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When the gods howled

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Parable: When the gods howled
Mauricio Goihman-Yahr MD PhD
Dermatology Online Journal 15 (6): 11

Professor (E) of Dermatology and Immunology
Vargas School of Medicine
Central University of Venezuela
Caracas, Venezuela.

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed in this paper are those of the author. They do not represent, nor pretend to represent those of the Central University of Venezuela.

In Mesopotamian mythology, the Deluge is a tragic event of central importance. It was caused not only by misbehavior of men, but by a complex conflict between gods that involved their attitudes towards human beings created to do work. A major deity created both the Flood and the associated gales that eliminated most human beings (except those that built an Ark). However, the other gods themselves were direly afraid and howled in fear and despair.

Major catastrophes generally present without a simple understandable cause and have no clear-cut end or remedy. Thus, terrible fear, hate, uncontrolled anxiety, and anguish are the results. Economic crises are major catastrophes; sometimes they are sudden. Often, however, the premonitory signs are there, but are hazy and might not be perceived. The causes are complex and intertwined. The end is not easy to foresee. Parameters and guidelines are lost. Incomes disappear and even real estate is not "real" any more. Such crises are like floods indeed. Waters go up and up and no matter how high one stays, not even hills nor peaks provide certain protection. Under such conditions, fear and rage set in and howling (real or imagined) is difficult to suppress.

What is there to do? Well… Build an Ark. An Ark floats no matter how high the flood. If staunchly built, it can defy the winds. No individual catastrophe lasts forever, but its sequels can indeed be recurring and long enduring. Thus, the Ark has to contain not only the means to survive the Flood, but also what is necessary to rebuild well and swiftly. The new world will not be soft and easy, but it might be more just. It might be designed so as to retain the better features of the old order without so many of its flaws. As tragedies occur, an Ark might not be a solution, but thinking (and not howling) will surely lead to an appropriate one.

© 2009 Dermatology Online Journal