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"Aesculapius Esculapius Asklepios" (see related A | B), 325 BC Original Greek colossal marble head British Museum, London, England, UK
Marble head of Asklepios found on the Aegean island of Melos. The crown of hair and soft facial features suggest that the work is from the third century BC. Adjacent to the sculpture were votive inscriptions to him and his daughter Hygieia (Health) - the other two were Meditrina (Medical Arts) and Panacea (emblems of therapies or of "healthy living habits", for example, gymnastics).
Man is the sole animal who seeks cures (Medicine). Cures were seen as magic and became incorporated into myths and religions leading to life-style regimes,such as the dietary restrictions madated by Biblical religions. Empiric cures gave rise to Healing Arts codified by Hipppocratic Medicine and later integrated with Scientific Modern Medicine thus Clinical Medicine continues to be "an observational science". There is a fad pleasing to "basic" scientists who promote the view that clinical investigations are an "applied science" as if truth could be sub-categorized. There also is a fad to promote "fact-based" Medicine. One implication is that "fact-based" is equated with "statistically validated" thus mathematically "acceptable". Scientific units can not represent "life" - which is in flux. Our our computers are "digital" (yes/no logic) rather than "analog" (to measure concurrent flux) - a single human during every infinitesimal interval represents billions of phenomena in flux. It is absurd to propose that agencies or business should finance investigations of the positive value of rest and sleep as components of healing. Esculapian temples were like hospitals where rest and sleep were paramount. In Athens, an Aesculapian complex stood on the slopes of the Acropolis since the 3rd. c. BC.
The emblem of Aesculapius is a simple wooden "walking stick" (physicians were "ambulatory"). The staff sports a single intertwined serpent, a complex symbol of rejuvenation (serpents shed their old skin). In contrast, the "staff" of Hermes or Mercury is often from gold and is richly decorated - it sports two intertwined serpents - a reminder of the "double talk" of merchants and thieves. In fact Hermes (a hermaphrodite? who combines the charm of Aphrodite and is seductive to either sex) is the champion of merchants and thieves. Why then did the U.S. Armed Forces chose as their champion Mercury rather than Esculapius ? - or is such a reflection of the reality that Esculapian principles and Hippocratic oath and ethics no longer bind commercialized medicine.
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