REFLECTONS ON BRIAN DOLAN’S BLOG
The intriguing musings of Brian Dolan and the incisive commentary by Schuyler Henderson inevitably provoke further reflection on the medical humanities and what they are doing in medical education. I would like to add, somewhat discursively but I hope ultimately relevantly, to the discussion as follows.
In his inaugural speech as first president of the Czech Republic after the so-called Velvet Revolution brought about the downfall of communism, Vaclav Havel, also an internationally renowned poet, reflected on how new societies must be built.1 He observed that everyone was looking toward the new government to tell them what to do, to lead them into a new way of living and a new way of being. But Havel claimed that the established political and institutional structures were unavoidably compromised, having been constructed during, and based on the assumptions and priorities of, the communist dictatorship. The people could not rely on existing bureaucracies and institutions – what already was – for guidance. Instead, they had no choice but to turn to each other. Stumbling and staggering, they would have to risk building a new world together.