The Recuperation of Humanism in the Context of the Martial Society: Homer, Anton Schneeberger, Kurt Lewin, and Narrative Medicine
The humanist tradition developed in the Renaissance that not only cultivated the human spirit but applied its knowledge for the purpose of improving society across various humanist and scientific disciplines is not altogether extinct. Using the erudite Swiss physician and botanist Anton Schneeberger (1530–1581) as a founding father of sorts of modern humanist medicine confronted with war, I discuss the recuperation of humanism in the twentieth century, first in the thought of psychologist Kurt Lewin (1890–1947) who, under war circumstances, produced a work whose analytical acumen can still be used today, and subsequently in the creation of the discipline of narrative medicine that, unwittingly perhaps, echoes Schneeberger’s insight into the imperative of inserting storytelling into the practice of both patient- and physician-centered medicine. In the background of the argument is the existence of a new society, a martial society that functions as if there were war despite its ostensible state of peace.
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