Nom de guerre: Al Hakim the Bushman
Al Hakim: In historical civilizations of the Silk Road, a physician was referred to as Al-Hakim. Hakim’s were not only physicians but philosophers and scientists. The word hakim became synonymous with “the wise,” or “practitioner of wisdom.” These were the polymaths of their day and included such influential thinkers as the Persian Avicenna (Ibn-Sina), the Andalusian Averroes (Ibn Rushd), and the Jewish Maimonides. They combined medical skill with intimate knowledge of the natural sciences, philosophy, and metaphysics. Their genius lay in their ability to incorporate observations made from history, diverse cultures and fields of knowledge into wide-ranging theories. These hakim’s were skilled observers and utilized these observations, created hypotheses, tested these hypotheses. They were the precursors to the scientific method and quintessential empiricists and ‘inductionists.’
Bushman: The “bushman” metaphor is in homage to these ancient people who we encountered on our trip to Namibia and Botswana. These hunters and gatherers pursued a way of life that was until very recently (~10,000 years) a human universal. The bushmen consider themselves a part of nature rather than different or above nature and possess a physicality, a spirit, and a unique internal and external outlook. They have an unyielding confidence in the gifts of the environment. They lived in small bands and thrived by hunting and foraging. They had a social structure that reinforced a deep sense of egalitarianism and thrived for more than a 100,000 years in a dynamic equilibrium with the ecosystem on a limited material culture and limited technologies. They are characterized as the “original affluent society” and their economic approach is termed “primitive affluence.” As James Suzann documents in his book, the Abundance of Affluence, the bushmen culture withstood the uncertainties of time, coped with periods of relative scarcity, and mastered the art of living in the moment. They possessed a structural physicality, adaptability, and resilience that enabled that success. There is undoubtedly a “hunter-gatherer in all of us” and our yearning for freedom, equality, and spirituality is a testament to that lineage.
I am a formally trained Emergency Physician, MBA, and an Informaticist. I take inspiration from these Silk Road hakim’s and aspire to be a life long polymath with interests in history, pre-history, evolutionary medicine, and information philosophy. Furthermore, I take inspiration from our Bushman past, and look to live my life in deference of the unknown, but nonetheless, strive to develop a resilience and physicality in response to the unknowable. The ancient Greek philosophers introduced the concept of eudaimonia and developed philosophies around achieving this flourishing life. In my opinion, a eudaimonic life is not the result of “hedonistic, lotus-eating approach to life…[it] requires determination and discipline.” The best chance of achieving eudaimonia is to “embrace of beauty and pursuit of pleasure – pleasure not as sensual debauchery but as the sense of well-being embodied in living justly and lovingly in a generosity of spirit.” I derive pleasure from learning, I see beauty in authenticity and will use this blog as an expression of that pursuit and vision.