March 31, 2010

Wednesday Wisdom

The desire to take medicine is perhaps the greatest feature which distinguishes man from animals.

Sir William Osler


  1. Anonymous10:24 AM

    Sir William may be a little surprised to learn that humans are animals (der) and many of his "animals" are way ahead of us; always have been and always will be.


  2. I don't know Justin, I think the human "desire" is less instinctive ... more driven by "desire" than by need. Animals instinctively recognize a need.

    Of course, the flip side, as you suggest, is that humans primarily self-medicate. I'd say self-medication in humans is minor, the primary part of medication is, as we learn more scientifically, superfluous ... nothing better than placebos. Perhaps animals have the equivalent of placebos too.

  3. Anonymous9:46 PM

    I agree, it's a hard one Caz, but I have observed animals do very human things at times; as I have observed humans doing very animal things.

    This may be of interest:

    Animals on Drugs

    "The questions that remain are: what incites the animals to brake their powerful preservation instincts? Do they drug themselves consciously?"


  4. Anonymous9:49 PM

    Oh I forgot, this in the SMH last week:

    ''I run a bar,'' writes Chris Purcell, of Morpeth, ''and a customer who worked in far north Queensland years back tells of picking up a parrot in a town street. The bird kept falling off the kerb into the gutter. It seems parrots chew holes in mangoes and return later when the fruit has fermented - consequently you see parrots hanging upside down and falling over in the street. The origin of 'pissed as a parrot'?''


  5. Damned interesting Justin.

    Osler was dead wrong. Not wise, just ignorant!