Thursday, February 22, 2007


“It is not the strength, but the duration of great sentiments that makes great men”
Beyond Good and Evil, Nietzsche

I think I’m continuing my trend for the oddest experience on general surgery that a third year ever had….Both my senior resident, Neo, and I are reading Beyond Good and Evil at this moment. Nope, we’re not involved in any odd duck book club. Its just serendipity at work, I suppose. We sort of got into a random discussion, of the above aphorism, while we were on call together today (yes they finally let me out of the Norovirus quarantine box of hell that I’d been living in).

I am a bit of cynic when it comes to the general goodness of mankind. I think that we all aspire to greatness, not for any benefit to society or others, but for our own selfish gain. I think that we start out saying grand things but as soon as we find an easier way to personal glory and fame we dump the grandiose society helping methods faster than a funnel cake goes down at my family reunions. In other words, I agree with Nietzsche.

Neo on the other hand believes that the existence of great sentiments makes all men great. In his opinion, ideals, though not always uplifted by everyone, exists to make everyone greater. The duration of an individual’s adherence to an ideal is less important to that person’s greatness than the actual purity of the ideal in question. In fact, that we are all great men and women because the ideals that we only transiently adhere to are so impressive.

Four hours later we took care of two teenagers that had beaten the snot out of each other to the point that they both required surgery. Following that up was a drunk driver and even drunker passenger who needed a few sutures and their child who had their spleen removed and a touch and go course over the evening. Some men and women are great. The rest of us just squeak by.

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