The current Theogony
James Fleck, MD, PhD: Anticancerweb 13 (09), 2021
In Hesiod's Theogony, Asclepius was a demigod related to medicine. He was the son of the divine Apollo and Koronis, his mortal mother. Today, the rod of Asclepius is still considered the symbol of medicine. The snake around the cane used to hide secrets underground, using them to express prophetic power. Currently, it resembles DNA, the code of life, made available as a biotechnological advance. Secrets were revealed by the Human Genome Project launched in 1988. It was a collaborative research program seeking a complete sequence mapping of all bases found in human DNA. The Human Genome Sequencing Consortium brought together more than 2,800 researchers. The entire sequence was completed and published in 2003. The secret was unveiled more than two thousand five hundred years after the mythical healing power attributed to the rod of Asclepius. Interestingly, the caduceus is also a magic wand carried by Hermes, the messenger of the gods. Since the 16th century it has also been used as a symbol of medicine. Hermes stuck a stick between two fighting snakes, calming them, creating settlement and healing. In ancient Greece, the caduceus was also associated with messengers and heralds, representing multimedia narrative. The symbolic similarity found in the rod of Asclepius and the caduceus already predicted a natural integration between medical and communication skills.
Symbolic resemblance used by the gods of medicine and communication, both protecting the snake's hidden secrets revealed in human DNA sequencing
Medicine, media and technology create a powerful combination, with the urgent need to meet personal and public health demands in today's world. The Greeks already knew, but although they hid technological development, they encouraged the integration of medicine and communication on a subconscious or mythical level. The symbols described above point to a core association. The values have been stored in the human unconscious for centuries. Today, medicine is an international language. Despite different beliefs and cultures around the world, medicine is the same, supported by efficient communication tools. Integration began in the doctor-patient relationship and expanded through the dissemination of scientific and technological development. Hesiod's theogony explained the world through the eccentric behavior of the gods. The creative impulse was represented in their unstable mood and unpredictable reactions. Magical events referred to technological advances not yet available but allegorically anticipated. It was a puzzle or patchwork that we gradually learned how to compose. Today, we often combine medicine, media and technology without realizing that this proposed integration was a gift from the gods.
Multimedia narrative accommodating current relationships between the fury of the gods (technology) and medicine
Any action in personal medical care begins with the patient's history, which is supported by the physician's communication skills. Any public health action begins with a well-designed educational program, widely distributed on multimedia devices. Medicine has always been supported by strong communication resources. At the personal level, multidimensional care involving physical, emotional, cognitive and social interventions is based on well-qualified doctor-patient relationship. In public health, the use of press and online media improves the result of any proposed program. Medical journals and corresponding websites, billboards, film industry, radio, television, smartphones and social media compose the multimedia narrative. Medical meetings in all specialties are also expanding the use of multimedia narrative to promote knowledge and obtain feedback. Today, any medical facility must include an interactive multimedia center, conveying medical information in a comprehensive and simple language. Currently, medical technological advances are growing very quickly. Standards of diagnosis and treatment are changing even more rapidly. The human capacity to keep up with global technological advancement is reaching its limit. Big data recommendation systems are being developed and combined with human discretion, seeking for better intervention outcomes. Artificial intelligence, machine learning and deep learning are the new challenges for mankind's communication skills. A proper connection combining medicine, media and technology will be critical to addressing future directions in healthcare. The media will be essential to promote a consonant development of medicine and technology. Hermes and Asclepius will have to join forces to better accommodate the fury of the gods.
1. Collins FS, Lander ES, Rogers J, Waterson RH: Finishing the euchromatic sequence of the human genome, Nature 431 (7011): 931-45, 2004
2. Photo by Spencer Davis on Unsplash
3. Photo by Braño on Unsplash
4. Photo by David Clode on Unsplash