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IRJ-QR#8 September 29, 2009

Posted by andrewg2013 in Quick Response.

Providing Hope: Tricked into Security

In the short story “The Fifty-First Dragon”, Gawaine le Cœur-Hardy kills fifty dragons by saying the ‘magic word’ Rumplesnitz. When the Headmaster reveals to Gawaine that this word meant nothing, he said, “’It wasn’t magic in a literal sense … but it was much more wonderful than that. The word gave you confidence,’” (Broun 6)

In the context of the story, this quote describes the way Gawaine was tricked into becoming a hero by the Headmaster. Gawaine had been psychologically tricked because of his fear of failure. He depended upon his ‘magic’ to do the fighting for him. Similarly, Mr. Wright, who had cancer in the lymph nodes, had high hopes for the drug Krebiozen, and doctors gave it to him. After 13 days he left the hospital. Later, he relapsed because of news reports that questioned the efficiency of the drug. The doctors lied and told him that they were going to give him a double dose of the drug when really none was in the shot. Mr. Wright left the hospital with no symptoms, but months later, when he found out that the drug was useless, he died within days.

This psychological ‘trick’, sometimes called the placebo effect in medicine, provides the brain with the natural phenomenon of false wellness or welfare. The beliefs and the ideas that a person may have about their condition produce the result. This idea in the brain allows outside effects to change the situations that aren’t completely in our power. Without this, people wouldn’t be able to change the inevitable, or have hope for the future.

It is this hope that powers people to move forward, and although things may be changed by point of view individually, they remain the standard for anybody to break, in a good way, or bad way.

Proposition: Humans can be tricked by their own inclination to have hope, and the way that things may be perceived allows for the future to turn out any way they wish.



1. shelleyg2013 - September 30, 2009

Human hope and desire do have the ability to affect the future, but I wonder if this applies to every situation, or even most situations. I believe that humans may be able to influence the outcome of an event only if their hopes and wishes are accompanied and assisted by an outside cause. In Mr. Wright’s experience, for example, he lives for so long without symptoms because of his hope and the faith he put in the authority and knowledge of the doctors. In my opinion, positive thinking and wishing something may happen can only take you so far in life; being able to back them up with action and words allows more probability for a wish to actually materialize.
Are changes in one’s life accountable to what one perceives or the actions they take based on what they perceive?
Does using the placebo effect on another person eventually yield good results?
How do we know that perceiving something without taking physical actions actually brings about changes and does not happen to be a coincidence?

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