Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Scattered audiences

Listening to Jason Satterfield's Great Course on mind-body medicine, we hear quite a bit about an expanded model of medicine.  It includes all the physical parts and processes of our bodies but it also explicitly includes the cognitive and emotional parts of us.  Rene Descartes back in the 1600's famously stated that the mind and body were two entirely separate things (probably because he didn't think it safe to write things that contradicted the church's idea of an eternal soul).  But Prof. Satterfield said that Cartesian dualism is dead now, or at least terminally ill. So, including a person's mental state and habits of thinking as well as his emotions is part of the expanded model of medicine and health.  But the current model can be more inclusive still by including the social world in which a person exists.

As we watched episode 13 of the 7th season of Grey's Anatomy, we had a chance to see the persons and personalities of the characters.  But we also got a chance to see the reinstated chief of surgery get a bit of an education in social media today.  The current king of social media is usually considered to be Facebook with over a billion users, the majority outside the US (no surprise really, since we can't furnish a billion users or even half that by ourselves).  The current Time magazine says the head of FB hopes to get the entire human population connected.  Don't laugh yet.

But the buddy (or arch-enemy) of Facebook is Twitter, my favorite of the two.  The chief was in the middle of a new and exciting surgery, especially exciting for surgeons and student surgeons.  He looked up and saw a first year resident fiddling with her phone.  Those of us in the know realize she is texting from her flashing thumbs.  He asks her what she is doing and she says she is texting a picture of what is going on to her boyfriend.  He is annoyed and tells her to put her phone away.  He means "Pay attention!"  He finishes and enters a different operating room.  Quite a lot of students are watching and texting.  "What are you doing?"  "We are on Twitter, Sir.  Your old buddy Dr. X from Y Hospital says Hi!"  The chief is taken aback: "X is watching this?"  Yes, Sir.  Sir, 3000 first year surgery resident nationwide are watching.  Really?  3000?  Yes, Sir.  Suddenly, the chief is all smiles and supportive.

Queen Latifah, the movie actress, said," If I fall down leaving a club, it will be on the internet in 20 seconds."  That was a few years back.

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