14 November 2005

Ludwig Van Beethoven

Our Malaysian friend, Bayi, never fails to send us interesting emails regularly. Yesterday, he sent another good one which I would like to share with all of you, especially with my readers and friends who are also in the health profession. Here's his brief email:
If you knew a woman who was pregnant and she had 8 kids already...of which 3 of them were deaf, 2 were blind and 1 was mentally retarded....and she had syphilis, would you recommend that she should have an abortion?

If you answered "yes", then, you would have killed Beethoven.

[BAYI's Email dated 13 Nov 2005, 8:00 am]

I love Beethoven's music. How can I forget it? My Dad used to play Beethoven's Sonata in C sharp minor op. 27 no. 2 (popularly known as the Moonlight Sonata) when I was a small kid. My Mama even told me that even when she was pregnant with me, my Dad would frequently encourage her to listen to Beethoven's music while having her siestas. This was long, long before the hype of the Mozart Effect. Whether it worked or not is debatable, but I can assure you that among the classical music masters, I'm a bit partial to Mr. Ludwig B.

Bayi's email is an obvious attempt to encourage a pro-life choice against those who wantonly abort babies at the first sign of trouble, be it medical or any other personal reason. Rather than discuss the merits and demerits of abortion --- which I think you're already very familiar with --- I believe you would find it more interesting to have a look at a compendium of Beethoven's medical history.

'Truly a remarkable man. He played the piano with gusto and passion even if he was deaf, and suffering from "long-term hepatitis."

7 reactions:

bayi said...

Yes, pro-life. Because someone was pro-life, God's gift to us in the form of Beethoven's music was not lost!

Dr E said...

Amen to that, Bayi. Thanks for the email.

JY said...

The question on Beethoven was grossly wrong or rather there's a lack of information making it bias and one-sided and that we will be inclined to choose the "yes" option. He wasn't the 8th child to be born and a check with some websites seems to suggest that his mother is not mentally unstable.

Dr E said...

I agree with you, JY. I think Beethoven was the 2nd child in their family, and only 3 of them survived during their lifetimes. Here's a family tree I found on the net. The email did not say that his mother was "mentally unstable." Rather, it was one of his siblings. But as I've said, rather than to debate the merits and demerits of abortion, I chose to concentrate on the compendium of medical illnesses ascribed to him while he was alive.

rolly said...

I have always marvelled at Beethoven's genius. Imagine a deaf man composing all those classical music while being deaf. As you know, hearing is a most important sense in music.

My favorite Beethoven's piece is Romance in F. Gives me a chill everytime it reaches the high notes in the violin.

goeman said...

that's probably the reason why beethoven's music is so much more melancholic. i like mozart, but i'd choose beethoven any day of the week. and have you noticed why of his 9 symphonies, the odd numbered ones are the most beautiful (#5, 7 and 9 for example)

Anonymous said...

Beethoven's mother and father were medically sound at the time of conception. He was the 2nd son, his older brother died six days after being born. None of his siblings were deaf, blind or mentally unstable as this urban myth/anti-abortion argument goes when passed around like the "whisper game". It is something to think about that a potential Beethoven might not exist, so maybe we should seize on every opportunity to procreate. From the logic of your argument you could be justified to even rape someone so the potential of a Beethoven isn't lost. Why is it that anti-abortion proponents tend to use the least sound logic? Oh, right they usually believe in absurdities to begin with.