Sunday, September 14, 2008

Forethought Planning - Note 02

When I had the notion of using the tale of Prometheus as an interesting way of telling the process of Interferon treatment, I did not realise quite what I was taking on. After only a little research it is clear to me the myth around Prometheus is very profound indeed. Neil MacGregor, director of the British Museum, in a Guardian booklet about Greek Myths describes him thus.

"Prometheus's name is associated with the daily effort involved in being human. He is clearly a martyr in mankind's cause, and his bravely borne suffering wrings the heart."

It makes the challenge of writing, Forethought, all the more difficult, yet rewarding, perhaps. I would be interested in other people's opinions about Prometheus and what he represents.


Debi said...

It's a huge challenge and one that I have no doubt you will rise to in your usual style.

Linking to you, so hope you're set up your site meter and notice the difference.

BarbaraS said...

Will be popping in and out. Good luck with the treatment, I hope it gives some respite.

Debi said...

Boring editor-type here ... just noticed your blog heading has wrong spelling - 'hepitis'???

Chris Vacano said...

If I might suggest, Prometheus represents the archetype of selfless sacrifice for the greater good of humanity, combined with a certain measure of hubris. To steal fire from the gods to empower humanity, one would have to expect consequences but not care -- or more precisely stated, his world-view would have to be that the benefit of his actions on behalf of humanity outweighs the retribution he will undoubtedly face.

To tie this analogy out to yours and my particular experience:

consider what it is to be a hemophiliac for a moment. At great risk of sounding arrogant to someone on the outside, most of us lead our lives in quiet dignity, seldom complaining, and largely unaware of the benefit of our mere presence to the rest of society.

I would postulate that were it not for hemophiliacs, the medical profession would have been slower to realize that HIV and various strains of Hepatitis were in the blood supply. We have also served on the front lines of numerous other medical battles, acting as infantrymen scouting novel therapies and treatments, where others typically have had the luxury of waiting until the path was cleared. Numerous advances have arisen from the fractionation of blood which provides our much-needed hemophilia treatment.

Looking forward, stem-cell research is showing promise in the ability to produce blood components based on lessons learned from the manufacture of our clotting products, and we find ourselves at the vanguard of gene therapy research in the hopes that future generations will never have to know our experiences of life with hemophilia first-hand.

All too often, it has fallen to us to storm uncharted medical frontiers, putting our own lives on the line -- yet in an effort to save those very lives and the lives of others. And so seldom do we even acknowledge this role as we eke out our daily existence.

That's what Prometheus teaches us: to rise to the task that only we can do (and take our lumps in the process), without complaint or hesitation. Prometheus stole fire because he was fundamentally incapable of NOT doing it. You're right on target making the connection.

Be well!