What is Medicine?

First day of medical school, makes sense that the first lecture will be entitled "What is Medicine?"

My lecturer spent a lot of time talking about The Sociological Imagination, 1959, by C. Wright Mills in explaining how we must see individuals through a "sociological imagination" and put in mind their perspectives of Culture, History, Emotion, Structure, Spirituality, and Critique (CHESS-C mnemonic). I thought it was a little bit interesting, but also a little lame, because, like, soon globalization will turn all the humans into an English-speaking consumer population anyway.

Then the lecture went into traditional healers, paradigm shifts, the changing perspectives on masturbation (the 1900 generation apparently blamed the act on tight nappies as infants) and homosexuality.

I think in a later lecture sometime someone introduced a more succint and more definitive definition of medicine taken by the preamble to the World Health Organization's constitution as being:

"...a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity." [source]

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