The Future of Our Profession

By Thaddeus P. Hyatt, D.D.S., F.A.C.D.
“The concentration of the moral forces, no matter under what system it may be effected, increases the compass of them tenfold.” –Balzac.
Just as it is impossible for anyone, or for any group to go outside of space, so is it impossible to cut ourselves off from our fellow men. We are therefore to a more or less extent dependent on one another. The ties which hold together a number of individuals as a group, grow stronger as their common interests become more compacted. Therefore, the purposes, the objectives, the common interests of one profession, one science, or one art, hold its individual members together by stronger bonds than those other interests which are common to all the people. And yet the greater danger of disruption and turmoil lies within these stronger ties which hold together the members of any one group.
Nature is Ruled by Hate and Love
Every law in nature has two sides or two aspects. The obverse and the reverse; attraction and repulsion, and that law which binds the members of one group together is Nature’s Law of Love and Hate.
The vibrations of love are forces which create, building and rebuilding, ever improving, ever growing, becoming more perfect, more beautiful and more harmonious as they reach towards the ultimate perfection that is possible during this period of Life’s Manifestations.
The forces of hate are destructive, every striving, ever seeking to break down the formed and united, back again into the unformed and disunited. And yet, because of the special interests of the group its members are still linked together even when unformed and unorganized. These two aspects of this law are ever present at every phase and at every stage of human evolution.
Progress of the group is made by firmness, by mutual and united efforts in overcoming the disruptive forces. We grow stronger within, and more useful to those outside our group, as we succeed in overcoming these disintegrating vibrations.
Just as the colors of the rainbow imperceptibly blend and melt in to one another with no visible dividing line, so is it impossible for us to recognize any dividing line between the constructive forces symbolized by love, and the destructive forces symbolized by hate. There are just as many shades or gradations in both love and hate as there are shades of colors, and just as many degrees of powers in the forces of repulsion and the forces of attraction. Are every not in the musical scale has its definite rate of vibrations, it needs but little thought to know that every spoken word has a definite sound and therefore a definite vibration. To pronounce a word is to evoke a thought and make it present. The speech of every man is a blessing or a curse.
The words, hate, condemn and blame create vastly different impressions than do the words comment praise or love. Did we but dimly realize the actualities of the qualities and potencies of these vibrations, how careful would every sincere worker for the improvement and the progress of mankind be in his thoughts and spoken words. And as the ties are stronger between members of a group, so are these forces more potent in their actions and their results.
Let us consider the powers of mental vibrations. Our thoughts have a direct influence on our emotions, and our emotions directly influence the physical body. It was not a physical blow which made the glands suddenly pour out sweat on the surface of the skin. Then what was it? As from nothing comes, it must have been some real thing which cause this physical reaction. It is only necessary to call attention to the wonderful powers or forces of thought, and to the fact, that as the thoughts of the members of a group are fused and melt into one that it is this unity which gives to these vibrations their greater constructive or destructive influences. Consider the mob. A mob is really a group of individuals hypnotized or controlled by the concentrated potency of accumulated thoughts created by strong emotions.
Do we not sometimes believe we can use condemnation in a kindly way and produce constructive results? But would this not be analogous to our attempting to use heat for cooling purposes? Do we not deceive ourselves when we believe that it has constructive results? Is it not more likely to be true that the constructive results have been obtained by the other group on individual resisting and overcoming the destructive influence of this force and by using the constructive side? If a mistake we must make, is it not wiser that it should be on the constructive side?
In Unity There is Strength
It is not by condemnation directed inwardly or outwardly that true unity is secured. We are not drawn together by the forces of repulsion. The forces of attraction are used by acts of kindness, education, and in showing better ways to accomplish the things desired. Mutual confidence and cooperation is thus maintained, and the group using this constructive force grows stronger, more useful and more secured.
Mankind today is at a critical stage in its evolution. Strife, antagonism, distrust, and disruption are seen on every side and in almost every country throughout the world. In most cases the objective they seek to obtain is materialistic. But in the midst of all this turmoil and confusion there is growing a thoughts and feelings are actual realities which can and do travel beyond the confines of our physical selves. This is now supported by scientific investigators.
“Man, the Unknown”
One has only to carefully read the chapter on Mental Activities in “Man, the Unknown? by Alexis Carrel to realize the growing knowledge that the mental vibrations of one person may affect and have its influence on others. Dr. Carrel states: “It is certain that thoughts may be transmitted from one individual to another, even if they are separated by long distance. These facts, which belong to the new science of metaphysics, must be accepted just as they are. They constitute a part of the reality” (p. 125). Dr. Carrel then writes on the moral sense and states, and says, “When we watch the inhabitants of the new city, we fully understand the practical necessity of moral sense .. moral sense is more important than intelligence. When it disappears from a nation, the whole social structure slowly commences to crumble away” (p.130).
