2,200 years before Hippocrates of Cos, Greece was deemed the “father of modern medicine,” Imhotep, a Black Egyptian polymath and chief minister to Djoser (the second king of Egypt’s third dynasty) was identifying illnesses, prescribing treatment, and creating medical terminology. Later deified, the “god of medicine” in both Egypt and Greece, he believed that knowledge was only useful in application for the good of and in service of humanity…but let me stop (you know I will make this a Black history moment with the quickness — I’ll save the life story of Imhotep for another post ✊🏽??)…back to Hippocrates. One of the awesome things about him (there were many) was his similar commitment to the ethical practice of medicine which resulted in the creation of the Hippocratic Oath.
Oaths are speech rituals dating back thousands of years, covenants that became the bedrocks of law — religious and secular — and I find them very interesting and evermore necessary. As human-kind evolves — advancing technologically, historically, linguistically — our increased awareness places us at ethical crossroads more and more often. You’d assume if we knew better we’d do better, consistently. But alas, the rise and fall of civilizations demonstrate otherwise…
My wish is that we become more empathetic and that our decisions reflect our humanity over everything. I hope this leads us to progress — the expanding of definitions, valuing agency, and aligning ourselves with, and in, love. To keep my mind stayed on progress, I’ve decided that perhaps medical practitioners aren’t the only ones who need to make or take an oath. I hope this covenant, rooted in equity, thriving, and goodness catches on and changes us. Idealistic? Yes. But what is a Virgo if not (oddly) this?!. ?? ♍️ #TWISB
Here’s mine…I plan to revisit it often and revise as needed and I hope you will follow suit and create one of your own — feel free to borrow some parts of this one 😉
I commit to fulfill, to the best of my ability, this covenant:
I will respect and honor the legacies of those who have forged the paths upon which I am privileged to walk, and gladly share the knowledge with those who come after me.
I will remember that language is a responsibility and communication is an art, as well as science, and that people will remember how you made the feel as much as the words you chose to make them feel that way with.
I will say “NO” as a complete sentence whenever what is asked of me disrupts my peace, my plan, or my purpose. I will not be gaslighted (lit?) after sharing my “no” because it is mine to share, guilt-free.
I will say “YES” when the intended stands at the door (after I confer with God and get the “OK, leh go”) even when I am unsure or could become uncomfortable. I will exercise faith in myself and the God I serve by doing hard things in order to grow.
I will not be ashamed to say “I don’t know” and “I need help” especially when the skills of another are needed for my community’s well-being, progress, and benefit…and mine.
I will show up and be myself because that is the most valuable thing I can offer. I will encourage all those around me to show up as authentically and as unapologetically. Every environment I create will honor this commitment.
I will remain loyal, persist, and be a good steward of the resources I have earned, been given, and seek to accumulate for the benefit of the family that I was born to, the one I’ve created, and the larger community to which we all belong.
I have been given much, so I will give much.
I will empower the culture, make an art of living, and move consciously with the hope of being respected while I am here and remembered with affection thereafter.
May I always work to build and preserve the village and experience the joy of living a life of service on purpose.