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May 3, 1902


JAMA. 1902;XXXVIII(18):1164. doi:10.1001/jama.1902.02480180042006

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To see ourselves as others see us is not always discouraging. The danger, in fact, is that sometimes it may give us too good a conceit of ourselves. Country doctors are not by any means always William McClures, but we think it probable that there are many of them who feel that they deserve some of the halo of saintship given him by the gifted Scotch clergyman. This is not profitable; self-consciousness of virtue has its ethical drawbacks. On the other hand, the current pessimism of some members of our profession is equally bad and sometimes worse. A physician who believes that the profession is going to the dogs is in danger of becoming reconciled to the belief and conducting himself accordingly, for humanity is weak and tends to adapt itself to its environment or what it believes it to be. A cynical pessimism has the very worst ethical prognosis

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