Slip back in time, recall our distant ancestors, hearts filled with hope, fear and belief, bowing their heads as they passed through a low narrow entry into a darkened interior where a tribal shaman held the medicinal wisdom of his or her time. The healing hands that held their fate carried the knowledge of herbs, roots, barks, berries and incantations handed on from one generation to another.
In the opening years of the twenty-first century, glass, marble and concrete mark our entrance into a remarkable, sophisticated, rapidly-evolving world of contemporary medicine. Caught in an intimidating web spun of technological strands from different disciplines of medicine, we submit to treatment and for a suspended moment feel like the captive prey of an exotic predator. We find we have entrusted our healing to complex medical technology that in appearance often feels alarmingly more medieval than modern. Now, unlike distant times, we share our individual, private experience of our own mortality with strangers. We embrace the medical wisdom of our time, knowing as we do that inevitably we will feel – and we will be – alone.