An Open Letter To Dr X
My Dear Friend,
I feel so honoured to be your friend. We share some attributes in common....chief of which is our literary bent. I have gone through your website. Such a handful bit of content I must confess! I made some observations therefrom. And these lead me to make the following comments:
MY COMMENTS ON YOUR CLASSIFICATION OF THINKERS.
Your Classification of Thinkers is broad-based and brilliant!
It is not confined...or dwell only on thinking for future bettering or comfort of self...presumably from a material angle!
Its main theme is woven around a clear vision of what the individual wants out of life...his thoughts of it....and his step-wise but sure steps towards actualising it....with no mention of comfort to self or material acquisitions for self!
Notwithstanding the foregoing, I find it pertinent to make the following additional comments:
Even though future self-actualisation, achievement, accomplishment or satisfaction may not be confined to the precincts of materialism...as there are things surely nobler than material..., a renowned thinker must think beyond self!
A worthy thinker would think about proferring solutions to others...individual....or collective...including communities, nations, continents and other groups...solicited or unsolicited. Notable examples of thinkers whose thoughts have impacted human lives globally exist in science...and you are a scientist! Principles. Theories. Laws. Inventions. Solution to scientific enquiry may give satisfaction not quantifiable in monetary terms to the inventor.
And not all results of deep scientific enquiry are necessarily patented!
Solution to a mathematical problem...or proof of a mathematical theory....may be such a clear vision which upon attainment may impact both the mathematician and humanity in no small measure!
A man may for instance notice some flaws in a book and strenuously apply himself to offer corrections....with such committed....if not compulsive verve.
He may identify himself with a particular depraved community, elect to live among them and impact their lives...
About a decade and half ago, I for instance, spotted some errors in a popular textbook of Anatomy. I felt stimulated enough to go back to page one....and proceeded to embark on an unsolicited review of the entire text...detecting over a hundred errors...which were acknowledged by the authors. One of its authors is an emeritus professor!
My efforts compelled the authors to send me a letter penned in superlatives. It made them insert a new index....and acknowledge me in the 5th Edition....as the only African. The only contributor with just an MBBS. And the only fellow who did not merely contribute a radiograph, a plate, a slide or a picture!
I was not given a cent. I didn't expect any... Many friends pestered me to demand for fees for such editing duties...or request the authors' assistance to emigrate to the US. I saw those friends as small minds!
An article of mine was cogently reminiscent of the prevalence of the renowned thinkers of the last century... Titled "Kudos To Solitude", it reads inter alia...
" The art of thinking was well embraced in the last two centuries....especially in the Americas. Whenever a knotty problem needed to be solved, corporations summoned a reknowned thinker of the day....and provided him his simple "apparatuses"....a chair....a dark room....noiselessness....solitude for hours!....at the end of which he received a handsome pay!"
A worthy thinker would be no less concerned than obsessed with problems besetting his immediate and remote environment.....his neighbours....his community....his professional and social groups....his state....his nation....humanity....other creatures....even plants!
For what motivates thinking...deep thinking in higher planes is the obsession to find solutions to earthly problems. Inventions have a huge place here...but not material actualisation of self...or material acquisitions for self!
A writer once wrote that the real essence of life resides in the number of faces you bring smiles to.
Another author impuned that it would be meaningless if we really get to heaven and all we can chronicle are the fancy cars we rode, the fancy houses we inhabited, the fancy meals and wines we imbibed, the fancy holidays we had, and the fancy women we had....while on earth....
It is not grandstanding to state that we brought nothing to the world and would take nothing along when we leave it.
MY TAKE ON PRO BONO SERVICES.
Your efforts at providing free medical services to your community are noteworthy.
There is nobility in the occasional pro bono service.
Doing free antenatals, free labs, free ultrasound scans et al in one's private practice may be well-intentioned..but you may by so doing, be undercutting your colleagues...especially when free services are so rendered on such general scale and in such a huge nature.
The blunt truth is that by inadvertently cutting off the life-lines of your colleagues, you are harrying them into financial ruin and taking food out of their mouths!
Your practice may be overflowing with patients while some doctors in your locale may not see a single patient for weeks....consequent upon your policy!
What exactly is the real driving force behind your pro bono inclinations...just a giving heart....or a cold business strategy?
I recall your allusion to great minds being ruthlessly unmindful of stepping on toes to achieve their goals....and wonder if such is the principle propelling you in your massive pro bono drive!
Have you done a quick comparative study of patient attendance in your practice and your nearby colleagues....and the financial health of nearby colleagues in solo practice....compared to yours?
How many hospitals near you have had to close shop in say, the last two years? How many colleagues' marriages have collapsed due to financial insovency? How many have had to quit medical practice prematurely? How many have scurried abroad to engage in menial jobs? Or even committed suicide?
You might have expected me to ask you why you asked me such personal questions for which I just provided answers over and above the scope of the questions asked...
I am sure you would be amazed that I would say so much to a near stranger...for this is indeed my "inaugural" interaction with you after we became friends!
So I should like to know...albeit belatedly...the reasons why you pose such direct probing personal questions to me.
Dr Tosin Akindele is a medical practitioner and public affairs analyst.