‘The Persistence of Belief’ is an essay film that confronts the intricate interplay between science and belief that undergirds modern medicine, with increasing evidence of the enormous role the mind plays in determining the efficacy of contemporary medical treatment.
While the western medical establishment presents itself – in many ways – as a departure from the mystical ways of the shaman and witch doctor, there turns out to be far more parallel than one might think. The doctor’s office and O.R. prove to have more in common with the church and temple than previously imagined. Featuring testimony from a senior professor of neuroscience, ‘The Persistence of Belief’ considers the power of placebo and sensitivity to the various reasons that encourage progress in medicine to be sought at all costs.