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The Symbol of Greed and Profit – Part I

by | Feb 5, 2010 | Archived Material, February 2010

In the ongoing research I’m doing, I stumbled across a few interesting facts that I will share in this two-part series. For those of you who may not be aware, I’m a huge natural health proponent. I think that modern medicine has its place and that place is in trauma. Trauma surgeons can patch people back together following a car accident or insurgent attack better than ever, and with almost miraculous results.

It has, however, no place in prevention or cure of anything. Don’t believe me? Read the mission statement of the AMA. Better yet, ask yourself a series of questions. First, in what kind of society do we live? Everything we do is driven by profit motive. Next, are healthy people a source of income for the medical establishment? Finally, what is the name of the last disease cured by modern medicine? I’ll bet you don’t have an answer for that. You wouldn’t be alone.

The final question has an interesting answer. Would you believe that the answer goes back to malaria? More interesting than that is the method used to invent Quinine. This article is not a history lesson. If you want to know something about quinine or malaria, get off your lazy butt and look it up (by the way, when I say something like that, it is meant to anger those who are guilty of laziness. I mean that you who don’t bother to educate yourselves are the laziest sort. The Internet gives you little excuse).

This article is about symbols. They all have meaning, and some, though veiled by a thin layer of ignorance, are easily uncovered. Most of you will look at the number of paragraphs in this whole article and decide that it is too much work to finish. Sadly, some of you haven’t made it this far. It is for this reason that I’m losing faith in American culture and the American people.

All symbols originate with an idea. They are a system of invoking a thought in the viewer of the symbol. The glyphs that make up the words you are reading are symbols which loosely equate to sounds made in speech. The giant golden M that is so familiar at nearly every busy intersection in the United States is also a symbol, easily recognized and familiar. Even the symbol that shows which restroom should be used by which person is understood to mean what it represents.

Most people never stop to consider the origins of symbols, but due to familiarity come to understand what they mean.

The symbol used to represent medicine is no exception. The vast majority of us have seen the winged staff encircled by two snakes. While many of us don’t know what it is called, we still associate it with hospitals and medicine.

The name of this symbol is the caduceus (ca-DOO-see-us). The caduceus, like most of the classical symbols with which we are familiar, comes from Greek and Roman mythology. It is supposed to be the staff of the miraculous healer and demigod,Aesculapius also spelled Esculapius (Es-qu-LA-pi-us). The problem with this assumption is that there is another, more familiar, god from this pantheon who also carried a staff encircled by serpents.

While not a mythology lesson, a dose of mythology will be necessary to understand the ultimate point of this article which I will conclude in Part II

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