Tag Archives: God

Revising my bargain with the deity

Barry Perlman New York, New York, United States   Photo by S. Tsuchiya on Unsplash. My parents lived into their nineties. Before they died, they endured years of dementia. Aware of my potential genetic inheritance, I have long harbored a deep dread of what my future might hold. If my curved pinky fingers were inherited […]

Abhay Sadhak (fearless seeker): Baba Amte

Utkarsh G. Hingmire Nagpur, India   Baba Amte. This file is a copyrighted work of the Government of India, licensed under the Government Open Data License – India (GODL). Via Wikimedia. Murlidhar Devidas Amte, affectionately known as Baba Amte, was a lawyer who left his lucrative legal career to devote his life to the treatment of […]

History of medicine in ancient India

Keerthana Kalla Seattle, Washington, United States   Shushrut Statue In Patanjali Yogpeeth, Haridwar. Photo by Alokprasad. 2009. Via Wikimedia. CC BY-SA 3.0. The chronicle of medicine is the story of man’s struggle against illness. As early as 5000 BC, India developed a comprehensive form of healing called Ayurveda. Such traditional healing was first recorded between […]

Closed mouth, open heart

Ellen Hitt Tucson, Arizona, United States   One of the many beautiful symbols of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe, marking the entrance to their health department. Photo by author, Ellen Hitt As a child, my life was uprooted every three years. I said goodbye to my friends, my school, and life as I knew it as […]

Pursuing ‘Conclusions Infinite:’ the divine inspiration of Georg Cantor

Sylvia Karasu New York, New York, United States   Georg Cantor, German mathematician, 1845-1918. Cantor as an older man, date unknown. Cantor was not quite age 73 when he died of heart failure. Photo Credit: Colport/Alamy Stock Photo. Used with permission. There is a “fine line between brilliance and madness”: the distinction, for example, between […]

Emblems and psychological medicine on the Sutton Hoo purse

Stephen Martin Durham, England, and Thailand   The recent film The Dig1 has brought into the wider public eye the story of an Anglo-Saxon ship burial.2 The burial mound, at Sutton Hoo, in Sussex, England,3,4 contained a high-status figure, almost certainly Royal. The most expensive of the grave goods5 are high-craftsmanship gold, set with very […]

The trouble with the belly button

Tonse N. K. Raju Gaithersburg, Maryland, United States   It is a simple dimple in the mid-abdomen. Yet for medieval artists, it caused mighty headaches while painting portraits of Adam and Eve. Painting the dimple as a natural anatomic feature could be construed as sacrilegious, implying that Adam and Eve were connected by umbilical cords […]

Giovanni Boccaccio on pandemics past and present

Constance Markey Chicago, IL   The plague of Florence, 1348; an episode in the Decameron by Boccaccio. Etching by L. Sabatelli the elder after G. Boccaccio. Credit: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)) Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-1375) is universally celebrated for his masterpiece The Decameron, an appealing assemblage of one hundred loosely connected novellas, […]

Rilke: a poet’s death

Nicolas Roberto Robles Badajoz, Spain   Figure 1. A portrait of Rilke painted two years after his death by Leonid Pasternak Public domain Rose, oh reiner widerspruch, lust, Niemandes schlaf zu sein under soviel lidern Rose, o pure contradiction, desire, to be no one’s sleep beneath so many lids. Rainer Maria Rilke, epitaph. On December […]

Faith and patron saints during the Black Death

Mariella Scerri Mellieha, Malta   Saint Roch. 1502. Francesco Francia.  Metropolitan Museum of Art. Public Domain.  The Black Death of 1348 was the greatest biomedical disaster in European history. Although it was not the first plague epidemic, the Black Death swept through Europe, killing millions indiscriminately and affecting society like no other natural calamity.1 Attempts to understand the […]