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April 1979

Report of a Posthumous Dialogue

Arch Surg. 1979;114(4):359-364. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1979.01370280013001

It is the nature of thinking man to try to understand his relationship to the ceaselessly changing world around him—to have a perception of the meaning of events that make up his everyday universe. But what scale of comparison, what set of standards, what frame of historical reference is he to use in the enterprise of such an assessment?

I am reminded of this difficulty when I view the contemporary surgical scene. When one has reached the fourth or fifth decade of practicing surgery, one has inevitably become aware of the powerful shifts of current in the stream of its recent history, of the deep and broad changes in almost all aspects of what makes up its substance. But how to put these changes into a historical perspective? How to assess the flaws and virtues of the epoch in which our generation has lived and worked in terms of the

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