October-November 2005 Edition Vol. 5 Issue 7

A free Internet Newsletter publication for all CIM Alumni and friends.

    Clem S. Estrera, Jr., M.D.

    Ma. Belen Rosales, M.D.
        Associate Editor

     Ray Castillejo, M.D.
    Binisaya Section Editor

Editor's Column

"He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often and loved much; who has enjoyed the trust of pure women, the respect of intelligent men and the love of little children; who has filled his niche and accomplished his task; who has left the world better than he found it, whether by an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul; who has never lacked appreciation of Earth`s beauty or failed to express it; who has always looked for the best in others and given them the best he had; whose life was an inspiration; whose memory a benediction." – Betty Anderson Stanley

Looking Back - Part 4

Cle S. Estrera, Jr.

     Some of you have probably heard of a poem Desiderata and may have even read it. But for those who haven’t heard of it, let alone read it, it’s a great poem of timeless advice.  Desiderata means -“things to be desired.” I heard of this poem from my daughter long time ago, but I was not really interested because I was told it’s a religious poem, and having my mind already saturated with religious knowledge and information since I was a kid, I saw no reason to soak it with more. Few weeks ago, my American friend e-mailed me the poem and because it’s really a great poem, more like a collection of wisdom that is easy to understand than a composition of religious devotions, I decided to share it with you all. But I look it up in the Internet first for more information.

     There had been some confusion as to the author of this poem. But according to a well-referenced posting at this web site: http://www.fleurdelis.com/desidera.htm "The author is Max Ehrmann, a poet and lawyer from Terre Haute, Indiana, who lived from 1872 to 1945. It has been reported that Desiderata was inspired by an urge that Ehrmann wrote about in his diary: “I should like, if I could, to leave a humble gift -- a bit of chaste prose that had caught up some noble moods.”

     "Around 1959, the Rev. Frederick Kates, the rector of St. Paul`s Church in Baltimore, Maryland, used the poem in a collection of devotional materials he compiled for his congregation. (Some years earlier he had come across a copy of Desiderata.) At the top of the handout was the notation, “Old St. Paul’s Church, Baltimore A.C. 1692.” (The church was founded in 1692).

    "As the material was handed from one friend to another, the authorship became clouded. Copies with the “Old St. Paul`s Church” notation were printed and distributed liberally in the years that followed. It is perhaps understandable that a later publisher would interpret this notation as meaning that the poem itself was found in Old St. Paul`s Church, dated 1692. This notation no doubt added to the charm and historic appeal of the poem, despite the fact that the actual language in the poem suggests a more modern origin.”


Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexatious to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.

But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.

Neither be cynical about love,
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
Gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.

And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Success and Happiness
    Og Mandino 1923-1996, Author and Speaker said: "Realize that true happiness lies within you. Waste no time and effort searching for peace and contentment and joy in the world outside. Remember that there is no happiness in having or in getting, but only in giving. Reach out. Share. Smile. Hug. Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without getting a few drops on yourself."

     I don’t know what’s your idea of success but I used to measure the quality of my life with the traditional way and that is – having gotten what I want which used to determine success and happiness as far as I was concerned. And I used to evaluate success in terms of money, achievements, acquisitions and accolades. But as I age and mature, I realize that these things indeed give me pleasure but not really happiness. Pleasure is an intense pleasant feeling of enjoyment and satisfaction like being on drugs that make you feel high, but afterwards you feel empty so that you need another snort or sniff to get you back to the mainstream. The feeling is good while it lasts but it doesn't last that long because you are driven to collect more and more of the things you want in order to have that feeling again and again. Yet when your move is blocked, you experience depression, irritation, anxiety, or frustration.

    Suffice it to say that the drawback with measuring the quality of our life in terms of getting what we want is that we are basically putting conditions on the way we live and thus put happiness on hold until such conditions are met or until we get what we want. It’s like using the most poignant yet also the most poisonous phrase in our vocabulary – “If only….” "If only I have the money to travel around the world, or take the Mediterranean cruise....." But then, after we get what we want, a whole new array of desires and contingencies take over. So we end up in a limbo of constantly unfulfilled desires, wanting it all but unable to find contentment with what we already have. The present becomes nothing more than a misty tunnel of time – something we must bear with, endure and pass through in order to get somewhere else.

