"Take the sum of human achievement in action, in science, in art, in literature-subtract the work of the men above 40, and while we should miss great treasures even priceless treasures, we would practically be where we are today..The effective, moving, vitalizing work of the world is done between the ages of 25 and 40" (Bliss, 1991, p. 323). Dr. William Osler-author, professor, and esteemed physician-spoke those words in 1905 when he was 55 years old and leaving the employment of Johns Hopkins for a prestigious position at Oxford University. He went on to say, "..the uselessness of men above 60 years of age, and the incalculable benefit it would be in commercial, political and in professional life if, as a matter of course, men stopped work at this age" (p. 323). Osler continued by alluding to a euthanasia scheme from Anthony Trollope's novel, The Fixed Period. His comments were meant to cleverly reflect his humility for his own work and critique the status of universities that hired faculty for life. His sarcasm and subtleties were missed by much of the media reporting on the farewell address, and they assumed he was truly in favor of euthanasia (e.g., The New York Times, 1905). Despite Dr. Osler's cynical intent, soon some older Americans feared being oslerized (Elster, 2006).
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