Written on the wall of The Old Operating Theater is “Miseratione Non Mercede” which translates to “For compassion not for gain.” While it seems like the doctors who would have once performed operations here were in no way compassionate, these words really stuck with me. There are so many who make their decisions solely on their own benefit, that it’s sometimes hard to remember that there can possibly be anyone who truly lives by these words. I find them inspiring as to not give up on humanity quite yet.
Another motto, this time that of the British Royal Society, “Nullius in Verba” translates to “take nobody’s word for it.” I really like the idea of living by these words as well, to always be skeptical, to always want to prove it to/for yourself, etc. Take nobody’s word for it. The words feel like a teasing or inviting challenge to me. I hope to make a career out of research so these are motivating words.
I’m a huge fan of classic rock music, so in my free time I wanted to do a bit of a “music tour” where I went to look for different musical artist’s plaques around London. I saw the plaques for The Who, Pink Floyd, Ziggy Stardust, and of course went to Abbey Road. The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars is one of favorite albums (I even named my neon green Jeep wrangler ‘Ziggy’ after the David Bowie persona). This type of music is my favorite because the albums will often tell a story as the records were meant to be listened to all the way through. You can appreciate the music better too if you learn and understand the time in history in which they were written/produced. For example, the album, The Final Cut by Pink Floyd is another favorite of mine. It’s an anti-war concept album that tells the story of the tragedy and loss of the “post-war dream,” and how British lives were affected and changed due to WWII. It isn’t just something you learn about in school in order to pass a test, it’s real people who experienced these horrific events and they were brave enough to turn it into something beautiful that can be shared for generations, in the hopes that it never happens again. Perhaps the historical event we are going through currently will produce the same. It’s interesting to gain historical perspective through music. Listen deeper.
2 thoughts on “Three Pictures, Three Words”
Every year, the students ask me what I plan to do while in London. You’ve inspired me to visit the Blue Plaques related to classic rock groups – now I know how I’ll answer that question next year! (You must have loved the paintings in our hotel lobby!)
One thing that I have learned from this class is that you can generally appreciate science if you understand the history of the time of discoveries. You made this observation with music (and I suspect it’s true with most things). I m glad you had time to discover a little of both on this trip.