Probably every physician has heard this quote by Voltaire: “The art of medicine consists of entertaining the patient while nature cures the disease.”

I am not sure how everyone else feels about that statement (feel free to comment and tell me your thoughts), but I happen to particularly love it. For one thing, it is true in so many cases. That is not to say that you should ignore symptoms and hope they go away. You often need a physician to help you see what is important and what you can ignore. I cannot tell you how often we end up doing thousands of dollars of testing only to have things “disappear” in the end.

But why I really, really like this quote is that it reminds us all to be humble.  In the end, we are not the ones curing anyone.  We are the instruments of a higher power.  Not that we are that higher power.  We are instruments of it.

Today, I am humbled.


11 thoughts on “Voltaire

  1. Yes, I like the Voltaire quote, too. But it’s also true that Voltaire appreciated the work of the physicians of his day. One of his objections to the back-to-nature philosophy of his arch-enemy Rousseau was that in a state of natural innocence there wouldn’t be any physicians to turn to when one got sick.

    Liked by 1 person

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