Chasing the Wrong Thing

By Joanny Lui May 2017

I recently read Bill Gate’s article called, “Preparing for the Next Epidemic.” I got ANGRY and then I got fired up. I couldn’t help seeing in my mind’s eye, the robot in that old scifi TV show, “Lost in Space” crying out, “Danger!”

I started out reading the article with an open mind. I know he’s trying to do good in the world. I know he’s taking action. But Bill Gates is wrong.  We don’t have to prepare for the next epidemic. Quite the contrary. Bill Gates wants to spend a lot of money on disease surveillance and databases so that this information can be shared all around the world. My question is: to what end?

We’d be chasing the wrong thing.

The idea of big data is not a new one. People have been trying to gather a lot of data to build better health profiles and better predictive models around individual patients so that they can better diagnose and treat disease. Advocates say that the difficulty in medicine and the pharmaceutical industry is the (lack of) understanding in the biology of disease.


In my studies in Traditonal Chinese Medicine, we had to study physiology, anatomy, microbilogy, biochemistry and also conventional diagnostics. I already had a background in these topics long ago when I was a pre-med and pre-engineering student back in the mid 1970s.  Not much had actually changed since those days. But the course that caught my eye was the biomedical diagnostics course.

While diagnostics in Chinese Medicine provides distinct patterms of disease – in other words, each pattern is so different from another, that there is NO overlap and therefore NO confusion – this is not true with western diagnostics. While studying the subject I could not help but observe the number of symptoms and signs that overlapped different diseases. How could they possibly come up with an accurate diagnosis?

Medical mistakes are possible right at the beginning of the doctor-patient relationship. If the mistake in the diagnosis is not discovered before the prescription of a drug or a surgery, the mistakes get compounded. Long before I studied Chinese Medicine, I heard horror stories from friends who were misdiagnosed and the drugs prescribed to them did irreverisble damage to their internal organs. One person even became sterile due to the damage done!

Think about that.

Prof. Martin Makary and research fellow Michael Daniel, of Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins University, say, “People tend to think about an individual doctor’s mistake, but we’re really talking much more broadly about system failures, about wrong diagnosis, about medication errors and communication breakdowns.”  Medical errors by doctors even have their own name.

Iatrogenesis is the “inadvertent and preventable induction of disease or complications by the medical treatment or procedures of a physician or surgeon.” Some reports say they are the leading cause of death, ahead of heart disease and cancer! Others put it at third, behind heart disease and cancer. It probably depends on the year.

“Most of the mistakes in thinking are inadequacies of perception rather than 

mistakes of logic.” ~ Edward de Bono

So they feel that having more data will enable them to diagnose more accurately and also create better targeted drugs. The modern medical paradigm (I would not flatter them to call it healthcare) has tried to simplify very complex systems. That’s their first mistake. They think of human beings as just peices of meat, that you’re a machine that can be fixed. That’s why they mostly stick to a one-size-fits-all drug regimen or surgery.


They now think about individualized help, but this is a novel idea for them. By indiivualized they still think  in terms of the differentt drugs they can use. If they followed the way Chinese Medicine does things, they would soon find out that SPENDING quaility time with a patient and ASKING good quality probing questions, is most important in understanding what’s going on in an individual’s life.

Subjective data is very important in the diagnostic process. Now THAT is a NOVEL idea for them!

Let’s look at the Ebola crisis of 2014-15. It was all over the news. On the surface, the press made it sound like everyone in Africa who got it, died.

It hit three countries hard: Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. A total of 28,616 Ebola cases were reported, with 11,310 deaths. So less than 50% died.

There were survivors and they far outnumberd the ones who died. It never occurred to them to wonder why these people survived or even why most of the population didn’t get infected.

There must first be awareness and curiosity. Then work to ask better questions. Here’s a sample of good questions. The whole point is to encourage thinking.

Why do some people become susceptible to infection, while others are not?

What makes those people who are not infected, stronger than those who become infected?

What makes those people who survive and thrive, stronger than those who ultimately capitulated?

What is the right internal environment for Ebola to thrive in?

How did the body get that way?

What would you have to do in order to make it inhospitable for Ebola without harming the rest of your body?

Answer these qusetions and then compare notes.

