At the dentist’s.

In the East the symbol of wisdom.

If you were in a busy dentist’s waiting room for attention to a filling in a slightly painful tooth and you overheard the receptionist talking to someone on the phone who obviously needed urgent attention but did not have an appointment, would you tell the receptionist to give the person your place and make another appointment for you even though you had no idea when she would be able to fit you in?


About Ian Gardner

Ian Gardner was born on the 20th February 1934 in Sri Lanka, then Ceylon, and christened Basil Ian Gunewardene. He was born two months prematurely and nearly died five times in his first two months. He moved to Australia in September 1969 where he changed his surname to Gardner. From childhood he had an enquiring mind and an innate interest in the supernatural. Since 1986, nineteen years of meditation, "searching within", reading and revelations have culminated in this free book which has been nine years in the making. Further writings followed and all his writings are available to all on the Internet free of charge. There is more information in the preface of the book.
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8 Responses to At the dentist’s.

  1. bert0001 says:

    Mind interferes all the time, except when we react fast enough, faster than minds objections …

  2. Ian Gardner says:

    Bert’s last comment illustrates how the mind interferes with our ability to get to the fundamental point by introducing extraneous ifs and buts. The mind, or moul really, automatically introduces these because it is the sum total of one’s previous experiences. The fundamental point in this question is whether you would give your place to another more deserving in the few seconds you had in which to decide.

  3. bert says:

    Hi Ian,
    I agree with almost everything you bring forward, except when you say “the fact is that that action is the responsibility of that person”. Not only (s)he is responsible. We will always have narcissists in our society, and we shouldn’t give them the advantage of freedom to get whatever they want. Moreover, the problem is more complex. It is the dentist’s secretary who should discern first and then make the decision. The problem in your thesis is the “who obviously needed urgent attention”, and for me the question is more like: “How obvious is this urgency?” I guarantee to you that if i see the person arrive at the dentist’s without appointment in a state of despair, my decision will be easy and in favour of the urgency. But overhearing half of a telephone conversation is much less convincing.
    However, most other questions you pose on this web, i seem in theory to answer in favour of the ‘right’ case. When confronted with a real case (and this dentist urgency seems to have been taken from a very practical life experience) it is not so easy to make a ‘right’ decision.

  4. Ian Gardner says:

    Hi Bert, I can’t help but smile:-) Yes, the dentists is a fearsome place for many – you should have been around when I was a little boy and went to the dentist!!
    When you state, “I have heard too many lies to get in front of the line . . . . ” you identify one of our challenges, one of our choices in life, and that is whether to assume the worst and act or assume the best and act. You see, if we adopt the first choice we risk doing an injustice to one in need of help and, if we adopt the second choice, the result is positive in all ways. If, then, we say that someone undeserving jumped the queue, the fact is that that action is the responsibility of that person; our actions remain untarnished.
    Thanks for the sentiments expressed. However, all days are special or, if you like, all days are just as important as the next!

  5. bert says:

    I think that for this problem, i wouldn’t do the ‘right thing’. I have heard too many lies to get in front of the line before … besides, i hate going to the dentist – i would see my appointment swap more as an escape, me, the coward, not facing the fear.
    Have a great easter weekend!

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