Dear Friends it is a pleasure for me to share with you my personal thoughts about the present stage and the future developments on Implant Dentistry.
I think it is fair to say that the past five years have been without precedent in the recent history of Implant Dentistry. The tremendous upsurge of vitality, energy and activity by young minded dentists and believers in Implant Dentistry across the entire surface of the globe has no precedent in recent memories. One is reminded of the fervor of the early years of the Branamark's break through when valiant pioneers went out to open the virgin territories of the globe in response to the call and encouragement of the promoters of Implant Dentistry. That same kind of devotion, of sacrificial activity, has been apparent during the last five years.
If there is one victor in dentistry in the last Five Years, it is the creative power of the concept of Implant Dentistry practice for all. That is the one common theme as we review the upsurge of activity in all parts of the world. Study circles and institutes, irrespective of their format, irrespective of their methodology, irrespective of the approach they adopt, all bring the individual dentist or specialist of the dental community's, bring that individual in contact with the concept. And that concept works its mysteries in the heart of that individual, liberating the spirit, ennobling the emotions, the ideals, of the individual, disclosing visions and insights that previously were unknown.
Study circle meetings are proving an astonishing source of attraction to people who are not implant conscious. It is clear that in all parts of the world, people are searching for new intellectual food. They are famished. In that sense, our Study circles meetings offer opportunities, without pressure, without harassment, without any form of evangelizing, where human beings can get together and share the available knowledge and be bathed in the spirit of the power of these words.
The result of this, of course, is that the human resources of the young minded dentists have expanded rapidly in that period. There have been a number of new enrolments, but far beyond that has been the expansion of human resources as a consequence of the rise in activity level of the rank and file of the Implant dentistry specialist. We also find that when people decide now to enter this field, to take up membership of it (say for example in the ICOI, ID-SC or AAID …etc), there is a far greater likelihood of their remaining committed to the program as a result of the fact that, more often than not, they have been through these institute programs, and study circles and the like, and have a solid base of knowledge on which to found their activity and so to remain committed to the work of the specialty, through the vicissitudes that are an inevitable part of life.
This activity of the last Five Years has been a major change in the content and the functioning of the dental communities in all parts of the world. And as a result, we have had a certain number of problems, which I tend to categorize as “normal” problems (if there can be such a thing!). They are problems which you can expect whenever there is a commitment to some kind of change. They are mainly of two kinds, one kind are dentists who say I am very comfortable with the way I am. I don’t want to get involved in all this stuff. Go and do it, and good luck to you, but I prefer not to participate in the study circles, the institute programs and the various other activities. And our response to that is that they are perfectly free to do as they wish.
This is a specialty which attaches a great degree of importance to individual initiative and freedom. Those who feel, for whatever reason, be they right or be they wrong, that they know enough about different writings on implants that they don’t need this kind of thing, fine; they are free to maintain their position. And they should not be criticized, or harassed, or condemned, or pressured.
The other extreme we have, which is the other part of these so called “normal problem,” are those who are at the other end of the spectrum. The zealots, who insist that if you are not participating in these various core activities of the implant dentistry programs, for a start there is something wrong with you in relation to the covenant that you made with the profession when you became a dentist, “Why are you not doing implants? You should be,” and … you should not do anything else! I categorize that also as a normal problem. It is a normal problem of human enthusiasm. And gradually it moderates. And gradually it calms down and gradually things return to a certain degree of equilibrium as the dental community goes forward. The necessity to acquire a good sound understanding of the theory of practice through text books have been with us, and will remain with us, throughout. They will not change by the commendable enthusiasm for the core activities.
This past five years, which is a source of exultation, enthusiasm and joy in the Dental community, is also a five year period which has seen the world around us plunge into a far greater degree of difficulty than it has hitherto experienced. It seems to me that one of the great challenges the world faces as a result of the experiences of the past five years is the rise of pessimism, the deep concern that is pervading a greater and greater portion of our society, the realization that civilization itself is in jeopardy. And this is not a thought that any reasonable person might well have entertained for an extended period of time before the present phase of some five or so years. Now it is becoming apparent that things are not going through one of the ephemeral phases of ups and downs that distinguish human history. But rather something very fundamental is occurring; one of the great historic celestial??? Changes of human history are upon us.
