“Truth is the daughter of time” -Alice Stewart
Alice Stewart was a physician in the early 1900s, an epidemiologist specializing in social medicine. During the time-period of her career in medicine, it was rare to encounter a female doctor. It was even more rare that a female doctor should be involved in, or leading any sort of controversial research. Alice Stewart was was rare for these reasons and more. She was the only doctor who stood up against most of her colleagues & Medical professionals to research & study the hypothesis that ‘radiation’ had harmful effects on humans, infants and pregnant women. She came to this hypothesis based on observation and research of her own and she was up against a society reveling radiation treatments and X-Ray technology as new and shiny- her’s was not a well liked or accepted position, yet she persisted. In the end, she would not be appreciated in her time but her work is appreciated now and has easily saved a lot of lives.
Another interesting fact about Alice I like – the partner she chose to work alongside her in this study was skeptical by nature and even more skeptical towards her radiation theory, a Dr. George Kneale. She chose him deliberately as her partner in order to stay balanced, just to make sure she was on the right track…right being the operative word. You can read her biography -Alice Stewart: The Woman Who Knew Too Much or just read about her on Wikipedia, About Alice Stewart
I like her because she (yes this is very cliche) followed her heart and had little regard for opposition – not because she was vain, but because she wanted to find out the truth free from bias. She knew that radiation was harming us and without thanks and against violent opposition she continued her pursuit to do what she felt was right.
Sometimes I think it’s hard for people in society to stand up for ‘right’ and it’s so easy to compromise our ethics, ourselves or stand by vacantly to witness (without action) others’ very bad human behavior. Why do we do it? In order to simplify our lives, to keep our own idea of peace, to avoid conflict, because we’re lazy, because we lack confidence or knowledge to know any better, because we lack will, because we are bullied and made afraid? – The list could go on. None of us excluded, everyone does it – right now children are starving all over the world and I just threw away 2 bananas, 1 tomato, an avocado, half a loaf of bread and pretty large bag of potato chips because I simply forgot to eat them and they went bad. I would consider this pretty bad, unethical human behavior.
But what about situations that are easier to control and more tangible than starving children across the world? For example: workplace bullying, gossip, treating people badly for no reason (sales call reps, post office clerks, etc.), telling lies that result
in the detriment of others. What I mean is, the simple stuff, the very bad behavior of people around you on a daily, regular basis. Do we hop on board the bandwagon and participate? Or, maybe we will just stand idly by and ignore or disregard it as something that doesn’t directly effect us? Do we stand up for what’s right, or for others? Trying to do what’s right all the time would probably make us boring, tedious, exhausting to be around. The same way Vegetarians or Activists are annoying, but, I wonder if it’s worth a second thought to at least consider our behavior and how it effects others in these daily situations.
I am guilty myself of wanting people to like me so much I can often jump on the bandwagon, fight that tick to be a decent person in order to make friends or get through the day more easily. Disregard the homeless man on the street even though I have a few quarters I could throw him, humor malicious rumors because I know I’ll get coined a prude if I question it. I am not always the hero I want to be, but I can reflect honestly and make changes to my future behavior because I think – we need more heroes. Whatever lies we tell ourselves while behaving poorly, truth surfaces, in time and/or from reason. Whether the truth comes in the form of a substantial consequence or just part of an internal struggle we have to live with. I personally believe, whether constructed or tangible or maybe it’s part of a learned scruples I can’t shake but there is merit in truth for truth’s sake and that it’s important to do the right thing just because, it is right. …You know, karma and all that
“Truth is the daughter of time” -Alice Stewart
Applying a bit of deductive reasoning to Alice’s quote (look it’s not math, it’s metaphors of course) –
“Lies are the expiring red apples Truth eats for a snack”