How do you arrive at your definitions?
The Arneson Method’s mechanical behavior science engenders a mechanical language that identifies specific types of behavior involved in every situation. Thus equipped, one naturally seeks clarity amidst abstraction and ambiguity.
For example, one might ask, “What is medicine?” The average dictionary definition replies, “The science or practice of the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease.” Mechanically speaking, these are things that medicine does, but not what medicine is. Exactly what behavior is happening when medicine is conducted? Diagnosis is a component of proper treatment; the word “diagnosis” is not needed in this definition. “Treatment” and “prevention” both refer to a distinct type of attention given to the organism. But what? In every case, it is the body that heals or avoids the problem, not medicine; medicine merely supports healing. Medicine is behavior that supports healing.
What is “mind/body medicine” in the absence of “disease” specified by the definition above? Without disease, some would say that mind/body medicine cannot be medicine. In fact, some assert that the mind is superfluous when treating biological problems. As the placebo effect demonstrates, the “mind” can certainly support biological healing. We need an encompassing definition of medicine that accommodates every scenario in which healing is supported—beyond treating disease with strictly biological remedies.
Every body system performs both healing and daily metabolism. When medicine is administered, the healing aspect of the system is roused and supported. Medicine is thereby neatly distinguished from other behaviors that sustain life, e.g. daily diet and exercise. Also, when medicine is administered, we select target systems for support—those directly affected by the chosen form of support, a.k.a. procedures. Then, target systems serve other systems.
On the other hand, many medical procedures entail substances or devices in addition to behavior. Therefore, a complete definition of medicine must include all details of procedure that support healing.
Thus, we arrive at Arneson’s universal definition that 1) encompasses every act and form of medicine, and 2) describes distinctive behavior involved in every case: Medicine is support for the healing capacity of target body systems. This definition prepares us to fairly assess any procedure purported to offer medical benefit. For example, when faced with a mysterious or confusing method, such as the Arneson Method, one can follow the logic to understand how it works. The method must target at least one body system. In this case, the method directly targets the behavior system, which then serves the autonomic nervous system and perhaps every other system. Likewise, the mechanics of every behavior-oriented method can be concretely grasped, including mind/body techniques, psychotherapy, and body therapies. In other words, every procedure that supports healing (both biological and behavioral) can be rightfully categorized as a form of medicine, despite the dogma of old school physicians.
Many definitions—referring to behavior—tell us what something does, as opposed to what it is. One would not define “water” as the stuff that comes out of the faucet when you turn the knob. There is a more technical, mechanical definition of water. Uncovering the essence of a thing affords a far more sophisticated perspective. Mechanical behavior language is a tool that supports the intellect.