The Oracle of Illness

Most people my age have sought medical advice from the oracle of illness. No, I’m not talking about Google. Here, I’m talking about some sort of medical practitioner that dispenses medical advice – preferably a licensed and competent individual, team, or practice.

I recently completed a pilgrimage to a village of such practitioners, and because I’ve been avoiding the sticky web of always-on digital devices, I spent a lot of time just watching and listening to people. And you know what? The diversity of people wandering in and out of this village was astounding. The diversity of medical services provided was equally, or perhaps more astounding. It doesn’t take a genius to realize how quickly medical services have advanced.

This realization, that is, my meandering fascination with exploring technological progress and its impact on me, my family, and you know, humans in general, is a fertile jumping point for imagination. For example, in the past four hundred years or so, how would one go about translating the concept of pharmacy or prescription? Did my great, great x 8 grandfather keep a witch, shaman, or polymath on the payroll? Or did he just make do with universal village care? And what did that actually mean for capitalism and the village economy?

I’m sort of joking, but not really.

I feel like medicine has made so many turns that it is impossible to really understand and reflect upon the huge advances that have been made in the last fifty years. Finding ways to transmit perspective’s path through the increasingly rapid evolution of medial care is hard and needed. We’ve gone from leeches to antibiotics to tweaking DNA. What’s next?