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There is nothing more vital to the interest of humanity than, what, for a better term, we are pleased to call a psychological moment. It is the crystallization of ideas into ideals and the putting into practical forms, to greatly influence and benefit humanity, those elements that, at one time, were simply visions in the mind of some individual or individuals. It is exceedingly significant and instructive that many great discoveries and inventions are made by different individuals within a few hours or weeks of each other, and yet no one knew of the other’s work. Each, however, had the foundation of facts growing out of previous events and studies made by others, and the forwarding step of the late Dr. Thomas W. Evans was just such a logical sequence.
The struggle of the ages has been for health and happiness and the last few decades have contributed more toward a consummation of that zealous search than all the centuries preceding. This is illustrated by the fact that the average span of human life today, where civilization is most advanced, is approximately fifty years, as against periods ranging from fifteen to thirty for the centuries preceding. One factor is chiefly responsible for this great change, namely, the establishment of truth and the elimination of error from the minds of men. Dr. Vaughan, President of the American Medical Association, states that the present life rate can be very considerably extended. He says: “In the middle ages the average life was less than twenty years. Now it is quite fifty years and it might easily be increased by fifteen years, if the people as a whole make strict application of the facts already demonstrated by studies in preventative medicine. Not only has life been lengthened by the efficiency of the individual but it has been multiplied, and there seems to be no limit to the work that is possible in this direction.”
The students, who are specializing by study in various branches of human welfare, seem, in the last few years, to come out from the dark fields of their exploration on to heights to which they have climbed thru their special researches, and each seems to have made the discovery that the oral cavity, with its multitude of direct and indirect relations to our bodily economy, is in a small or large part responsible for the embarrassments that are coming to the human unit from his particular viewpoint. Within a decade or two a score of challenges have been thrown to the guardians of the organs and tissues of the mouth, few of which can be answered as yet but there is every reason to believe they will be answered after adequate and competent investigation shall have been made.
It is not an accident that there should have been given to humanity and the dental profession the Thomas W. Evans Museum and Dental Institute for teaching and research. It is the logical sequence to mental and moral development as they relate to the great problems of human health and happiness, and it is only an index to other great unfoldings that will come from the hearts of the men serving in the healing professions and those in the laity equally devoted to the betterment of humanity. There is little doubt that the next decade or two will see many such munificent gifts to the dental profession and humanity as the splendid Thomas W. Evans Museum and Dental Institute for research and the Forsyth Dental Infirmary for children. These expressions of the unfolding of the human heart are only exceeded in significance by the large number of individual gifts, entailing as they do a real personal sacrifice, which are being given daily by the members of the dental profession from all over this country. They are giving until it hurts for the support of dental researches, because they are inspired by the same motive and the same confidence, namely, the love of truth and its reconstructing power. The question for the members of the dental profession to ask themselves, as they look upon this splendid institution, is “Am I a part of this great psychological moment?”
The Thomas W. Evans Museum and Dental Institute, Philadelphia, Pa.
The members of the Scientific Foundation and Research Commission of the National Dental Association unite in the chorus of joy and appreciation that this splendid building has been made a reality, and we congratulate the profession that it has such a leader as Dr. Kirk, who, had he not had a vision and been a part of this great psychological moment, could not have put in so perfect concrete form this superb expression of human progress.
The problem of our profession is not only the securing of financial endowments but is also the development of men with vision–not visionary men–men who can see the logical sequence that must follow a series of facts. Let us hope that a great power may be given this institution to build men with a vision. It is only by the combination of these two qualities that the superhuman man can be achieved. That man, who thereby becoming a co-creator with God in the building of a civilization that has established health and happiness, is both divine and human, for truth is God and God is truth.