Often profound truths are found in the common expressions of the people, and the belief in the Soul of a Nation may be just as truly an actuality as is the individual Soul of man. Just as the Soul of a Nation is built by the thoughts, the aspirations and desires of its people, so each group has a Soul which is made up of the ideals, the thoughts and common purposes of that group. Every deed, every thought, desire, love, and hate of each individual member of that group constitutes the vibrations which give color, sound and form for that Soul. The powers of this Soul, its influence on other groups or individuals, depend entirely on the contributions of its members.
Shall our radiations and vibrations of this Soul of our profession be those of construction or disruption? Shall we bring about changes and progress by the vibratory forces of kindness and attraction or shall we create vibrations of repulsion and destruction by the use of condemnation and hate?
This is our problem as well as our responsibility.
In the following quotation Dr. Gies has beautifully expressed the necessary work to be taken in building up the Dentistry of the Future:
“Dentistry, to meet its expanding responsibilities as a profession, must become increasingly effective, not only in social adjustments, in economic adaptations, and in material technique, but also in mental processes and in spiritual purposes.”*1
The usefulness and influence of our vibrations in the maintenance of the quality and nature of this Group Soul depends on our reactions to all external problems, which must necessarily confront us in our progress and growth. External problems are not as dangerous nor as difficult to meet, as those problems which arise within our group. It is within our organization where the real danger lies, because of the stronger ties. Condemnation, indignation and resentment may put on the robe of righteousness to cover our inner weakness in breaking under the strain. This is so natural that oftentimes it is difficult to see its harm. But these are vibrations of repulsions and therefore are destructive as they bring about a disintegration of our unity and strength. To know if we are right the test should be made with the thermometer of love. Are we attracted or are we repelled?
While I had no desire to bring philosophy or religion before a group of dentists, still the question of dental journals being owned and controlled by dental organizations or by individuals, is largely one of sentiments and human relations, rather than a questions, as to the scientific accuracy of the articles published. This human relationship also applies to the care we take of those who by many hours of work and thoughtful study contribute to the advancement of our knowledge and our standing as profession.
Dentistry and Manufacturers Have Related Interests
We are also related with those who manufacture the instruments and materials we use and without which we are unable to render the best professional services to our fellow men. Better and more valuable services will be secured for the people when we grow large enough in consciousness, brotherhood and spirituality to recognize the ties which bind us with those whose objective and interests are common with our own.
May there not be three kinds of dental journals while we’ve only been considering two? First. Journals owned and controlled by dental societies. Second, Journals owned and controlled by individuals. Third. Advertising dental journals which are published for the benefit of the advertisers.
The chief objection raised against dental journals not belonging to dental organizations has been that they are published for “profits.” Is this objections logical or sound? What are profits? It is “the time.”* Does not every dentist live on the income from his practice which exceeds the necessary expenses? And so does the physician, the artist, and in every line of work, nor shall we escape from this difficult and undesirable condition until Edward Belamy’s “Looking Backward” comes true. Therefore is it reasonable, or just, to consider it unprofessional to issue a publication from which a profit may be derived? Our judgment should be based on different grounds.
The third class should be defined. Could we not with reason and also with justice, call any journal an advertising journal when the large majority of its pages are devoted to advertisements? This classification can be applied to any art journal, medical or dental journal when the advertising pages outnumber those devoted to the reading matter the journal is supposed to present. Could we not logically claim that such journals are not published primarily to convey dental knowledge but only to serve for advertising purposes? But before taking official action regarding any member of our profession serving such journals, both these members and these journals should be invited to cooperate with us in formulating the qualifications for the different types of classes of journals.
Disadvantages in Society Publications
We cannot ignore nor disregard the disadvantages of any dental journal published and controlled by a dental organization. First, is its limited circulation, largely confined to the number of its members, and if each member only receives the magazine published by his society, he is deprived of the contributions made elsewhere throughout the world. It is doubtful if any society could afford to distribute its journal to members of all other dental organizations even if other societies would reciprocate. It must therefore be apparent that there is room as well as a need for journals independent of and not limited to any one dental organization.
Another disadvantage for every dental journal, which is owned and published by dental organization, is the fact that it may be controlled by a few, and they may refuse to publish a member’s paper for reasons of their own, particularly if said paper had not been presented before their organization.
The Journal of our National organization is unable to publish within the year all the papers presented at our National Convention, nor to accept many interesting papers offered by our members. But more than this, because of its limitations our National Journal cannot freely open its pages to a controversy by correspondence as is done by the British Dental Journal. This is to be regretted because a free expression of different views always permits new aspects of any problem to be seen, and on many subjects a clarification of the mental atmosphere is gained. The viewpoints of the East, in contrast to those of the West, the North from those of the South would enable and encourage a broader national aspect on many questions. Also I frankly believe our National Journal National Convention before accepting papers presented elsewhere. Furthermore, any paper deemed worthy of presentation at our National Convention, before state or local societies, the author should be entitled to at least fifty reprints if he desires them.
