What a novel idea and a worthy ideal to live by. Upon hearing these words, one probably immediate thinks of our health care professionals but shouldn’t these words apply to each and every one of us, regardless of our profession?
Though written over two thousand years ago, The Hippocratic Oath was born as a vow from a dedicated professional to those whom he served. It is a timeless creation because it speaks to the heart of an ethical truth. It is a fact that when you have the knowledge, skills and abilities to be of help to someone, by proxy you also possess the means to commit unspeakable harm.
The world has changed tremendously since 400 BC and will continue to change yet we must acknowledge that the truth then remains the truth today. All truths are eternal and indisputable; a fact that we have tremendous trouble accepting.
Let’s ponder some relevant situations and some of the questions that they give rise to. In the case of health care; the practitioners of today are using computers and robots in addition to their own personal skills. This can be said of almost every professional.
To whom should society hold responsible for the ethical oath to do no harm?
Would it be the health care practitioner, the computer, the technology company that makes the robot or the software manufacture of the programs being used?
To complicate things further we are approaching an era where computers are able to “think and act” independent of the operators.
Will man’s truth apply to them?
How shall we, the consumer or patient, be able to discern to whom responsibility rests?
Can an “artificial intelligence” be held to the same human ethical truths?
As you can see, our lives are getting much more complicated than our ancestors could have ever imagined. Even so, we must never lose sight of the fact that one thing remains constant and simple…The Truth! There will always be just one true solution to every problem and many non-truths or acceptable concessions. We must all teach the truth every chance we get and to be brave enough to speak out when the acceptable concessions begin to replace the “truth” in society’s perception. For when perception becomes reality, the truth no longer matters.
Hippocratic Oath of Kos (400 BC)
I swear by Apollo the physician, and Aesculapius, and Hygeia, and Panacea and all the gods and goddesses, making them my witnesses that I will fulfill, according to my ability and judgment, this oath and covenant.
To hold him, who has taught me this art, as equal to my parents, and to live my life in partnership with him, and if he is in need of money to give him a share of mine, and to regard his offspring as equal to my brothers in male lineage, and to teach them this art if they desire to learn it without fee and covenant; to give a share of precepts and oral instruction and all the other learning to my sons and to the sons of him who has instructed me, and to pupils who have signed the covenant and who have taken an oath according to the medical law, but to no one else.
I will apply my knowledge for the benefit of the sick according to my ability and judgment; I will keep them from harm and injustice.
I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody if asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect. Similarly I will not give a woman a pessary to procure abortion. In purity and holiness, I will guard my life and my art.
I will not use the knife, not even on sufferers from stone, but will withdraw in favour of such men as are skilled in this work.
Whatever houses I may visit, I will come for the benefit of the sick, remaining free of all intentional injustice, of all mischief, and in particular of sexual relations with both male and female persons, be they free or slaves. What I may see or hear in the course of treatment or even outside of the treatment in regard to the life of men, which on no account ought to be spread abroad, I will keep to myself, holding such things shameful to be spoken about. If I fulfill this Oath and do not violate it, may it be granted to me to enjoy life and art, being honoured with fame among all men for all time to come; if I transgress it and swear falsely, may the opposite of all this be my lot.
If this is my last post, I want all to know there was only one purpose for all that I have written; to have made a positive difference in the lives of others.
Anthony “Tony” Boquet, the author of “The Bloodline of Wisdom, The Awakening of a Modern Solutionary”, your source for additional information about the Power of the Wisdom of Three.