The Strange Case of the Spotted Mice and Other Classic Essays on Science

By Peter Medawar | Go to book overview

18
Son of stroke 1

Where to be ill. Large teaching hospitals are recommended. Unless privacy is of overriding importance or you really dislike your fellow men don't go into a private ward. The nursing won't be better than in a public ward, and may easily be much worse. Besides, in a public ward you will be entertained all day by the unfolding of the human comedy and by contemplating what literary people call the Rich Tapestry of Life.

Long stays in hospital. Lying in bed for any length of time is itself a weakening process, as you will soon find when you try to get up. in adequately staffed hospitals, however, physiotherapists will keep your muscles and joints in working order.

An analogous treatment is necessary for the mind. It is a natural tendency of the mind to come to and remain at a complete standstill. This is a principle of Newtonian stature. Prolonged disuse of the brain is also bad for you. Try therefore to think or converse about something other than the exigencies of hospital life and your own piteous plight. Guests come in useful here (see below: Visitors) and so do books.

Books. Books, if you are well enough to read them, are crucially important for entertainment and keeping the mind in working order. Some serious works should therefore be among them. Remember, however, that if you didn't understand Chomsky when you were well, there is nothing about illness that can give you an insight into the working of his mind. Do not read a genuinely funny book within a week of having had an abdominal operation. So far from giving you stitches, it will probably deprive

-203-

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The Strange Case of the Spotted Mice and Other Classic Essays on Science
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Foreword - The Phenomenon of Medawar v
  • Contents xiii
  • Introduction xiv
  • 1 - The Phenomenon of man 1
  • 2 - Hypothesis and imagination 12
  • 3 - Is the scientific paper a fraud? 33
  • 4 - The Act of Creation 40
  • 5 - Darwin's illness 52
  • 6 - Two conceptions of science 59
  • 7 - Science and the sanctity of life 72
  • 8 - J.B.S. 86
  • 9 - Lucky Jim 94
  • 10 - On 'the effecting of all things possible' 104
  • 11 - Further comments on psychoanalysis 120
  • 12 - The strange case of the spotted mice 132
  • 13 - Unnatural science 144
  • 14 - Florey story 162
  • 15 - In defence of doctors 170
  • 16 - Expectation and prediction 182
  • 17 - Scientific fraud 196
  • 18 - Son of stroke*** 203
  • 19 - The question of the existence of God 207
  • 20 - On living a bit longer 212
  • Notes 218
  • Sources 228
  • Index 231
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