In view of these facts independent dental journals, professionally conducted, are needed, and we should recognize and encourage their publication.
Would it not be well to clearly define the possible differences in dental journals? Perhaps we may be able to define more than three classes. But let us not condemn any class or type of journals, but bend every effort and all our constructive force to aid and encourage all journals to become professional in practice as well as in principle, andthen such journals will be of benefit to our profession.
We should not insist that a subscription must be charge for we are not or should not be interested in the financial side of independent journals. If we receive them gratis, this should make no difference as to the value of the professional information published. Our judgment should be based on the accuracy and usefulness of the scientific data contained, and on the “get-up,” style and purpose of the journal.
The editor should understand that he is professionally responsible for everything connected with his magazine, the reading matter, the advertisements, if any, the business management, the type, paper, and general get-up. And to a certain extent the editor is responsible for the views expressed in any article published, because he has the right to accept or to reject such articles as his judgment may dictate. This responsibility is not escaped by any printed statement that the editor or editorial board and others are not responsible for the views expressed. If the editor is not responsible, then any author should have the right to demand the publication of his article.
Responsibility for Articles Lies with Editor
But we know every editor may accept or reject an article, and this fact alone places a responsibility on the editor regardless of what he may say. The editor may for good reasons accept an article even though he may not agree with the views expressed, but in a footnote or editorial he can state his disagreement and give his reasons for publishing the article and give to others an opportunity to reply. The editor himself may later change his views, which has happened more than once in the past. The editor who frankly accepts this responsibility will find the readers will have more confidence in him and in his journal.
This may not apply to journals owned and controlled by dental organizations because any paper which is permitted to be presented before the society owning and controlling a dental journal should be published in that journal regardless of the opinions of the editor, and reprints should be given to the author.
Is it not possible to do some creative and constructive work along these lines? Recognizing the scientific articles which may prove of value for the majority of our members, and news of the activities carried on in different parts of the country would not only be of interest but would also serve to help and stimulate like activities, such a journal should have a wide distribution. Can we not do something to encourage such publications?
Let us now consider the relation of the Group towards the individual who make up this Group. Our approach to this subject must be based on a careful study of what are the principles involved. Personal interest and personal feelings should be absent if we are to arrive at the truth, for the truth is always impersonal. We should be careful not to confuse our intentions with facts, and thus be led to believe in our own innocence.
Have not organized units such as our profession taken the position that every one of its members should be willing to share his knowledge with his group without any thought of compensation? Can we not truthfully say that the large majority of the individual members of our group have most nobly responded?
Which is the more important decision to make? To decide what the other man should do, or to decide what we should do? Have we not failed to consider the group as an entity, a single unit having its own moral and professional duties to live up to? Has not this group some relation, some ethical and professional duties to its members? Must the individual be the only one to be required to live up to the standard of professional ethics created and set forth by the group?
Any individual receiving an invitation to present his views before his fellow members receives a recognition which is an honor. But is this honor really an honor, when it has to be purchased for a money consideration? And is it not so purchased when the author is compelled to spend one penny over and above what the group may allow him? When this happens and every time it happens, does this not reflect on the ethics and professionalism of the group?
The imperfections in the morality, spirituality and professional ethics of any society would and could have been removed long ago had it cared for the success of its meetings. The following is taken from the Readers Digest and will help to illustrate the thoughts I am trying to bring out : “A large bank swallowed a smaller one and 300 men and women found themselves on the street. In the case of a merger it appears financial liabilities are scrupulously taken over by the new owner, but the responsibility for human lives vanishes into him air.” (April, 1936, p. 43.) Are not many of our larger meetings run on a profit basis? It is believed that this has not been done deliberately in defiance of our Code of Ethics, but the day has come when we should recognize the importance of organizations learning their own responsibility both ethically and professionally and thus be an example for their members.
A really splendid beginning has been made in the creation of the “Relief Fund.” This was the awakening of the “Self-Consciousness” of our “Group Soul” and in the High Heavens that day the angels sang.
Future Depends Upon Co-operation
What is the future of this Group Soul of ours and how many we helpitin its growth, its beauty and in its Justice to those individual members who serve us, knowing that as we become more united we can render better service to all mankind?
This is our Problem. This is the task which lies before us, and as we weave into the garment of this Soul, love and cooperation with perfect Justice to its members, its unity and solidity will overcome all difficulties which may confront it during its onward and upward way to the terrace of enlightenment.
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