My impression is that the decline of the quality of civilized life in the world around us can be categorized under three headings. The first is what I call the fracture in social functioning. By that I mean the breakdown of the things that are taken for granted as part of social intercourse, the commerce of daily life, the rise in crime, the spread of disorder and disturbance in society, the militancy, the anger, the tensions, the protests, that increasingly invade our society. The gradual but relentless spread of terrorism, starting from negligible beginnings but now becoming a major factor, which is of course affecting those of us who travel, we have become intimately aware of the problems of the society in terms of the extraordinary measures taken to combat terrorism with regard to airline travel and the like. Beyond that, the spread of corruption, almost becoming accepted as being normal, the spread of corruption in government circles, involving high officials throughout the world, in business, in civil service, and, in more recent years, in religious organizations of all. The lack of control of human greed, invading business practices, affecting employment, destabilizing the security that individuals may legitimately want to feel with regard to long term employment, all these things, are part of what I call the fracture in social functioning, which I see as one of the three characteristics of this declining order.
The second one is a breakdown in personal morality. Throughout the world, not only in the western world, but in the world of the East, the post-communist world, the so-called Third World, and so on, there is an alarming and quite sharply increasing breakdown in personal morality. The acceptance of dishonesty, the casual acceptance of lying in normal transactions, the sexual promiscuity in various forms being masked in the name of freedom and liberation, the pursuit of superficiality in past-times and interests (rather than the superficial practices simply being occasional when your mind is gone and you just want to watch T.V. no matter what is on, that’s fine) this has become an addiction to superficiality to shut out the realities of a troubling world. The lack of refinement, in speech, in vocabulary, in manners, and even in the disorderly dress, which often passes as present-day up-to-date fashion, all of these things, I think, are part of the breakdown of personal morality.
And the third characteristic of the society, which I see to be in an alarming decline, is the rise of racial, ethnic and factional tensions, the militancy and the separatist outlook of minorities in all countries, whether they are racial or ethnic minorities. In these countries likewise we see, the tyranny exerted by the majority in ignoring minority rights, the division of society into competing adversarial elements, segmented by religious differences or by social class, or the like, and the indoctrination of grieved minorities in hatred. In so many parts of the world, we see that the schools in their curriculum, in their approach, in their textbooks, in the kind of teachers they select, blatantly and quite unashamedly, teach hatred, and this has become acceptable. This is reported in newspapers almost without comment. It causes some ephemeral alarm when one of the products of the schools becomes a bomber and blows up trains or something like that, but it has become accepted that schools in certain areas, in certain places, will be left free by society to teach hatred without restraint.
These three elements, I see as providing a framework with which to view the disturbed and very ominous condition of present-day civilization, be it in the West or in the East.
Working in concert with our significant and assigned role to be a useful element as we receive this great knowledge, at work in the world, beyond our comprehension, shape the affairs of men and give rise ultimately to this new world dental civilization. What I want to point out to you is my understanding that we are called upon, at the present time, to sow the seeds of that new civilization. That it is not something we sit back and wait for, that it will occur hundreds and hundreds of years into the future when we are all dead and buried and forgotten about. All have as a fundamental objective, the maturing of a civilizing process to which we are subjected by such participation. And of course, you can imagine, such a civilizing process must have its moments of challenge and definitely its tests, and indeed heartache.
Collective activities as well as persona leads to the transmission of important values, from one generation to another, through C.E. classes; the systematic approach to the acquisition of knowledge that it is inherent in the institute process; the outward orientation, which is part of the service component of these core activities. If we look at these, if we look far beyond their immediate purpose and their immediate form, I think that we will see in them the vague outlines of a civilizing process to which we have been called by virtue of these activities.
There are a number of other aspects of the Writings which support my thesis, that we today are engaged in laying the foundation for the civilizing process. In that context President Woodrow Wilson of the United States in the latter part of World War I in the early part of the Twentieth Century. Wilson laid out fourteen points, which formed the basis for the League of Nations, which although it was doomed to failure, gave rise ultimately to the United Nations, which is having its own particular problems, but we anticipate will give rise to a further form and structure ultimately leading to international governmental organization. And I think he was directing our attention to the nature of processes in the growth of the peace process and that these processes have very long roots, extending back to the various earliest days of the Cause, and, in that sense, the civilizing process in which we are engaging may be regarded within a similar context of giving rise to forces and trends and behaviors, which will have their fruit hundreds of years into the future.
Dentistry used to be a functional necessity like medicine and only now we can see beauty and elegance and the greatness of harmony.
There I see in the philosophy of the decisions made by the training providers the same commitment to beauty, again at a time when resources are limited. When there are limited amount of materials and energy available, nevertheless, beauty has been pursued. The world civilization to flourish in centuries to come will be a civilization of beauty.