     Happiness, on the other hand, although less intense, is a durable feeling of well-being. Of course, happiness is not a continuous or a constant state. It has periods or moments of joy and disappointment, work and play, pressures and problems, failures and frustrations. But you think and act in ways that make you feel good and right by finding some value in everything and everybody. And there is an emotional state of contentment, a quiet satisfaction with one’s life - a peace of mind. It is not because you have more of what you want, but because you believe or are convinced that whatever you have is enough, and you are pleased and contented with what you have. Further, you also believe that good things can happen and that difficult times never last forever. Thus you chuckle at life's ironies, find joy in humor, and laugh at yourself every now and then, realizing that all things come to pass and that life evolves through cycles of change and you flow with the cycles because you know that resisting them only means pain and frustration. It takes an attitude of gratitude and appreciation of the little things in life - good health, a paying job, a place to live, food to eat, friends to joke and laugh with, children to enjoy talking and being with, etc. - to have that kind of belief or conviction. Without that attitude, you are likely to place your happiness outside yourself and it only leads to endless struggle, competition, frustration and disappointment.

     But how do we develop such attitude? First, we can’t develop it overnight. Second, we need to understand that we “are the masters of our thought” as what James Allen said in his essay As A Man Thinketh. Although we cannot choose our circumstances, we can choose our thoughts. Our circumstances spring from our thoughts just as the plants spring from the seeds. Like the seeds that grow into plants that blossom and bear fruits, our thoughts take root in our mind and sooner or later blossom into actions that would bear fruits and determine the conditions or circumstances of our life. Lastly, we need to look back every now and then and continually reflect on what our life has been and what it ought to be in order to identify and modify negative beliefs and attitudes. Instead of allowing our thoughts and actions to destroy our fate by imprisoning us in negativism and thus in unpleasant circumstances, we turn them into like friends that would liberate us and help us achieve our noble ends. 

     So no matter how many ambitions we have achieved, things we have acquired, and wealth we have accumulated, they would not give us enduring happiness unless we take responsibility for replacing our negativism with optimism and our cynicism with open-mindedness, and for developing the attitude of being grateful with what little we have and appreciative of what others have achieved and what little others have offered. Finally, there’s got to be the day when we should convincingly say to ourselves “enough is enough” and drink to it as a way of expressing our gratitude to all we have and to whatever we’ll have, like what Sean O’ Casey, an Irish dramatist, wrote in the final paragraph of Sunset and Evening Star: “Here with whitened hair, desires falling, strength ebbing out of him, with the sun gone down and only the serenity and the calm warning of the evening star left to him, he drank to Life, to all it had been, to what it was, to what it would be.” It has been said that great troubles come from not knowing what is enough; that conflict arises from wanting too much; and when you know when enough is enough, there will always be enough.

Net worth and worthiness
    Many people measure good life in terms of net worth rather than in terms of worthiness. They define success in terms of prosperity, popularity, power, prestige and peer approval. Like Martha Stewart and the CEOs of Enron and WorldCom, they would ignore spiritual values, disregard ethical principles, and cheat to increase their net worth. But in doing so with such unwise decision, they would only damage themselves, for they not only cheat others, they cheat themselves more and give up their chance to lead fulfilling lives. For, without principles, life is demeaning and self-defeating. Virtue is not a tactic, technique or strategy; it’s a life’s philosophy.

     It may not be the money but for whatever reason, in many rich people, children are spoiled, and all too often they don’t have good family relationships. Divorce is relatively common. And divorce is cruel, brutal and nasty as what Robin Williams said: “Divorce is having your genitals torn off through your wallet.” Another comedian said: “Divorce – the screwing you get for the screwing you got; the transformation from a duet to a duel.”

    Unlike the movie Kramer vs. Kramer  that shows mainly the custody battle, and husband and wife are seen to be more amiable and understanding, the real divorce shown on documentary film is a whole lot different. It is disturbing and disgusting. In this documentary, divorce is characterized by intense hate and hostility, pettiness, vindictiveness, greed and other malevolent behaviors. The more money involved, the more intense their hostility became, and instead of moving beyond hurtful realities, both husbands and wives were mired in hate and resentment. Whatever love and affection they had were gone, evaporated like a bad fart. What's disturbing is that the cheaters and the cheated were equally angry, and what’s disgusting is that regardless of whether the cheaters are the husbands or the wives, they justified their wrongdoing by blaming their spouses of having driven them to their affairs because of sexual discontent, or controlling behavior. In other words, their spouses’ behaviors made them look for someone to fill their sexual needs, or their behaviors were neutering or castrating and made them lose their libido, and they had to recover their libido with someone else. It makes you wonder what happened to open communications. But it's their children especially the little ones who suffered the most.

