Week 4: The Art of Progress - by Adam Parker

The question of whether science is an art form and whether art is a form of science has been argued about for ages. I believe both statements are true. For some, science is just as artistic as a painting. Cutting open a human body and performing open heart surgery could be the same to the surgeon as sketching a landscape is to an artist. The Oath, by Hippocrates, seems to agree with the notion of science as an art. He repeatedly uses the word “Art” to describe the practice of medicine:

“I will keep this Oath and this stipulation- to reckon him who taught me this Art equally dear to me as my parents.”

“I will impart a knowledge of the Art to my own sons.”

“With purity and with holiness I will pass my life and practice my Art.”

Through the years, these phrases have evolved into the modern Hippocratic Oath, which says:

“I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon’s knife or the chemist’s drug.”

I feel it is necessary to include this section of oath because it is completely true. By practicing medicine alone, and viewing it just as a form of altering the human body, people might lose sight of everything it stands for. Science is not just science. Art is not just art. And medicine is not just medicine. All fields of knowledge are related to one another, and without realizing this, progress will not be possible.

This past week’s discussion of the human body and how medicine and technology can affect it reminded me of a conversation that I had with a friend weeks ago. We were discussing the advancement of today’s technology and how it has influenced life as we know it. As an engineer, I believe that our purpose in life is to progress. I believe that we as the human race have infinite potential. I believe that we are supposed to discover as much about ourselves and the world as possible and to create things that we have the ability to create. My friend on the other hand has a very different view. As a very spiritual human being, he believes that we are not supposed to interfere with life and death. If a human is dead and has no pulse, he is of the impression that we do not have the right to use technology to bring them back; once someone is taken from us, we must let them go.

Now here come the hypothetical situations: a young girl is hit by a car and an ambulance arrives on the scene with an automatic defibrillator. According to me, I believe that everything in their power should be done to try and save the girl. According to my friend, he thinks that by using a machine to bring the girl back to consciousness is interfering with fate. He says that once the person dies, their spirit leaves their body and nothing should be done to screw with that. Now, I’m not saying that he is wrong, just that I disagree with him. Since we discovered the means to create this technology, I think we have earned the right to use it. New situation: the young girl is hit by a drunk driver. By harnessing years of knowledge, we can use this technology to try and correct at least a small percentage of horrible events that occur. The girl should not have to give up her life because of someone else’s stupid mistake. I asked my friend one last question: what if the young girl was your daughter? Would you not beg the medical technicians to save your own child? After a moment of thought, he was still convinced he wouldn’t want technology interfering. I told him he will probably change his mind if he ever has a kid, but only time will tell.

2 Responses to “Week 4: The Art of Progress - by Adam Parker”

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