In a couple of weeks, I’ll once again be in Charlottesville, Virginia, at the University of Virginia speaking to a group of highly-motivated students who want to be doctors. What I’ll tell them will have very little to do with biology and science, although we will talk a bit about that. Mostly, I’ll be telling them to pay attention to the stories that surround all of us every day, and which ultimately determine the person that we will become. Stories are magical things that help us develop empathy, that prompt us to be more altruistic, that make up the key component of our experience with illness, that cause the suffering that accompanies disease, and that hold the key to alleviating our suffering and healing us. Pretty amazing stuff, huh? Clearly important for people who want to become doctors, but important for all of us, because empathy is important for everyone, altruism is good for the world, illness comes whether we like it or not, and we all need less suffering. Get more acquainted with stories. They are good for you.

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