New York, 11.1.’11. A passing thought: In times of sadness and sickness, despair and drudgery, we all have the right to look for comfort and love in our dear ones, whisper prayers for our near ones – but at the end of the day, for the last several decades, even the most irrational amongst people consciously or subconsciously know (or SHOULD know – no matter how much they might deny truth or the contribution of the brilliant geek minds of the world) that when a dear one is lying in the hospital, a victim of a virus or of violence, it is not a ‘Power’ in the skies that lessens that patient’s suffering, but the brains and skills and conscious decisions of a doctor or a surgeon who has spend countless hours and years learning in med school and using the medicines and biomedical instruments that other researchers have spend years inventing and perfecting. Often unknown. Unnamed. Unacknowledged. But it is to them we owe so much of our longevity today.
Less than 150 years back, the average man lived about 40 to 45 years (perhaps the reason mid-life crisis occurs so much in the past 150 years is because we have doubled our life expectancies?) And in all the years since, and centuries afore, there have been no dearth of believers or preachers: But for many many decades now, even the mullah of the mosque, the Pope of the church, the Lama of Tibet, the rabbi of the synagogue and the priest of a temple – each when he is sick or injured – rushes to be aided by……..Who? Think…….who? As much as they may preach to their flock that their life belongs to the heavens (yes, even while some of them are molesting young boys behind, or shouting decrees of death in the ‘honour’ of the prophet, or cashing in on huge monetary donations and basking in glorified attention from enraptured Hollywood celebrities) those preachers and teachers, leaders and ‘seekers’, in times of sickness go where they know they’ve a better chance at Life: Yes – they go to those often unnamed, unmentioned practitioners of real medical science and research. If faith could move mountains and heal bullet wounds, if prayers could remove tumours and stitch broken arteries, then why rush to a hospital or an ER, ‘stead of a prayer house, Mr. Preacher?
And before ye television and tabloid lappers dumb down in mass delusion in the supermarket checkout aisles, staring at the mind-numbing now-omnipresent Kardashians and Snookis of the world, or hearing the raving ranting power-crazy Becks and other apocalypse-yelling loonies, remember instead, nay – you should THANK gratefully, humbly instead, those silent rational men who invented penicillin; insulin; aspirin; the vaccines for cholera, TB, polio and small pox; the x-ray machine; the electron microscope; the fMRI scanner; and much, much more; the epidural to ease the labour pains of childbirth before you show your belly to the world – you media-whore Kate of 8 or the other Ms. freakshow octamom. I would rather know the names and stories of those men and women who silently slogged and worked in laboratories so we could live longer, better, healthier. And suffer not from ignorance while lessening physical pain. Yes, peace of mind can be attributed to many varied factors – real or imagined; And there are many words of genuine wisdom and beautiful quotations seen in ancient scriptures. And nothing (yes not even an imaginary ‘power’) can replace genuine love, peace, authenticity and integrity. If anything, there should be much more of those latter four qualities in the world. But when it comes to trusting your ill health to be healed faster and the darkness of disease to be banished, it’s the discoveries of Science you should thank, snitches.
(Hey – and don’t forget to thank the computer geeks of the world due to whom you can use the internet.)
An ode to scientist Carl Sagan : (Here) Billions of Stars, Billions of sports fans.