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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Writing as Placebo

In medicine, with new trials of medication in particular, there is an evil word that hides in the background, although sometimes it looms large on the horizon, while frightened researchers try to scurry backwards, their heels gouging at the earth to gain a grip. The evil is the placebo effect--the non-pharmacologically potent pill that half of the subjects (patients) take. The researchers pray that their medicines will be more powerful, more potent, more effective than the placebo pills, so they can show that the medicine makes a difference and should be channeled into the pharmacy pipelines where it will hit it big--and make a ton of money.

In other parts of the world, the placebo is not viewed as a nuisance, but as a sign of something positive. The placebo represents belief in action. It reflects expectancy, a sense that something--something good--is going to happen. That's why, when we stop and think about it, we see the power of the placebo. Patients who believe that they are taking a potent medication actually have a reduction in the symptoms that the "real" medicine is targeting. No drug side effects, but symptom reduction nonetheless.

In writing and other creative endeavors, we must learn to harness the power of the placebo. The power of our beliefs. What do you believe? Where do you want to go? Maybe we can take that journey together. Let's see where belief takes us, shall we?

Verbally yours....

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