Professor Raymond Tallis is a philosopher, poet, novelist, cultural critic, retired medical physician and clinical neuroscientist. So getting an interview in between his busy schedule was a considerable achievement for Concrete.
What piece of advice would you give to students?
There’s a saying that the urgent drives out the important and I think that we should always keep the bigger picture in mind and although things often seem very compelling responding to that text, responding to that email, we mustn’t forget the bigger things. So don’t let the urgent drive out the important.
Do you think healthcare is political?
Healthcare is profoundly political. That is in the sense that when we believe that everybody’s entitled to universal healthcare free at the point of need according to their needs and not according to their means of pay then there’s always a constant battle for those who disagree with that. To me the NHS is a triumph of civilisation. It represents values that we should all subscribe to.
It recognises… it’s part of our recognition that we’re all in it together and that to me lies at the bottom of any decent political settlement, that we’re all in it together.
If you could only be one thing what would you be?
The very fact that I’ve tried all of them indicates that I wouldn’t be happy just to have one of them but I suppose that neurological rehabilitation is perhaps, well, neurological rehabilitation is potentially the most important the other things perhaps are sometimes more fun, so it’s offsetting the important and the fun perhaps.