Posted by: Witch Doctor | October 29, 2007

The Quiet Art



We witches hoard everything. Our DNA carries the junk gene. It manifests itself in the heterozygous state as an inconvenience. In the homozygous state, it is an illness.

The Witch Doctor is very afflicted with the homozygous form.

The Witch Doctor is a homozygous hoarder.

The Witch Doctor’s hoard is unimaginable, and misundertood by most humans.

Anyway, The Witch Doctor had a delightful day pottering about with clutter yesterday and came across a little book, long since forgotten. It is called “The Quiet Art – A Doctor’s Anthology” compiled by Dr Robert Coope with a forward by Sir Russell Brain. (Sir Russell Brain, for those too young to know, was fascinatingly a famous professor of neurology.) It was first published in 1952.

There will be many doctors, of a previous generation, who were given this by their parents before they started medicine, or by their chiefs in recognition for doing well in early clinical work.

Probably some of these readings from this little rediscovered book will appear on this blog from time to time.

Here’s one:

“Each one of us, however old, is still an undergraduate in the school of experience. When a man thinks he has graduated, he has become a public menace.”

John Chalmers Da Costa 1931

Funnily enough, The Witch Doctor has observed over many years, that one of the attributes of the very best doctors is the ability to comfortably say “I don’t know,” followed closely by their enthusiasm to get up off their backsides and find out. Often however, they do know, and finding out is just a matter of delving into their minds to retrieve and then update. This hidden knowledge with its associated “not really not knowing ” is very broad, and much more understated and much more efficient than the apparent “confidence” of the individual who has relied solely on a competency based training.




“To punish me for my contempt for authority, fate made me an authority myself.”

Albert Einstein

US (German-born) physicist (1879 – 1955)



The Witch Doctor believes the concept of competency based training is gaining momentum partly because those designing such training, like the majority of the population have never, for one reason or another, themselves learned at the deepest possible level. Some will be quite unaware of the complexities of deep learning. They would be quite unable to fathom out the way Einstein’s brain worked, for example.

Not all doctors, have a brain like Einstein, of course. But some, given the right circumstances and time to develop, will have that capability.

The capability, not only of solving problems they have not encountered before, but also the capablity of identifying new ideas and solving new problems that no-one has even considered before.

We should not scorn intelligence.

This nation is beginning to do just that.

Because competency is easier to understand and acknowledge than a unique human brain challenged and working in its own unique way.

Intelligence will soon become politically incorrect.

That’s what’s happening.

There cannot be excellence without considerable intellectual input.

Can there, My Black Cat?

The Witch Doctor – Link to a random page





© Photographer:Dennis Cox | Agency:

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