At the end of the day, Humanism is about the recognition of the connectedness of all things. As I see myself in the trickling water of stream and the freshness of the morning dew, while having empathy for others, I see myself wounded by their suffering.
Humanism is about passion. It is what I feel undeniably and resoundingly burning within that allows me to momentarily switch places with my patients as I offer them my attention and service. This is a natural place that I find myself as I go about my duties as physician. And yes, on occasion I do get overwhelmed by the process. But, it is then ironically that I find that, even in their weak and vulnerable state, patients have much to give that enables the process to endure, that enables me to keep giving (and receiving).
So we call it Humanism. But aren’t we experiencing, as the world becomes more of a global village, our profound similarities? Aren’t we noticing that the potter in Siam has much the same needs as the Eskimo in Alaska? Fortunately, moving forward in medicine has meant moving inward in consciousness and awakening to a dimension of the human spirit where modern technology must assume a subordinate role!
Dorian J. Wilson, MD
Healthcare Foundation Center for Humanism and Medicine
UMDNJ – New Jersey Medical School