The Hippocratic Oath
Muse #270 - the forgotten morality of learning
I have been thinking about morality a lot by connecting several of my readings. Yesterday, I wrote about Karl Popper and his idea of reducing avoidable suffering. It is interesting to note the use of the word “avoidable” - once you start looking for the avoidable, one tends to see a multitude of things that can be changed where suffering can be reduced. There is therefore no end to the progress that can be made.
Continuing Popper’s concept of morality, another topic that struck me deeply. This was about the concept of the “Hippocratic Oath” (attributed to the Greek physician Hippocrates 460–370 BC) - often used by doctors now. But it was interesting to note that this concept did not come up as an oath to the profession before one graduated. But, this was supposed to be when one signed up to be an apprentice so that it guided their learning.
In areas of rigor, respect, and responsibility so that one could learn through the use of this lens or perspective while one learns. This is certainly not something that you undertake on the last day when you pass out of school which it has now come to be.
This understanding changes everything, but then again in the modern age, everything now is mostly about labels and plaques, and not deep meaning. Though a few do get the concept of deep morality early. All the same, a good place to start is before one starts the never-ending journey of learning.
Popper was also instrumental to develop a Scientific Oath similar to the Hippocratic Oath though again it is an idealistic structure. If one an oath can change something to have a level of craftsmanship then pigs will be flying around in a lot of craft-driven organizations rather than what we see in the world today.
It will be wonderful for organizations to use constructs like these and just the fact that they use them would mean they stand for some kind of real diversity and metacognition at work. Yet, perhaps only a pipe dream.
Oh, then again, we can continue to dream though of a better world. One that reduces avoidable suffering. Now, I am back to running in circles.