    The point I’m trying to make is not to disdain money or make money look like the root of all evils, let alone to condemn wealth because not being rich, you might think I’m only “sour-graping,” but to emphasize or stress the importance of spiritual wealth – loving or at least learning to love our job and developing helping relationship with the people we are working with. Also, it’s important to at least consider having pleasant relationship with friends because more often than not, friends provide you the fun, love and laughter, and thus something therapeutic to look forward to. But most of all, to develop and maintain deep and enduring loving relationship with our family especially with our children as an important priority, because our relationship with our children often determines our level of happiness. No amount of money should be allowed to ruin such loving relationship.

    Have you ever wondered negatively about individuals who volunteer their lives to serve others freely like Mother Theresa? I once used to and I would sometimes think that there was something wrong with them. What a sacrifice and a waste of a good life just for the people who, in all earthly measures, are practically hopeless. There were times when I thought these individuals were just nuts. Then I realized that what these individuals like Mother Theresa are doing is not really a sacrifice; it’s a passion of helping make this world a better place to live, a moral fortitude of making every human life sacred no matter what kind or how impoverished that life is. What they are showing us is that in this materialistically competitive world, lasting happiness and fulfillment in life are still attainable if we listen and follow the voice of our souls and find purpose and meaning through service and kindness. It’s not success that these individuals are interested in having, at least not the traditional success that you and I would want. It’s making their life significant which is what really matters. What they do provides their life purpose and meaning.

    Gertrude Stein said: “I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor. Rich is better.” Indeed it is. Despite the advice and warning from preachers, philosophers, theologians and other biblical experts of the shortcoming of money, the reality is, Wall Street makes sense – make more money because money can buy lots of things you want that make you feel good and important. Even if money doesn’t provide or produce lasting happiness, it at least reduces your sufferings. It makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it?

     Jean-Jacques Rousseau, a French philosopher said: “The money you have gives you freedom, but the money you pursue enslaves you.” People preoccupied with money are never satisfied. They never have enough. The more wealth they produce, the greater their desires and the bigger their debts. For the more they have, the more they think they need to have. Further, money makes you vulnerable to greed that you won’t be able to set limits for what’s enough. And when greed takes charge, you become willing to sacrifice your relationships even with your own family and friends for money. There are those who, because of greed, would dig their mother’s grave if they think they can get money out of their mother’s corpse. A Hasidic saying says: “One who thinks that money can do everything is likely to do anything for money.”

    We don’t really have to volunteer our life like Mother Theresa did to “move beyond success to significance” to borrow the words of Pete Drucker, the great management guru. I believe we can achieve significance through cooperation by getting rid of an attitude of indifference, taking advantage of every opportunity to help make a difference in anyone without expecting anything in return. It's our self-serving and self-seeking attitudes or motives - the what's-in-it-for-me mentality - that keep our lives from achieving purpose and meaning.

    I don’t know about you, but to me, our job as a physician is a grind. We provide our services to one person at a time, one after another. And for all its complexity, it is more physically than intellectually taxing. That’s why I went through trying to develop other skills not just to get away from the grind and keep myself from being burnt out, but also to find a way of helping others my own way of service and kindness, something that I would enjoy and be happy to do so that it would be my enjoyment and happiness I would be sharing, not my frustration and disappointment.

    Somehow I found writing intellectually and spiritually challenging and stimulating. I’ve never written anything in my life for an audience to read until about five years ago when I wrote a couple of articles for my friends’ high school alumni newsletter – Spectrum. I decided to start Brain Waves because I wanted to contribute something and become useful to our own alumni association, not just to our class organization. I wanted very much to make a difference in a way that what I would do would not only bring out the best in me, it would also inspire to bring out the best in others.

    Writing is a lot different, especially when you’re a doctor. It really doesn’t matter what you write whether it be a research study, short stories, poetries, etc. Even letters to your friends as long as they pass through the process of thoughts, writing challenges your intellect and stimulates your imagination, and thus brings out the best in you. It makes you step back, think through a problem or a situation and it forces you to achieve a degree of thoughtfulness. Moreover, writing makes you feel like you’re connecting yourself to something larger than yourself.

