Man, motivated by his ego and lured by his apparent superiority, has always tried to distinguish himself from other beings. I was interested in this “dilemma” ,and while exploring the answers, I came across many definitions. Some said he was an animal which had the ability to think, others defined him by his ability to read, and yet others believed that man was different because he recognized the inevitability of death .
These arguments made sense, but the last one in particular I found intriguing. In my opinion, it’s man’s understanding of this very basic fact which gives him his special qualities. When you’re aware of your own mortality and the fact that your time in this life is limited, you’ll try to make the best of this time to create, to develop, to enrich the world, to leave a clue that you were once here, and to achieve something which tells your successors that despite the fact that it’s unlikely that they’ll ever defeat death, it’s best if they die trying.
My opinion gained evidence during the first days of my service at the hospital. In there, I’ve seen many of the faces of death. I witnessed an old lady with a brain tumor taking her very last breaths. I saw a young man who suffered severe head injury which left him brain-dead, so he was basically alive without even knowing it. I saw and saw, and as I observed I couldn’t help but think about the instability of life, and how at a glimpse it could all turn upside down. At times, I would imagine suffering the same condition, and I would find myself thanking Allah for the current moments I’m living and feeling grateful for every second I have. And there were incidences when I would drown into these thoughts and lose attachment to my surroundings only to come back to reality few minutes later when the doctor asks me a question or something.
The emotions were overwhelming; my reaction to such sights was immense. It was “Humane” and so was its impact. This affection was loading me with great well to do my best to relieve the pain for those who suffer. It seemed to me that this would be the print I’m leaving.
But as the days passed, they carried with them an unpleasant change. My strong reaction was fading; the affection is lessening! The compassion is still there, but it’s just not making the same influence. Patients were souls to be salvaged, and their complaints were stories to be told. They are now simply puzzles to be solved! I’ve come to realize this change lately, and I’ve been since confused, asking myself many questions: Does this make me any less of a human, a machine maybe? Were my concepts wrong at the first place? Or is this a normal human thing, an adaptation, a divine blessing which keeps the wheels going? If it is, is it supposed to happen this fast?! Would my fantasies about finding a cure for cancer fade eventually, too?
The first assumption was particularly irritating, and I wouldn’t even dare to consider it, but the rest weren’t any easier, too! All the questions are tough and the answers to them -once found- are disturbing. They all dig deep into my self-perception.
The quest for answers continues, but as it does, and although I know it actually may never end, part of me is now relieved because lately, I’ve come to realize that asking such questions is in itself part of being human, and this is an answer.