Gnosis and Diagnosis
A thought . . .
Is concreteness notional?
Is abstractness real and tangible?
It is the perspective that decides everything.
Consider the supposedly abstract concept of diagnosis for example. Now a term that is generally associated with human health and medical practice, it has been around since the beginning of existence and has been an integral part of all known processes (and should have been one of every unknown process as well!).
Anything that has been in existence for that long should certainly have an interesting story to tell. What follows is an abridged autobiography of diagnosis - an abstract idea to us humans, but which considers itself as much concrete and substantial, as we are.
Gnosis and Diagnosis
I suspect that perhaps this is how,
Quite contrasting meanings words endow;
In the historical context, though fated
To be etymologically closely related.
As an example, I take my own case;
To its Greek roots, my origin I trace;
And find that I am derived from the word "gnosis",
That has an apparently speculative basis.
The innocuous looking little prefix "dia"
Has added a new and different dimension;
And transformed me from something intangible,
To a logical, concise, and conditional contention.
Maybe it is merely a matter of a paradigm shift;
With usage of words, a practice of thrift;
Time, over the centuries, has certainly wrought,
A change in perspectives, deeds, and thought.
A diagnostic with its established rules
Helps in restoring the ailing to health;
Gnostics attempt, with their logic, to find
A palliative for the ailment of death.
Doubtless, commendable and noble causes both;
Though to tread a gnostic's path I am quite loathe.
The gnostic's realm is limitless and beyond the bounds of reason;
Mine is confined to the same domain - season after season.
Leaving the gnostic to his incomprehensible ways,
In whose pursuit one loses the count of days;
I would rather, my methods and processes, substantiate;
The manner in which I analyze systems - animate or inanimate.
The differentiation is just a handy convenience though;
For the benefit of those who hold a divergent view, to know.
Such a standpoint would certainly rob the human of his sheen;
To me, a man is nothing but another sophisticated machine.
The principle of cause and effect
Is my primary guiding fundament.
There is no system, that to such a scrutiny,
Would not ultimately and inescapably relent.
The tools and apparatus used in my trade
Have obviously changed through the ages.
It was touch, sight, and birth charts in the past,
And now complex instruments and gauges.
My acumen and accuracy was no less in the bygone eras;
Don't ever pass judgements based on my tools.
What matters more than those supportive props,
Is the recognition of symptoms following associated rules.
That this is indeed so, can be verified by the fact
That brain surgeries were performed in 3000 BC.
For surgeons and patients attuned to contemporary norms,
The thought can be, in more than one way, a bit queasy.
A human system is a collective of varied symptoms;
The first step in healing is to analyze such conundrums.
Then a strategy that would impart to it lasting harmony;
This is the Oslerian ideal that guides medical philosophy.
Maintenance of other systems follow a similar approach;
Be it an aircraft, a computer, or a hackney coach.
In this notion, there is however a petty logical skew;
"Harmony" is such matters, is the human point of view.
Now that my identity and independence have been ascertained;
(And you are assured that I am not someone crazy or hair-brained!).
We will look at some of the diagnostic tools in vogue;
Used by medical practitioner's in clinics, hospitals, and morgues.
The basic diagnostic kit that all medics carry,
Which is also a trademark, like a wand is to a fairy;
Has a "Steth", a "Spigmo", and a double-headed hammer.
The names of these tools can make the uninitiated stammer.
One of the most dramatic of such tools is the X-Ray;
Its worth being much more than the monetary defray.
Radiation, rendering flesh and skin lucent;
The denser bone not being so transparent.
Accepting the fact that X-ray has revolutionized diagnosis;
It would also be necessary to note another, with emphasis.
That traditional bone-setters continue to ply their trade and well;
Without the need of this sophistication, upon which to dwell.
One thing that provides information in a flood,
About the status of body equilibrium, is blood.
Contemporary medical diagnosis overwhelmingly rests
On hematological, serological, and immunological tests.
It will be humbling for the haughty humans to know,
That within them, millions of life forms independently kowtow.
Some of these parasites feed off the human body to live;
Many others, while doing so, also generously give.
Microbiological tests, establish the presence of these life forms,
And determine whether they are within permissible norms.
Under control and in bounds, they bestow a life of pleasure and ease;
In dearth or in excess, they are the cause of many a disease.
Ultra-sonography is another noninvasive procedure to visualize
Muscles, tendons and internal organs, their structure and size.
Its particular usefulness in feotal and prenatal care aside;
It is misused in the abhorrent practice of female infanticide.
To describe a condition all indirect diagnoses faithfully contrive.
There is, however, no equal to seeing an internal disorder "live".
The procedure called Endoscopy provides for just this;
With a camera mounted tube sent through any body orifice.
Computed tomography is a process that uses images by X-Rays;
To painstakingly fashion a 3D image from series of 2D overlays.
CT is used to diagnose many things, and is not confined to medicine alone;
Any object, dead or alive, is game; graded opacity to X-rays, which is prone.
Positron emission tomography is a nuclear medicine imaging technique;
Into a tissue of interest, a radioactive tracer isotope is made to sneak.
Gamma-ray emmision from the radionuclide, the PET system is made to detect;
A computer then simulates the tissue image in 3D, which is true in every aspect.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging uses powerful magnetic fields;
Unbridled power, upon hydrogen atoms in the body, it wields.
Altering their alignment in a very systematic manner;
Making them detectable by a computerized scanner.
Many of these procedures are termed safe and noninvasive;
But the possibility of inadvertant hazards is all-pervasive.
Cancer production and chromosome breakage to name two;
If meticulously enumerated, there would be quite a few.
My services are solicited even after the last breath,
To unambiguously ascertain the cause of death.
Autopsy, is the name given, the body, to so minister;
The tools for the task, too look fairly sinister.
With proliferating computers matching hyperbolic human population growth charts;
And digital viruses, in every way rivaling, their "real" counterparts.
Diagnostic devises abound, that quickly sift through our virtual treasures,
To detect and snare the digital vermin with ingenious counter measures.
Gone are the days, on a mechanic's word one solely depended,
And waited until the erring mechanism was apprehended.
Now, a vehicle is plugged into a sleek disgnostic machine,
That in jiffy, gathers every obnoxious detail there is to glean.
All through the ages and every moment, ever since existence dawned;
I have been with all and sundry to guide them through life and beyond.
"Nothing is indispensable", is a saying coined in ignorant bliss;
Without me, there is nothing; Me, the almighty diagnosis.