The first was a quote from a student who is halfway through their final year of study and in the middle of a long block of clinical practice. They were reflecting on their work. They wrote:
“Sometimes I feel it can be hard to take off my “physio thinking hat” and put on my human thinking hat.”
We should perhaps have a moment’s silence just to reflect on that.
The second was a paper from 2004 that highlighted the virtues of looking at the obvious and familiar in new ways.
The paper is titled Culture on the ground: The World Perceived Through the Feet (link to the full article), and in it, the author Tim Ingold explores how evolutionists privileged our heads and hands over our feet and, in doing so, reinforced the separation between humans and the natural world.
This is a lovely example of how thinking about the body – that thing that physiotherapists work with every day – can lead to some remarkable insights about the bigger world beyond the clinic.
Such thinking may be even more important these days with the radical changes that are coming with the advent of trans- and post-humanism. (Briefly, trans-humanism is the belief that we will soon be able to adapt the human body so that it will become ‘super’ human, and post-humanism argues that we are coming to the end of a 400-year project to understand the human being as sovereign, rational and autonomous, and new more holistic, interconnected ways are now needed).
You can see a great short animation of the often worrying and sometimes distinctly eugenic idea of trans-humanism in this short video.
Two thoughts cross my mind. Maybe in the future, you will be able to have a ‘physio thinking head’ and a ‘human head’ and the two can be interchanged when you need to focus only on the non-human parts of the job. You could then use your human head to think about all the reasons people really come to physiotherapy? Or maybe use your feet?