There Will Always Be a Protest
Brian E. Denton

“Holistic medicine” and the complexity of the body can be compared with social/historical processes. I thought this was a key line for Tolstoy’s philosophical concerns:

“не болезнь легких, печени, кожи, сердца, нервов и т. д., записанных в
медицине, но болезнь, состоящую из одного из бесчисленных соединений в страданиях этих органов” — “not a disease of the lungs, liver, skin, heart, nerves etc. as known to medicine, but a disease of one of the countless combinations of illness in these organs”.

Of course Tolstoy is writing at a time when there were no antibiotics, anaesthesia was highly experimental, and the idea of “germs” was new and controversial. Doctors could be regarded as a parallel for the generals/”great men” on the battlefield — a consolation to the participants but having little practical effect.

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