The Common Vein (TCV) is a learning process that clarifies the complexities of biology and medicine.
Complexity is the prodigy of the world.
Simplicity is the sensation of the universe.
Behind complexity, there is always simplicity to be revealed.
Inside simplicity, there is always complexity to be discovered —
The Common Vein is a tree of knowledge that brings simplicity to the complexity of human biology and medicine. Its arborized organization enables a stepwise, progressive approach to self learning. Any student who can read, and who is motivated, will advance through this rich network of material. Most principles begin with a simple word or concept, within which resides encyclopedic complexity. The root elements of that word can be explained in a sentence, which then progresses in volume and complexity to a paragraph, then a chapter, then a book, and beyond.
Imagine a library with all of its books strewn over the floor. It would be nearly impossible to navigate the available information. Efficient organization of information is the key to understanding it. This concept holds true in any field of education.
From a Background of Complexity to an Organized Simplicity
The above art-piece shows a background of extensive, pixellated, and seemingly inaccessible information. As it organizes into the central, conical figure, it begins to make sense. The word at the bottom of the cone becomes defined into its key elements (the 5 different colors of the circle). A definition follows, which succinctly describes the essence of those principles. These elements advance to greater complexity at the next level: the paragraph. Each elemental principle is further expanded in a chapter. The ladder of organized information progresses, while remaining connected to its source. Roots and branches, origins and growth, are recurring themes in The Common Vein.
As we learn, we acquire new knowledge. At the same time, we modify and enhance preexisting knowledge. Education should therefore be viewed as a process, rather than a collection of facts (Learning Wikipedia). TCV’s cumulative approach reinforces previous knowledge as it advances existing knowledge. With the understanding that memory and its application are so key to the learning process, TCV encourages beginning with the roots (basics) and building to the branches (details) in a logical fashion.
The Tree of Knowledge
Below is a diagram of knowledge in its bare form. From the central trunk extends an arborising framework, from roots to branches, which represents advancement, or growth.
Roots and Branches: Sources and Growth
Roots and Branches: Sources and Growth – Advancing Complexity
The trunk reflects a single idea or concept (tree), which is part of a continuum belonging to something beyond it (branches) and something before it (roots). The tree’s roots and branches again exemplify the concept of building upon previous knowledge. The trunk’s extensions, in the form of roots and branches, are complex yet logical in their organization. A tree’s growth is multifaceted, yet progressive. The parts work together for the sake of the single element: the tree. In the tree, complexity and simplicity coexist.
A distinct focus on principles, especially as a starting point, provides a useful framework for learning. The Common Vein’s is founded upon principles that grow in complexity, which helps the student navigate the daunting mass of biological and medical information.
Principles of Human Biology
The image below diagrams human biology in its basic parts:
This diagram of human biology is structurally identical to the diagram above. This diagram shows that the roots of human biology lie in both the structural and functional sciences. Combined, those two sciences enable the miracles of the working body and working mind. This simple diagram captures the entirety of human biology. Beyond these base elements lies magical complexity, which we can never fully grasp.
Principles of Medicine
This diagram, again identical in structure to the two above, explains that the roots of human disease originate in the disorder of the structural and functional sciences. The branches of diagnosis and treatment have evolved in response to the need for order and health of the body and mind.
This tree illustrates The Common Vein’s central theme. Each biological part has both a structure and a function. When they are in order and work cohesively, there is health. With disorder, conversely, comes disease. The field of medicine attempts to bring order using two major disciplines: diagnosis and treatment.
Because roots and branches remain connected, a change in one element means a consequence in the others. The disciplines of diagnosis and treatment are founded upon the ability to identify and treat disordered structure and function. For example, an obstructed coronary artery causes a heart attack. The clot in the artery causes a structural problem, with a the functional consequence (damaged heart muscle). Coronary arteriography diagnoses the structural abnormality, and a cardiac echocardiogram diagnoses the functional consequence (decreased muscle contraction). The treatment aims to reverse the structural abnormality by dissolving the clot, as it also aims to reverse the functional abnormality.
The Common Vein
The Common Vein finds clarity in complexity. It navigates the learner through complex information in order to understand, remember, and apply the knowledge. Two major elements are used:
- Basic principles, which are connected and advanced through
- An arborised organization.
The “common” in the common vein refers to basic principles, while the “vein” represents the arborised connections creating a tree of knowledge.
Learning starts from the most basic element, and with careful progression, advances in detail. Learning evolves over time, as it builds upon and enhances previous knowledge. The tree’s roots of knowledge reflect the learner’s existing knowledge. They are connected to the branches, which symbolize the paths of growth.
The Common Vein requires requires the ability to read, and passion for the subject material. With those, the whole field of biology and medicine opens up, and eventually, students learn to apply this network of knowledge as thoughtful thinkers and practitioners.