Tuesday, June 24, 2008

De Motu Cordis

Within us we possess an amazingly simple yet powerful and efficient pump that delivers our life sustaining blood. Many of us are familiar with its basic architecture and understand the general principles concerning its function, and all of us are aware of the consequence if it stops performing its vital task.

Surprisingly, it was not so long ago (1628) that we did not understand that the heart receives "used" blood from the body and pumps it to the lungs to dispose of waste products and acquire precious oxygen, followed by a return to the heart, and then onto the body to complete the cycle over and over.

In my Medical Classics course I just read the book which elucidated these basic principles, as well as several others regarding the heart and our circulatory system. It was such an enjoyable read because the author uses basic observations, with equally basic descriptions, to elaborate on a seemingly complex process. I have to believe that he knew the text would not be well received if he did not write and explain things in this manner, it had to be intentional.

As with any situation similar to the one above, his detractors had reason to refute his findings because many of his ideas flew in the face of what had previously been known, and there is no doubt that William Harvey fanned these flames by essentially saying "...you dummies, just look and you will see."

Where this ultimately leads me is towards a curiosity about what I am proclaiming now that will be proven incorrect in the next couple of centuries. What is it that people will chuckle about when they read what I thought to be true? I know the earth is round and that my heart is responsible for pumping blood through my body, but something will have to go, what it is I do not know.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Born in a Different Era

Do you ever feel as though you were born in the wrong era?

I do not necessarily feel as though I was born in the wrong era, but there are definitely moments I wish I was born in a different era. The moments that I wish I was born in a different era usually revolve around the selfish desire of discovering something for myself - a new piece of land, and new cure, a new people.

Additionally, I think that life use to be less complex and governed more by necessity rather than desire, like the adage says - Desire is the mother of invention. Wait that does not sound quite right.

I realize though this is probably just a removed fanciful perspective and most people regardless of the era in which they live are trying to look for ways to make life easier and more efficient.

Please do not arrive at the impression that I am ungrateful for the advances and conveniences that are afforded me due to living in the current era, because I engage in almost all of them in some capacity. And, there are still new horizons to be discovered and life can be simplified, it just seems to take considerably more effort or maybe it just requires a change in how I look at things.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

My Thanks to Above Average People

Recently I have had the fortunate experience of casual conversation with several individuals who were quite impressed with their own current standing in society. They were not hesitant to divulge their achievements and were internally and externally impressed with themselves. Initially, I was slightly baffled by their seemingly absent inhibition, but then I realized this was essentially due to a lack of previous exposure to people of this nature.

I do not necessarily believe these people were going on about themselves intentionally or as a mechanism to elevate their own personal status, they were simply doing what they have probably been doing since they could communicate. It has become a part of who they are, just as much as it is a part of who I am, in not doing it.

However, just because I do not openly discuss my achievements with partial strangers does not mean I am innocent, I simply gloat to myself. My perception of self is strong and I am definitely feeding the same beast, I just do not make others swallow it too.

This works really well for me because I am chiefly concerned with my own self perception, more so than I am concerned with others' perception of me. I do not mean to disappoint, but I do not really care what you think about me, I care about what I think about me. But do we not all share in this conflict, I would imagine so?

The real point of writing about my encounter with these interesting people though was to thank them for reminding me of my enjoyment of being average. This is not to indicate that complacency is desirable, because I am a strong advocate of exercising our potential, but rather to realize that struggling through the obstacles of being a high achiever is a lot of work and not a battle to which we are all called. I really do not mind being in the hump, it is not a bad place to be, as long as I am using my capabilities and doing what is asked of me.