Doubting Thomas cannot see the IMT future

Terence Cosgrave is not the Messiah – he’s a very naughty boy

My Messiah complex has not been well of late. My experiences of the last month have led me to a place where I can well understand (and sympathise with) the frustration of previous incarnations of (obviously false) ‘Messiahs’.

The first complaint would be that there is a lack of understanding of the terms ‘life after death/printing’, the over-use of the word ‘crucified’ and the lack of any real medical understanding of the journalism world.

The first complaint arose when an American PR agency sent me their ‘condolences’ on the demise of our paper edition. I was shocked. Shocked and stunned to hear of my own demise.

I have been preaching the digital mantra now for over three years, and suddenly, when my followers are presented with the actual death of print, and the resurrection of the true medical ‘paper’, it seems to be beyond many people’s comprehension.

Paper, my friend, will have to go the way of stone tablets. For yea, since the King James Bible was written around 400 years ago, not much has been put down that is so important for human existence as to be ‘set in stone’. (A phrase as old as the Bible)Perhaps, one day, people will say, “For it is written down on paper, and therefore is truthful in all ways.”

The sheer amount of paper used for even a small medical paper is enormous and unnecessary. We are not stopping Irish Medical Times – far from it – we are re-designing our output for the 21st century to provide a news, education and entertainment service for modern Irish doctors.

I understand the power of paper. Many people have said to me over the course of my life: “There it is in black and white” – assuming that I believed what they did, that things which are written down are more accurate, more real and more true.

That was certainly true in the pre-digital age. Things that were printed were subject to libel. Rumours and gossip and stuff you might have heard at the alehouse or playhouse was not given the same credibility as the ‘things written down on paper’. Paper was transferable. Messages could be transferred without filter, intact.

But aside from serious environmental concerns, paper no longer did the job, and hadn’t done the job for many years. It took too long to print, for one thing, and cost more than it was worth. It was harder to get news out in the relevant time than it was for a rich woman to go through the eye of a needle on a camel.

Of course, digital media allows for a lot more information to get out there, and much of it is rubbish. In a recent survey conducted on the Irish electorate by Red C and Ipsos B&A 10 per cent of the voting public believe that ‘a small secret group of people is responsible for making all the decisions in world politics’. A further 24% think this is ‘probably true’ while another 20 per cent aren’t sure.

That’s more than half the people walking into your surgery who think that maybe Covid was down to Bill Gates or George Soros or Michael Jackson or whatever.

It gets worse. Of the statement ‘groups of scientists manipulate, fabricate or suppress evidence in order to deceive the public’, 28 per cent said it was either definitely or probably true.

Twenty-four per cent of people said it was definitely or probably true that ‘experiments involving new drugs or technologies are routinely carried out on the public without their knowledge or consent’.

Thirty per cent per cent said it was definitely or probably true that alternative medicine is effective in treating long-term illnesses with just 32 per cent saying it was definitely or probably untrue. More than a fifth of voters (21 per cent) said it was definitely or probably true that the Covid-19 vaccine is unsafe and ineffective, while 60 per cent said this was definitely or probably untrue.

These are all voters – the people who ultimately make the decision about who runs this country, and it would seem that many of them are ‘crucified’ with a lack of education. That word – and its variations – is perhaps one of the reasons we are so blind to reality.

We are in no sense being tortured or killed slowly by delayed payments, unruly children or people parking on footpaths. Yes, these are inconveniences, they are small set-backs on our expectations, but there are no nails involved, no Via Deloroso, no hours of extreme pain of suffering for public entertainment.

Yet people make these claims on social media and even in regular media. They hope that exaggeration and hyperbole will help their case, but in the end, we all end up using the same weapons in an on-going arms race to find the dictionary’s most impressive term for our personal torment – the fact that the dishwasher won’t clean all the plates completely.

With all this hyperbole, exaggeration, innuendo, dog-whistling and manipulation, a website that takes over for the paper that used to arrive at your clinic or home will do a far better job than the actual paper paper ever did by providing funds for journalism instead of printing, postage and paper.
It will be different, of course. It will be on your phone and not in the post.

But it will be the ‘truth’, the way and the life of Irish medicine as it has always been. It will be the most recognised and trusted brand for medical information. It will be a ‘resurrection’ of sorts, and while I can clearly see it, I wouldn’t expect everyone to have my vision.

An online source that has credibility will be the ‘paper’ of the future. It will surpass any successes IMT has had in the past because of its business model, and will run and run for a long time. Perhaps until the end of the world – depending on Russia and China.

Blessed are those who don’t see and yet believe.

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