Chapter

Contented Customers in a Supermarket of Possibilities

Paul U. Unschuld

in What Is Medicine?

Published by University of California Press

Published in print September 2009 | ISBN: 9780520257658
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520944701 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520257658.003.0096
Contented Customers in a Supermarket of Possibilities

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It is astonishing that modern Western medicine works for the Chinese and the traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) works for the citizens of industrialized Western nations. This indicates a cultural exchange which is yet incomplete. China had happily exchanged the cage of the systematic correspondences for the cage of modern science. In the West, those who could not accept the bars of chemistry, physics, and technology constructed the playpen of TCM. In this supermarket of possibilities, customers still spend the most money on products from Europe and North America. In the end, the reconstructed TCM playpen is also a Western product. But it is certainly not mainstream. The TCM doctrine is no longer in keeping with the times. The initial plausibility of its theory guaranteed its acceptance. For some time now, a transformation to convention has been taking place. Schools instruct practitioners and effects are seen.

Keywords: modern Western medicine; traditional Chinese medicine; cultural exchange; supermarket; possibilities; customers

Chapter.  736 words. 

Subjects: Medical Anthropology

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