Thursday, April 3, 2008

A Not So Brave New World--Part VIII

And so in the eyes of the Medical School Deans and Hospital Directors life might have continued for millenia in New York, for they looked at nothing outside of their own fiefdoms, for they considered nothing of value but that they had constructed. And the medical schools were filled to overflowing. And hospitals were filled beyond capacity. And new diseases replaced old ones in the blink of an eye. And no one was healthy, for health was the great enemy of Medical School Deans and Hospital Directors.

And Medical School Deans and Hospital Directors saw nothing of the world outside their windows; shades were drawn tightly to omit the offending views. And safe behind their desks they chortled with glee that those whose names were on the plaques on the great buildings were now the parents of doctors, doctors who practiced only medicine and knew nothing else of anything else.

And such was the situation one morning in January in 2169, when the wind ceased its howling and the air was suddenly still. And this being reported to the Deans and Directors by their trusted flunkies, the powers that ruled in the great New York center beamed proudly and knew that they had finally won their battle. And they threw open their window shades widely to view that which they had created. And the lull before the storm ended suddenly.

And a fierce storm, fiercer than any storm every before seen by mankind, made its way up the East River and from there pounced upon the city. And wherever it touched it destroyed. And the great hospital centers were toppled like dominoes, for they had been built by doctors, not engineers, not architects. They had been built for show on a foundation of shifting sand. The only people left in the great New York center who had any money were Medical School Deans and Hospital Directors, and they hadn't spent a penny on infrastructure maintenance and repair.

Most within the hospitals perished immediately, for without the protection of the hospitals they had no way to survive on their own; their knowledge was not sufficient for the storm that attacked. Some few flung from the debris died on the streets, for they could not live outside of the rarified atmosphere of the hospitals. And one or two, who had been incarcerated in the hospitals mostly against their wills, found the courage within to face the storm and flee to safer territory.

And the storm blew for thirty days and thirty nights, and when at last it rested, there was nothing left standing in the great New York center of the vast world of Medical School Deans and Hospital Directors.

And on the hilltops of Staten Island, long ago banished from New York City, doctors gathered and viewed the destruction across the bay. And they pondered the lessons to be learned. And in the heartland of the country, and in the small cities and towns far from the perished great New York center, people gathered, and talked and vowed. They vowed that they would learn from the destruction that blind obedience left people unprepared for storms yet to come. They vowed never to forget that knowledge was power. They vowed that they would venerate medicine, in its place, and they vowed that they would restore balance to the life of the living.

In 3079, when the generation that had known the Great Storm of New York had all died out, there arrived in Chattanooga, Tennessee, a Medical School Dean with aspirations of greatness. And he announced to his followers that every great medical school should have its own hospital, even two or three hospitals. And the hospitals were built. And the hospitals were filled with people who were ill, as new diseases were being found every day. And outside of this great hospital center no one noticed that storms were forming. And the wind began to blow.


Anonymous said...

"on the hilltops of Staten Island" there shall be refuge ?

Anonymous said...

Very good.

Deserves wide attention.

How that could happen ?

Word of keyboard ?

ProfK said...

Little known geographical fact. There are two major "hills," and a lot of lesser ones, in Staten Island--Grimes Hill and Todt Hill, one of which is the highest point on the Eastern Seaboard from New York City down to Florida. The whole borough is very hilly. The whole Willowbrook community divides itself when talking to living "down the hill" or "up the hill."

On 9/11 I was teaching on the St. Johns campus on Grimes Hill and we saw from that vantage point the second plane hit the twin towers. I used that experience here in the story.

Anonymous said...

Bravo! A very useable skill to be able to say something that everyone can understand while really saying something else that no one can point a finger at you for saying.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely wow. On behalf of all of us non-doctors I salute you.

Anonymous said...

A dark story with more than enough truth in it to make it both sad and scary.

Anonymous said...

Plenty of truth in this story as it applies to the frum world. But it also applies to the outside world. We've become "expert" crazy and run to those experts for every little thing. People don't develop a full range of skills any more because there is always an expert to go to if you need something. And even where people do have some knowledge, the experts have brainwashed them into believing that they shouldn't solve problems themselves but have to go to an expert.