EARLY MODERN MEDICINE: The good surgeon.
According to Paracelsus, the good surgeon has
- a clear conscience
- a desire to learn and to gather experience
- a greater regard for his honour than for money.
- a good wife: He must not be married to a bigot.
- He should not be a runaway monk.
- He should not practice self-abuse.
- He must not have a red beard.
- He should get 8 hours of sleep, be awake from about four in the morning until about eight in the evening. He must learn not just from university profs, but also consult old women, gypsies, magicians, wayfarer, and all manner of peasant folk and random people.
The good physician should be aware that
- It is not God’s design that the remedies should exist for us ready-made, boiled, and salted, but that we should boil them ourselves.
- There are thousands of stomachs, consequently, if you gather a thousand persons, each of them will have a different kind of digestion.
- Crash diets don’t work. Don’t fill your belly all week long, and abstain from all food except bread and water on Fridays and Saturdays. Don’t take your fill of meat throughout the year, and touch nothing during Lent. This puts unequal weights on the scales of nature.
(Source: Paracelsus, Selected Writings, trans. Norbert Guterman)