Ayesha Ahmad: Medicine’s Soul Suffering

It is not so often in our contemporary clinical environment that the passages of the soul find quiet refuge. What we believe (with)in has been overturned by what we can know, as if knowing brings meaning. We know that we shall die but it does not tell us what our death will mean.

And the soul becomes elusive; lost in contradictions that the linearity of cure has brought. Because we see the body; rupturing, collapsing, disappearing, and struggling to raise the mountains that descend to crush the heart. We try to reign in the faded light of the eyes to bring the dawn again. We amplify the sound of the body’s pulsating blood so that the beat saturates the arid desert of death. We use units of time to count and measure how much life there is within, and we forget that the life escapes as subtly as it is cast upon us.

I see the bodies of the suffering where the memory falls.

To Cambodia; to the skin of the young girl, turned white from the spirit draining out after an attempt to create a suicide from her mind’s torture.

To South Africa; to the surviving skeleton, aged seven years old, so open to life that his body did not protect against possession of that which can kill, and now he is held together by his mother’s embrace.

To Kosovo; to those walking from the war, carrying in their hearts the ghosts of their families where no grave could be found to bury their memory.

So as cure carves its intricacies to induce infinity, such treatments and techniques carry stories; namely, those that belong to the narrative expression of the soul; the soul that Medicine tries to save. What Medicine forgets is that there is always suffering; suffering is indicative of the soul. We need to find a new savior; a realization that we cannot contain immortality in our clinics. Saving the body does not save the soul. We need to see the soul now; in our arts and writings and poems; here there is space.

Medicine’s soul suffering, therefore, is rather its sole suffering; – Medicine suffers because the soul is silent, and the soul suffers because there is life.