“Life is not about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” ~ George Bernard Shaw
When 39-year old Salvatore Iaconessi—robotic engineer and professor of design at La Sapienza University of Rome—was diagnosed with brain cancer, he was forced to face his digital medical records and a new life he knew nothing about.
He suddenly turned into a patient of something he couldn’t fully understand. At least not outside the medical connotation.
So, what now? Do you have cancer or does cancer have you?
Not content with the fullness and complexity of his humanity being replaced by a one-dimensional diagnosis, Salvatore turned his medical records into open-source documents to share with the world, in an online crowd-sourced healing process he called The Cure.
“We can transform the meaning of the word ‘cure.’ We can transform the role of knowledge. We can be human,” reads The Cure’s motto.
The response he has received since mid-September, after making his records public and reaching out to the world for a cure, is nothing short of spectacular.
A TED fellow for his Art is Open Source project, seeking to “reinvent the world using ubiquitous technologies,” Salvatore gave a surprise talk at TEDx Transmedia 2012 in Rome, this past September—in which he explains what made him engage in this interconnected healing process and turn a dreaded medical confinement into an open art escape.
Yet another proof that art serves as a bridge not only to heal the mind but the whole, complex and multi-dimensional human being, Salvatore’s current healing plan is a result of over 50,000 different strategies to cure cancer, sent to him by different people in our global community, who contributed with their advice.
This is his story. (But it could also be your own).
Our lesson and equivalent, self-healing mission?
Don’t underestimate the human element, the power of the people and our interconnectedness. Don’t let yourself be reduced to a number, a face, a medical record, a name, a bank account. You are more than the sum of your parts, the charts, statistics or probabilities of your health and illness. And we—all of us—are powerful beyond measure.
Art opens locked doors without a logical key. Creativity connects impossible dots without a pen. And we are each our own complex, unique and unprecedented, breathing work of art. All it takes is for us to believe it.
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