To be a doctor, and especially a GP, is to be regularly plunged into that maelstrom of misery and joy known rather loftily as ‘the human condition’. Indeed, the better we become at empathising with our patients, the more drenchings we get. Scarcely a surgery goes by without our being confronted with some situation of a kind that, over the centuries, has provoked the deepest of deep thought. The mystery of life, and its debatable sanctity. The other mystery of death, and our behaviour in the face of it. The meaning of suffering; and whether to look for any meaning is itself meaningful. The suspicion some actions are right and others wrong, while others may be simply expedient or ill-advised. And underpinning everything, the unfolding drama of what it is to be a human being in relationship with other human beings.