    I must admit though that if not for the computer, I would not have even thought of writing. It would be foolish for anyone who has the opportunity to learn computer and not take advantage of it. When it comes to the convenience, accuracy and efficiency of doing things with the use of technology, there is no going back. To paraphrase Brian Tracy, either you resolve to be a master of change or a victim of change. It's your choice. The longer you wait to get on board in the boat of technology change, the farther you will be left behind, swimming in the sea of frustrations.

    What stops many of us from writing for others to read is not the lack of intellectual ability, let alone the lack of good thoughts, but the lack of moral and emotional courage. We are paralyzed by the fear that what we write might only offend others and they would only criticize us. Of course, there are individuals who are good in rendering judgment and criticism, but all too often these are the only things they are good at. Somehow they seem to be mobilized by something they can criticize. Support and encouragement rarely, if ever, move them. But their judgment and criticism should not be taken personally, or you’ll only be frustrated if not paralyzed every time they find something they can criticize. Theodore Roosevelt once said: “It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again…who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy course; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be in those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

    Well, I truly enjoy the privilege of writing for CIM alumni and friends to read. It gives me a sense of being useful and a sense of purpose and fulfillment. It at least keeps me from wasting my time on self-absorption. It also makes me more compassionate with other people, and caring and understanding with my children or family and friends as well as with my patients and co-workers. And most of all, every time I think that what I write is making a difference, it makes me feel like my life has “moved beyond success to significance.”

    Albert Schweitzer (1875 -1965) said: "Until he extends his circle of compassion to include all living things, man will not himself find peace." "Therefore search and see if there is not some place where you may invest your humanity." In addressing graduates, Albert Schweitzer said: “I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I do know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.” "You must give some time to your fellow men. Even if it's a little thing, do something for others - something for which you get no pay but the privilege of doing it." (The end)



"In spite of illness, in spite even of the archenemy sorrow, one can remain alive long past the usual date of disintegration if one is unafraid of change, insatiable in intellectual curiosity, interested in big things, and happy in a small way." -- Edith Wharton

     Those who are curious about reading the written account and viewing the pictures of the wedding of one of the daughters of the member of the CIM Class 1972, click on this: Couch-Jubay Wedding


Laughter, the best medicine

"You know you're old when your memory is shorter and your complaining lasts longer."

    A young couple went out on a date in the guy's new car. A few miles down the road, he turned to her and said: "If I do 100 mile/hour, will you take your clothes off?"
    She said it sounded like fun and so he stepped on the gas. When the speedometer touched 100, she began to strip off. Distracted by her state of undress, he took his eyes off the road for a second and crashed into a hedge. The girl was thrown clear without a scratch but all her clothes were trapped in the car, along with her boyfriend.
     "Go and get help," he screamed.
     "I can't," she said. "I'm stark naked."
    Seeing one of his shoes had also been thrown clear, he pointed to it and said: "Cover your crotch with that and go and get help. Please."
    So she picked up the shoe, covered herself with it and ran half a mile to the nearest gas station. "Help! Help!" she yelled to the elderly attendant. "My boyfriend's stuck!"
    The attendant glanced down at the shoe covering her crotch and said: "I'm sorry, Miss. He's too far in."

    Two American ladies were in London admiring a well-endowed male statue. While discussing its artistic merits, one of the women shook her head and said: "I don't think so, dear. Big Ben's a clock."

     Mrs. Stewart decided to have her portrait painted. She told the artist: "I want you to paint me with diamond earrings, a diamond necklace, emerald bracelets and a ruby pendant."
    The artist replied: "But you're not wearing any of those things."
    "I know," she said. "It's in case I die before my husband. I'm certain he'll get married again right away, and I want his new wife to go crazy looking for the jewellery."



"For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin -- real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way. Something to be got through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life." — -- Alfred D`Souza

Mending Broken Hearts – Part 3

By Wilmo C. Orejola, M.D., Class of 1974

     The heart symbolizes life itself. For ages and in every civilization, man depicts the heart as the essence of humanity. It is the icon for love and romance. It is with the heart that we describe our emotions, let alone love someone or something we do with “all of my heart”.

    The heart is a relatively simple, tiny organ of muscles and nerves, normally about the size of a man’s fist. It is not as complex as the chemical factory in the liver or as intricate and hardwired as the electrical circuitry in the brain. It cannot do the delicate balancing of minerals and water the kidneys provide. Yet it is the most powerful organ in the body. One can have all his faculties or functions but will lose them all as the heart comes to a halt. On the other hand, one can be “brain dead” but a healthy heart will keep pumping life away. Simply put, the heart decides the time of death.

