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January 31, 1977

RE: Courage Beyond Science

JAMA. 1977;237(5):448-449. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03270320026010

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To the Editor.—  Dr Dimond's commencement address (236:2085,1976) is eloquent and stirring. He clearly and pointedly raises many important issues, and concludes with the advice, "Physician: know yourself." Such an inspiring goal helps us focus our energies in order to gain self-knowledge.And yet, we are in the midst of constantly changing life experiences, values, and priorities; and there is no way to know how we will act in the future—even though in the past we may have taken many courageous stands. We are humanly incapable of knowing absolute truth, and unless traditional standards are constantly reinterpreted and modified as life moves forward, they may become irrelevant and even stifling.Answering the questions posed by Dr Dimond is a never-ending struggle with conflicting concepts and impulses. Pat solutions tend to be self-righteous and inhumane. Caring about and knowing oneself and others is a painful and rewarding process in which both