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Ethereal Kindnesses

  • Nida Aziz
    Affiliations
    Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, 11100 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA
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  • George S. Bause
    Correspondence
    Corresponding author at: 5247 Wilson Mills Rd, No. 282, Cleveland, OH 44143-3016, USA. Tel.: +1 440 725 0785; fax: +1 888 734 6342.
    Affiliations
    Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, 11100 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA

    Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine, 2124 Cornell Rd, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA

    Honorary Curator, American Society of Anesthesiologists, Wood Library-Museum of Anesthesiology, 1061 American Lane, Schaumburg, IL 60173-4973, USA
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Published:October 09, 2015DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.janh.2015.10.001
      The one thing overlooked more than anything else in today's society is kindness: not merely the concept of kindness, but the ability of humans to share kindness with each other. As simple a concept as it may seem, in our often materialistic, selfish, greedy world, kindness can prevail. As reflected in his sentiment
      • Emerson R.W.
      Essays.
      and his kindly visage on the greeting card (Figure), the great American poet Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) believed that there is an inherent goodness both in people and in nature. He opined that society's institutions, such as government and religion, corrupt the purity of the individual. Certainly a helping hand or a quick show of compassion can touch a person in a special way. Even a brief moment creates a special bond that makes the world thrive. Everyone is capable of kindness, and it comes to us automatically. Our instinct is to show kindness. A little smile at a disheveled person on the subway, a rush to help the little old lady crossing the street, or a quick jump to catch a package falling from the arms of a mother also carrying her baby—these are all predispositions that we, as humans, manifest and do so without thinking about it.
      Figure thumbnail gr1
      FigureThis "Christmas Greetings" card features Ralph Waldo Emerson's smiling face and the "ethereal" opening quote from his Essay VI "Friendship" from his first series of essays (published 1841).
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      Reference

        • Emerson R.W.
        Essays.
        MA. J Munroe & Co, Boston1841