An accurate diagnosis is based on the questions that a doctor asks you. Unfortunately my guess is that a plumber is better at diagnosiaing a problem than your modern day medical doctor. At least a plumber will give you the time to search for the problem before devising a proper plan of action!

“The answers you get depend upon the questions you ask.”
~ Thomas Kuhn – The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

We need to deeply analyze a problem. By doing that, then we can do a better job of knowing where to look. They have to stop studying the problem. By studying the problem, Bill Gates is making it bigger. By being afraid of the problem, he’s making it worse.

In business, is this how people approach a problem? Sure, there’s proof of that too, but I daresay that most business people would say they are working on solutions.


I know Bill Gates’ focus is vaccines. But that’s not prevention. As long as the spirit behind vaccines is fear, it’s wrong headed. There’s a lot more that can be done: raising people out of their mental state of negativity, fear and poverty would be one. This can be done with education and by example. This is a solution that is needed anywhere and everywhere, wherever there are poor sick people. Raising up the mental state and awareness of what really makes our world – habitual thought patterns – would go a long way.

Direct Your Mind

Mankind was endowed a large brain. We were given great mental faculties. Therefore we have imagination. We have creative powers. Everything that was ever created began with an idea. That idea was good or bad. Beneficial or not. But they all came out of someone’s mind. That includes yours.

In Classical Chinese Medicine and in many of the books I’ve studied, since I started my practice, such A Course in Miracles, Napoleon Hill’s Law of Success (complete and unabridged edition), Think and Grow Rich (original and complete edition), Grow Rich with Peace of Mind (his last and final book), and HunYuan XinFa (The Lost Heart of Medicine) by Yaron Seidman and Teja A. Jaensch, among others, it became quite clear to me where the origin of all disease is.

Ancient Chinese Medical doctors long ago gathered the data about the human experience. They observed and recorded the charateristics of a healthy person and they observed what made them unhealthy. They were not only interested in the physcial aspects of a person. They were equally or more interested in the psychological health of a person, how they lived their lives, how they treated others, and themselves too.

Chinese philosophy influenced their medicine. My studies after I left school are responsible for the type of doctor I’ve become. The word holistic is too often used and too often misinterpreted even by the people who use it. It distinguishes them from medical doctors. But if these practitioners do not spend at least an equal amount of time trying to help someone through their pyschological angst, then even their remedies won’t have lasting effects.

Because in order to heal, there must be self-discovery.

Whether it is disease or health, it is squarely in your own mind. Not from some tiny little one cell organism. Not from some accident.

I do not mean to say, “It’s all in your head,” which today means it’s not real. What you imagine in your own mind, you make real. But you didn’t imagine being hit by a disease or being hit by a truck. No. An infection happens because you felt unsafe. Your confidence levels went way down. You felt confused and unhappy. You had no idea what this would do to you. You think nothing of it and then, something happens to you and you think it’s accidental.

Why should mankind be so afraid of single cell organisms when we are far superior beings? We have minds and we have superior mental faculties that germs don’t have. They are simply living out their existence doing what they do.

What you think about the most is the determinant of your fate. You are responsible for your own destiny. Health. Disease. Good times. Bad times. Success.

Guess what? You have control over what you think and what you feel. People have surmounted the worse nightmarish lives. They’ve defied their doctors’ prognosis and found another way to thrive, not just survive. Cripples have walked and ran again. Because they didn’t listen to their medical doctors’ diagnoses.

Why? Why? Why?

When you fret, when you hold unto grudges, when you want reventge, you use up a LOT of energy. You will make yourself sick. And it can happen very fast.

If you feel safe and confident, then you will be safe and confident. All dis-ease begins in the mind. The body does as it is told. It is the physical manifestation of what is really in your mind. I’ve said for a long time that the body does not lie.

People say they’re happy, yet they have heart problems. They have not bothered to look deeply into their hearts and face the unhappiness there and then DO something – take positive constructive action to change the way they feel.

This is empowerment. Universal truth. It would be better to teach people how to cope with the inevitable challenges in their lives, so that they can become resilient in body and mind. The soul (and God) waits for us to wake up.

If you really want to solve problems either in your life or at work, “Think Different.” And you begin by asking the RIGHT questions and going DEEP.

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