Blind faith!

We should pay attention to new developments. We should have a look at them. Even if they raze to the ground what we knew until then, we should bravely talk to friends and to those who are informed and should try to understand it before we believe in it. And of course we should not jump at anything that is called new but first be sure that we have understood it before we believe in it.

But there are people who are not prepared to change their beliefs. They do not see new developments. They say “We have a belief, we have principles!” In my opinion they are blind, deaf and dumb. For example, if they worship idols they continue to do so even if a verse comes down from God.

You know many people that fit this description, don’t you? So many people…

I could talk about many but in fear of offending them I have erased them one by one from my mind.

I will talk about only one of them. And I will make sure that he won’t be recognised!

He was a stubborn man. His wife was suffering from an illness called conversion. There were neurological symptoms that could not be explained by any laboratory finding or clinical information… Her symptoms were frequent fainting attacks. It resembled epilepsy. But neither the EEG nor clinical examination revealed any findings in favour of epilepsy. She had visited five different doctors in one year but no solution had been found. Listening to her carefully it became clear that my patient also suffered from recurrent depression. During the fainting episodes the depression worsened. I started her treatment in line with I believed to be indicated. After a four year period of successful treatment, just when things had sorted themselves out, the stubborn man asked for a private appointment. He wanted to talk about his wife. “He is welcome, let him come” I said to my secretary … He had an impertinent and self-assured manner. I had not forgotten his stubborn self-opinionated personality. He said: “We’ve been coming and going for four years and have not made an inch of progress. What kind of inattentiveness is this! I went pale. He continued with the same condescending attitude: “Anyway, I don’t believe in the science of psychiatry! You throw a handful of soil on top of the symptoms and can’t find a definite solution. Is there anything as effective as the amulet of a powerful Hodja? Which is better, that which comes from human hand or that which comes from God?”

I tried to explain to him that in the light of scientific information little was known about this illness but that by focusing on her depression we were increasing her resilience to stress and therefore to the conversion symptoms. But it was in vain… He remained stuck in his belief in the amulet as if it were a divine power. There were other people whom he called his ancestors, he believed in them. He had always been suspicious of scientific innovations and scientists… He was on the side of those who for a small fee sold the verses of God. He was not consulting scientists about things he did not know, and even if he asked he did not understand…

I nearly broke down like certain huge States that have closed their eyes to scientific and technological progress (!) but I said “My God!” and closed the subject…

Prof. Dr. Kemal Arıkan