even acknowledge as problems.

But something else that will likely come up is what Eddy once referred to as “the cold conventionality of materialism,” a now outdated, even burdensome mode of thinking that she saw as “crumbling away.”

It’s interesting that she would have made this observation when she did, a time when, according to renowned mind-body physician Dr. Larry Dossey, the prevailing view was that health and illness were entirely physical in nature. In fact, says Dossey, it wasn’t until after World War II that “Physicians began to realize, based on scientific evidence, that disease has a ‘psychosomatic’ aspect: that emotions and feelings can influence the body’s functions.”

Eddy’s own research took this idea even further, convincing her that it wasn’t so much the human consciousness or brain but a singular divine Mind that ultimately governs every aspect of our health – mental, emotional, physical and otherwise.

Sounds like she would have fit right in with all those free-thinking, free-wheeling TEDMED folks, whether or not they agree with her conclusions.

The most exciting thing about this conference is that you have so many people (upward of 100,000 in 100 countries, if you count those watching via live streaming) who are willing to think out-of-the-box about a subject that impacts every one of us – not just doctors and scientists but techno-geeks, artists, musicians and business leaders as well, all of whom recognize that the ideas that have the greatest impact on health and medicine aren’t confined to any one field of endeavor or period of history.

Which brings us back to the contributions of Mary Baker Eddy, an experimenter in homeopathy and a church pastor who was bold enough and far-seeing enough to dig deeper into what she was learning and put to the test the idea that a better understanding of the all-encompassing divine Principle she called God is sufficient to restore and maintain our health.

Even if this is something not many are willing to admit, it is at least worth thinking about.

Eric Nelson’s columns on the link between consciousness and health appear regularly in a number of local and national online publications. He also serves as the media and legislative spokesperson for Christian Science in Northern California. Follow him on Twitter @norcalcs.


Eric Nelson

Eric Nelson’s column “Consciousness and Health” has appeared on a number of national media websites including The Washington Times, The Washington Post, KevinMD, The Houston Chronicle and American Public Media's "On Being” blog. Eric also serves as the Christian Science Committee on Publication for Northern California, enjoys road biking, and is more than happy to chat with anyone, anytime, about baseball.