     From the time of its awakening in the embryo, it does its job quite efficiently like precision clockwork. It beats every second more or less and continuously for about two billion times in a lifetime until the last thump. It is the pumping station for a network of major channels and byways, miles and miles if connected end to end. It primes itself and pumps every minute about 6 liters of vital fluids and gases, minerals and nutrients to feed virtually every cell in the body. Like an efficient sewer system, it takes away at the same time from these cells unwanted or waste materials for disposal in the liver, the kidneys, the lungs or the skin.

    As if to underscore its vital importance, the Creator made only one heart for each of us. Dare abuse it, block a part of its supply line, and you lose that part, if not the whole heart itself. This is what happens during a “heart attack”. The supply line to the heart muscles is shut off by a build-up of clots over disrupted, hardened fatty deposits of bad cholesterol (LDL, low-density lipoprotein) in the lining of its vessels. Smoking and sedentary lifestyle make it worse. A vicious cycle of high blood pressure and heart disease takes hold. A heart bypass operation may help but it cannot cure the disease or undo the damage done by years of abuse. 

    When Gibbon was working on the heart-lung machine about fifty years ago, he probably never imagined his invention would eventually become an indispensable tool in all sorts of heart operations for a long time. He originally used it while patching a hole in the heart. It may have occurred to him early on that his machine could create problems of its own, like destruction of blood cells, lowering the ability of the body to fight infection and most seriously stroke. As the patient population grew older and more vulnerable to stroke than the general population, this downside has drawn controversy and has recently been scrutinized and challenged in its practicality and importance in lieu of newer innovations.

    About twenty-five years ago, Gruntzig presented the medical community another approach in reestablishing flow to a blocked supply line in the heart. He was successful in threading a very thin catheter with a tiny balloon at the tip. Inflating the balloon inside the narrowed heart vessel pushes aside the plaques and fatty deposits lining it. He called it balloon angioplasty. Furthermore, the thin catheter could be inserted through a groin vessel, passed inside to the heart vessels. This would do away with splitting the breastbone and the use of Gibbon’s heart-lung machine.

    It was tantalizing but practical. This new approach quickly caught on to include similar devices like ultra thin roto-rooter-like scrapers; laser zappers and drug-eluting stents that would prop up blockages open for long periods of time. The drug-eluting stents would hold more promise. Its effectiveness still to be proven by years of experience could make big chest incisions, heart-lung machines and longer days of hospitalization a thing of the past.

    Unfortunately threatened with obsolescence are the services of the legendary, cantankerous OR demigods. Not to be outdone, a wave of innovations in heart bypass operations comes to the forefront. Each practitioner claims that one is more beneficial than the other, for instance “mini” chest wounds over the usual chest wound but on a beating heart, if only to do away with the heart-lung machine. Video-assisted port access and robotics incorporated advances in electronic gizmos and video game technology for the same purpose. But as rebuttals for woundless intervention, they perhaps will be part of history, more like a fad that fizzles than revolutionary.

    As if hardwired in the human psyche, we are born with abhorrence to pain and cuts in our bodies. Sometimes we cry unabashedly like a child from a small cut in the finger, but of course not to disparage the pain that comes with it. Some of us faint from mere sight of blood. Furthermore, big cuts leave unsightly, disfiguring scars.

    To cut or not to cut, that is the question. Mankind has been consumed in this debate. The primitive people trephined the heads of demented members of the tribe to free evil spirits believed to possess them. The early Greeks pondered on the teachings of their natural philosophers. The philosophy of the mathematician Pythagoras was at variance with the liberal teachings of Hippocrates and his followers who practiced surgery and abortion. The former taught that the human body has a soul and to disrupt its integrity amounts to desecration. This was further expounded by strict fundamentalist teachings of early Christians that prevailed and repressed scientific discourse during the Dark Ages. The taking of life in abortion was sinful, so was to cut for gallstones, or to take blood out (phlebotomy) because the human body is a creation of God. It is the holy temple of the soul.

    We may ignore the religious underpinnings of our abhorrence to cuts and pain. But truly we desire to have our broken hearts mended painlessly and without even a scratch or a bruise, if only it were possible. How revolutionary if we could only take a pill to cure it all? A super drug structured after the “good cholesterol” is being studied. The presently available cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins lower only the bad cholesterol (LDL) level in the blood. They do not boost the good cholesterol (HDL, high-density lipoprotein), which sweeps clean the lining of the heart vessels of those fatty deposits of bad cholesterol.

