A Doctor's Concern

Mayo, Charles W. (Charles William)


  • Professor of Surgery at the University of Minnesota and Surgeon at the Mayo Clinic of Rochester, Dr. Mayo tells of his belief in a purpose to everything in life; the need for compassion and respect for other people; how science supports his faith and belief in the immaterial; our responsibility to help others; and the value of humor in life.
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And now, This I Believe. Here is Edward R. Murrow.
This I Believe. Dr. Charles W. Mayo, as surgeon of the famous Mayo Clinic at Rochester, Minnesota and Professor of Surgery at the University of Minnesota, stands at the very top of his profession. As alternate U.S. delegate to the United Nations General Assembly, he demonstrates that he is also an outstanding citizen of this country and the world. Here is Dr. Mayo.
All physical substance, animate and inanimate, as well as all activity, instinctive or contemplated, has purpose. I believe there exists an all-wise, all-powerful plan which is not inconsistent with happenings of the past, the present or those to come in the future.
Sound study of events of eons and eons in the past discloses nothing that is in opposition to any religious belief of reasoning man. Knowledge of evolution, and of other refinements which have occurred progressively throughout history, makes me more keenly aware of the wonder of all things and more conscious of a feeling of Divine guidance.
A whole is made up of parts. Just as the body is made up of both individual cells and millions of other cells functionally integrated into related groups, so I feel we each have a part in a mammoth plan with a personal role and an obligation of service—so-called self-existence with a purpose above self.
Problems of a personal nature should be expected and met. More distant problems, but equally realistic ones by the very nature of things, are those relationships of an international scope. Time, combined with tolerance, and especially with knowledge and unbiased consideration of the particular problems of others, no matter who they are or what their race, their culture, religion, native laws, economics or methods of living, should result in a better understanding among all peoples of the world.
To bring this about, not only should we appreciate our failures actually to know these people and their problems but also more especially should we take into consideration their inability and their lack of opportunity to know our problems; these matters concern me. At present, our great fault seems to be to ignore basic principles. We should not lose thought of our personal responsibilities to ourselves as well as to others.
I believe that there is a definite purpose behind the inanimate and the animate, and the birth, life and death of all living things. Man will never be successful in taking unto himself controls that fall only within the knowledge and competence of the Almighty.
Honest thought and action, consideration for details, and the passage of time are most important in the solution of all problems. However, although life is serious, I believe it must be balanced with a lighter side. For me, life without humor and time to relax from care would be dull indeed. The crux of any fun should be that it not be had at the expense of others. I believe that we must be mindful that service to others and search for truth should be our unfailing obligations.
That was Dr. Charles W. Mayo, leading surgeon and alternate U.S. delegate to the United Nations.