In Geoffrey Chaucer's rather risqué Merchant's Tale, January, a grizzled old knight, marries the ravishingly fresh maiden May. Before tying the knot the hoar-haired knight takes advice from his two brothers. The first, Justinus ("The Just One") is fair.
The second, Placebo (which literally stands for "I shall please"), is a sycophant.Justinus opposes the marriage, given the disparity between the prospective partners' ages and considering his own experience.
But January, a vain man, hears only the flattery of his obsequious brother Placebo.In modern times, the name is used only to describe the phenomenon of an inert substance causing medical improvement.
This seems to be rooted in patients perceptions even at the unconscious level.Paradoxically if the substance is viewed as harmful, it can cause negative reactions. That's when you get the Nocebo effect. So what should be the human equivalent of the Nocebo? Should it be a black-tongued voodoo priest putting the hex on an extremely gullible subject?
The mystery of Nocebo is rooted in mechanisms of the mind. "Our beliefs impact the effectiveness of the Placebo effect as well as that of the Nocebo effect," writes Corey Sondrup in Reclaiming Your Power.
"Besides our beliefs and perceptions, the primary power source to the effectiveness of the Nocebo effect is doctors."Thus every time a doctor says, "You have terminal cancer; you have eight months to live" he is unknowingly planting the seed of a self-fulfilling prophecy!
"If a patient puts all of his faith, trust and belief in what the doctor says and does, then that patient will be dead in eight months," Sondrup adds. "That is the power of the Nocebo effect.
"One alternative is to reclaim your power to say "No" (or "Boo!") to Nocebo. As James Allen wrote at the turn of the 20th century, "The aphorism "As a man thinketh in his heart so is he" not only embraces the whole of the man's being but is so comprehensive as to reach out to every condition and circumstance of his life.
A man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of all his thoughts.
"As a plant springs from and could not be without the seed so every act of ours springs from hidden seeds of thought; it could not have appeared without them, Allen explains.
This applies to "spontaneous" acts as to those that are deliberate ones. So can't we plant good seeds and reap good deeds?
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Former Jt Secy Ministry of Finance