    We see in the horizon many revolutionary ideas and researches in line with nanotechnology to repair blood vessels, tissue engineering and heart cloning. Most notable perhaps is coaxing embryonic stem cells to grow heart muscle cells. It may not be difficult to imagine that when feasible, some ethical questions notwithstanding, these cells could be injected into parts of the heart that need repair, without cuts and painlessly.

    As disease and aging follow the order of Nature, our struggle for survival remains inexhaustible. This guarantees that there is a lot more to come in the way we mend broken hearts today. Whatever serendipitous turn of discoveries or dogged investigations materialize in the near future, it will make us cut less or cure heart disease altogether painlessly.(The end)


Commandments to Ponder

“There is always something to do. There are hungry people to feed, naked people to clothe, sick people to comfort and make well. And while I don`t expect you to save the world, I don't think it`s asking too much for you to love those with whom you sleep, share the happiness of those whom you call friends, engage those among you who are visionary and remove from your life those who offer you depression, despair and disrespect. ” --- Nikki Giovanni, African-American poet

The Ten Commandments

    This list of Ten Commandments was sent to me by a friend through an e-mail, and I like it very much because there is a lot of truth in it and thus I decided to put the list in Brain Waves.

    When Kent M. Keith was a 19-year-old sophomore at Harvard in 1968, he wrote the Paradoxical Commandments as part of a booklet for student leaders. He describes the Commandments as guidelines for finding personal meaning in the face of adversity:

    1. People are illogical, unreasonable and self-centered. Love them anyway.
    2. If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives. Do good anyway.
    3. If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway.
    4. The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
    5. Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable. Be honest and frank anyway.
    6. The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds. Think big anyway.
    7. People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs. Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
    8. What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway.
    9. People really need help but may attack you if you do help them. Help people anyway.
    10. Give the world the best you have and you`ll get kicked in the teeth. Give the world the best you have anyway.

    The thing about these commandments is that no matter what you do, there are always those who don’t like you, or don’t like what you’re doing even if they know that it’s the right thing to do. There are those who would ignore you and maintain their degree of indifference. There are also those who would envy you because you are good, and hate you because you make them look bad or make them feel bad. But the choice is always yours – to do what you think you should do and to rise above the practices of those that demean the goodness of mankind. If you allow those who don’t like what you’re doing make a choice for you, allowing what they think or say about you bring you down, then good people like you will diminish while the mean ones will increase, and the world will be worse off when you leave than when you found it. Is that what you really want for your children and grandchildren?

    Perhaps you have a different view, but to me, America is the greatest nation in the world, not only because most people play by the rules and have respect for the law, but also because there are always those who dare do good things for others, helping them even at the expense of their own lives and even if it’s for people in other countries. The Americans in general are generous; they give, volunteer, and yet they are the most hated, the most criticized and the most blamed people in the world. But they keep doing what they think is the right thing to do anyway, within law, rule and reason. Confucius said: “While the gentleman cherishes benign rule, the small man cherishes his native land. While the gentleman cherishes a respect for the law, the small man cherishes generous treatment.”

    When my older daughter, a resident physician in Rhode Island, cancelled her one week vacation to spend with us in Virginia a couple of weeks ago because she decided to volunteer and help the hurricane victims who were evacuated to Houston Astrodome instead, especially the sick ones, my wife did not like it, and was a little upset. With many people volunteering to help, my wife didn't think our daughter's help would matter anyway, and thus our daughter would only be wasting her time and money, although what upset her was the thought that our daughter would be dealing with those thugs in New Orleans who were shooting at the rescue helicopter. She thought that they, too, would be evacuated to Houston. She was concerned of our daughter's safety.

     Now what if most of the people would think and assume the way my wife did that their help won't matter anyway? Those who would need help during disaster would not have enough people to help them. Thus I told my daughter that by all means she should go, because if I were her, I would. I reassured her that if I could take a leave from work, I would join with her. I was so proud of her. She did not have to explain to me that it's the right thing to do although she sent me a quote from Confucius that says: "To see what is right and not do it, is want of courage or of principle." That's why I like the American way - the love and willingness to volunteer and help - to do what is right. -----Clem


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