Week 4_ Ancient Medicine, Hippocrates and Art_ by Nikolaos Mouchtouris

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Hippocrates is considered to be the “father” of medicine as he was the first to make the process and the effort of helping other people overcome their sickness a science. Nowadays, we have connected science with the secure path of the usage of laws and theories based on proved evidence through experiments. However, if you think about it, to what extent was medicine in the days of Hippocrates science? He did not have the appropriate equipment to make a scientific diagnosis, yet being the father of medicine; we realize that he must have been very accurate in his diagnosis for every patient and he definitely managed to cure many people. It appears to me that Hippocrates was more of an artist because of the nature of science back then. Medicine was something abstract 2500 years ago and his devotion to it is similar to an artist’s today who finds a meaning in an abstract painting. Hippocrates’ ability to observe what might be the cause of the symptoms displayed and treat appropriately is based on a simple personal judgment that cannot be confirmed or disproved by anyone since he was a pioneer. This is what is impressive because lives are at stake. This is why he thinks of medicine as an “Art” which is sacred and of major importance.

I always wanted to become a doctor as I found it amazing to be able to cure people in need. My mother grew up at the same town where Hippocrates practiced medicine in the ancient years, thus, since I was young, I have visited many times the places where Hippocrates taught his students medicine and cured his patients and the temple of Asclepeion, who is the god of medicine. The immensity of the first medical institution where Hippocrates was as creative as an artist and as accurate as a scientist was what inspired me to pursue a career in medicine. As I was a young child, Hippocrates appeared to be a magician to me who managed to resolve any serious problem.

Today, the nature of medicine has obviously changed as it has become more scientific, though, every doctor has to pledge to Hippocrates’ oath. The conditions are different in our days, however, the devotion, the ingenuity and the vision the father of medicine had are still necessary aspects of a doctor’s mentality. Besides, medicine needs such people who are life-long devoted in their field and eventually are able to discover new cures through research for devastating diseases that have been killing fellow humans.

In conclusion, I need to admit that I had never realized how interconnected science and art are. Before taking this class, I thought that each field is distinct as it has different foundations. Nonetheless, I understand now that in order to become a distinguished artist you have to think like a scientist and the other way around. Most importantly, in order to be a pioneer, you always have to be creative and able to see outside of the box. Just like an artist. Just like a scientist.

Nikolaos Mouchtouris

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