Further Reflections on Medical Humanities

Johanna Shapiro, PhD

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. 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 tum to each other. Stumbling and staggering, they would have to risk building a new world together.

Read the full article