EARLY MODERN MEDICINE: Paracelsus on the art of the physician.
Physician vs. Nature
- The physician is only the servant of nature, not her master.
- No disease comes from the physician, nor any cure. He can only aggravate the course of the disease, but he can also improve it.
Book knowledge vs. Experience
- The patient should be the physician’s book.
- A man cannot draw the theory of medicine from his head, but from what his eyes see and his fingers touch.
- The art of medicine cannot be inherited, nor can it be copied from books.
- It must be digested many time and many times spat out. One must always re-chew it and knead it thoroughly, and one must be alert while learning it not doze like peasants turning over pears in the sun.
- The longer the book, the shorter the insight to be gained; the longer the prescription, the smaller its effect.
(Source: Paracelsus, Selected Writings, trans. Norbert Guterman)