Teaching and language enable the passing of knowledge from both generation to generation and also across more than two in one step. This is further enhanced by writing which greatly improves the accuracy, longevity and reliability of knowledge transmission compared with oral.
So, with languages and writing so good and words so concept and meaning rich, why am I drawing graphs and pictures to communicate health matters to patients? Is it because medical speak is too obtuse for the average punter? Have we made medical concepts too complex for ordinary words? Is this deliberate, part of the paternalistic control game of old, and part of the hierarchical world of medicine that once required all doctors to learn an archaic language used only by priests and lawyers? I wonder if Mandarin, Māori or Java would have been better languages to learn?
Nowadays, doctors are actually taught how to communicate with patients as opposed to the expectation that such skills would be acquired by osmosis, as in the hospital ward learning environment of my youth. But does anyone teach young doctors how to draw or even what to draw? Is there a medical pictogram dictionary? A scaffold in vocational training?
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a photograph must be worth a lot more for they are true representations. So, what’s the message in this one?