Last night, I was telling our daughters the story of TE Lawrence, better known as “Lawrence of Arabia”. In terms of personal qualities, he was, by most every account, a great man. He was able to bring people together– much as we try to do in medicine. I remembered my favorite quote from him, but it is one that seems rarely to be used. I wrote it down on the margin of my copy of his “Seven Pillars of Wisdom”:
“All men dream, but not equally…
…Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that all was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, and make it possible.”
I would argue that in so many areas– particularly in medicine– we are stuck in this opium den of complacency. It is what keeps us from challenging precepts and advancing. Maybe we can take a hint from Col. Lawrence.
To put it another way (with apologies to TE), perhaps we need to wake up and dream. My daughters seemed to get the message. Why can’t we all get it?