Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Humor and Healing

A cheerful disposition is good for your health; gloom and doom leave you bone-tired.
Proverbs 17:22 The Message (MSG)

It was an unplanned event, but we did get to attend the local university’s performance of Moliere’s The Doctor In Spite of Himself.  This performance was a 21st century adaptation of a 17th century farce on the foibles of medicine.  It is hard to fine any humor in medicine, so this was a welcomed critique.  One of Moliere’s famous quotes is:  “As the purpose of comedy is to correct the vices of men, I see no reason why anyone should be exempt.”

I was reminded of the medical student shows “roasting” their professors and the first modern exploration of the healing power of laughter, Norman Cousin’s The Anatomy of an Illness. (1979)  This remarkable work taught us the value of comedy in medicine.  Later we were entertained by the true story of Dr. Patch Adams (1998) and his practice of healing humor.  But for Moliere, the purpose of the comedy was critique and a mirror on the deceit and pretention of the medical profession.

So let us continue to laugh at ourselves and find again the joy of medicine…it is a biblical prescription!



Willms, J. L. (1999). A Doctor in Spite of Himself. Retrieved from

Cousins, N. (1983). Anatomy of an Illness. Bantam Doubleday Dell.

M.D, P. A. (1998). Gesundheit!: Bringing Good Health to You, the Medical System, and Society through Physician Service, Complementary Therapies, Humor, and Joy (Revised ed.). Healing Arts Press.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad for your sense of humor, Marv. Next time we're together, I will have plenty of humor about medicine to share with you. It will be fun, I'm sure. :)