Those of you who engage in trivial pastimes such as myself, and occasionally go to movies, will occasionally see movies which portray the future. Sometimes it is a horrifying future, sometimes it is intended to be a fairly attractive future with intergalactic things going on and the like. What is noticeable, in even the most attractive portrayals of the future, is the absence of what we could call beauty. It is basically synthetic, it is plastic, it is smooth, it is shiny, but it does not have the things we would describe as beautiful -- the elements of nature, the elements of magnificence of inspiration, of architecture and the like. We refer to certain characteristics of the civilized individual: that he or she is enlightened, that he seems to be well-informed, high-minded, incorruptible, a person who promotes literacy and education, who encourages art and industry, and who has a great respect for learning and craftsmanship. The civilized individual is one of high morals, a person who has the energy and commitment to oppose the passions of the lower nature of man, who is one of good character, who is spiritualized in the best sense of the word. And thirdly, we refer to the civilized individual as being altruistic. In other words, concerned with the welfare of others as well as that of himself, using his resources for philanthropic purposes, creating a society without the extremes of wealth and poverty.
This brings me to the point of my talk that I believe that there are certain actions we should take today as part of our fostering the civilizing process. I do not say them in the sense of wanting to divert you away from the core dental treatment activities of our routine practice, but rather I say them in terms of the fact that they fit in with. They are part and parcel of DENTAL life as expressed with priority to the core dental treatment activities, but with all the other elements of Dentistry life included. And I want, in the last part of my talk, to set out for you fairly specifically what I see to be the civilizing actions required of us now. Of course these are only my own personal impressions and no more than that.
Consultation remains before us as an important moral practice, which is capable of being developed to a far greater extent than we have done so -- consultation at the scientific meetings, consultation at the weekly staff meeting, but also consultation between the marriage partners, consultation within the family setting, consultation as the basis for human social interaction in local as well as more extensive groups. The precepts given to us by all moral concepts respect for the views of others, frankness, courtesy, detachment, and a decision based on issues rather than other factors, all of these are things that slip easily from the tongue. Yet when you look closely at them, the practice of consultation requires that we inflict serious damage on a number of cultural practices in the world today. So be it. Various cultural practices in the world today must change in accord with the requirements of a new society. And consultation, I see, as the engine for modification of a number of traditional attitudes and practices that are cherished by people in many parts of the world. For example, frankness, there are many cultures in which it is considered impolite to be frank. You offer hints, you make allusions, and you make veiled references to it. It is insulting to people to come out and say it straight out. Rather you have to honor their powers of perception by expecting that they will pick up on these hints and the like. So frankness is something we very simply recite as an element of consultation and we need to stop and think that this is going to be a very very difficult thing to accomplish. Courtesy is again something we would all adhere to except in the heat of the moment. Detachment is great when it is somebody else’s idea that we can kick around very well, but when it is something that you have been thinking of for the last several weeks and you have finally cast the pearl before your colleagues and it is not accepted, detachment takes on a whole different meaning. Decision based upon issues, again, can be very much perturbed, for example, when there are several members of the family in the same consultative body. And what do you do when you are in disagreement with one of the other members is your family? Is blood thicker than water under such settings? What happens when dutiful Eastern wife feels differently about a matter from her Eastern husband? Is she going to vote the way he does out of a sense of loyalty and respect? Or is she going to follow the precepts of his or her Faith and probably incur a certain degree of criticism on the way home? These are very slight matters that I mention to you simply to illustrate the fact that consultation and development of interpersonal relations, if we are to pursue it seriously, we are going to have to be prepared for damage to be inflicted to much cherished, time honored, practices that are part of the traditional culture of a number of societies
We do acknowledge that we are devoting our lives to creating a healthier world, to assisting humanity to pass through this turbulent age of transition, to rectify the problems that are manifest in a declining civilization and to create a new civilization of glory and wonder and great development beyond our possibility to conceive at the present day. It is toward this that we are devoting our lives.
Looking forward in hearing from you.
With warmest regards.
Souheil R. Hussaini, BDS, MS
President, Chairman of scientific committee - Continuing Dental Education
Implant Dentistry - Study circle (ID-SC), Affiliated to Temple University & ICOI, USA
Oral Implantology Medical Center
204 Al Wahda Building, Port Saeed Rd, Deira,
P O Box 39695 Dubai, UAE
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