What do all these systems have in common, and why are they so fascinating, even to the skeptic? They make order from the chaos of the world. The anatomical parts I can do without, except as curiosities or spiritual metaphors. Whatever the flaws of Western medicine, it’s a lot more persuasive to me than turmeric, the kundalini, or the channel that runs from my right nostril to my left testicle, even if it does correspond to the River Yamuna. Ayurveda, Chinese medicine, the esoteric anatomy of the subtle body: all arose before the discovery of genes, or cells, or microbes, or molecules. How much can they know? Most damning, for me, is that they’re no longer subject to change or correction. I’m a sucker for falsifiability. If it can’t be wrong, it can’t be right.

The American Scholar: Stretchers – William Deresiewicz


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