A mythology of engagement

Asclepius was the God of Medicine. Whispers reached him that medical research was sometimes guilty of forgetting about people and mere citizens were beginning to lose trust in the process. So, he created the God of Interpretation – Translatus. From Mount Olympus, Translatus proclaimed: “We need to do more to inform, inspire, engage and involve people with and in medical research”. It helped that he could say this in several languages.

To support him in his task, it seemed logical to enlist the help of four sprites: Informus, Engagus, Inspirus and Involvus. Informus carefully laid out every available fact and figure about medical research, clearly and with infographics, according to Olympian institutional guidelines, font size, colour palette and prescribed language in a 396 slide PowerPoint presentation. “Who in all of Greece is going to read that?”, sniggered Engagus. Engagus had procured an interactive stand at the Panathenaea, complete with Archimedean buoyancy aids for younger Greeks to take away. “Where’s the depth, man?” countered Inspirus. Inspirus had created a magical mystery tour of the human body via the medium of interpretative mime. “And the point is…?”, snorted Involvus, who until then had been running a focus group with patients under a tree, listening actively and carefully. Informus impatiently looked at the antikythera mechanism on his wrist. All of Hades broke out.

Dejected, Translatus returned to Asclepius who had taken refuge up Mount Parnassus. “How do I get myself out of this fine mess?”, he asked. Asclepius shook out his picnic blanket with his Rod and invited him to sit with him and the polis who had escaped the fisticuffs. Sheepishly, Informus, Engagus, Inspirus and Involvus limped over. Muses appeared as if from nowhere, bearing fresh nectar tea. “Are you all sitting comfortably?”, they hummed, “then let’s begin…”.

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Image credit: http://fineartamerica.com/featured/rod-of-asclepius-li-van-saathoff.html. Rod Of Asclepius is a piece of digital artwork by Li van Saathoff.

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