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March 27, 1972

Playing Ostrich

Author Affiliations

Bloomington, Hawaii

JAMA. 1972;219(13):1765. doi:10.1001/jama.1972.03190390048028

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To the Editor.—  This polemic reminds me of Burns' lines from his ode, "To a Louse"O wad some Pow'r the giftie gie us To see oursels as ithers see us!Burns' motive was one of deflation of self-importance, which might well result, but would give rise to an unbearable every day existence, in which every meeting with friend or enemy left one wallowing in the wake of having been stripped body and soul to barren annihilation of dignity. Death annihilates earthly mortal man, who much prefers his sense of immortality. Knowledge of a date of death destroys this sense, life's most glorious illusion.