According to the “Zen Gardner*,” the pursuit of truth is “what drives the heart of man and is the natural draw of every living soul. This is why youth are so altruistic and idealistic until the educational system and societal “norms” start to clip their wings.” [“Further the Oft Neglected Path;” http://www.zengardner.com/further-the-oft-neglected-path/]. The Zen Gardner sadly points out that those who begin their quest for clinical and scientific truth often opt out for “convenient way stations” and park on the “particular perch” which they feel is sufficiently above the valley of deceit. There they sit, thinking that they have enough perspective to “pass judgement on the rest.”
There are many corrupting factors that interrupt the quest for honesty and truth in clinical science. First, as I have often pointed out, are outrageous loans that students are forced to deal with when they enter their practice lives. They should be concentrating on building their knowledge and skills, but often they are forced into a production mindset so that they can accumulate enough money to pay the loans, buy a practice and start a family. How easy it is to make rationalizations for that extra paycheck!
Students are also not raised with a diligent and precision mindset while they are in school. A precision mindset makes all the difference between becoming a great practitioner and merely settling for mediocrity. How easy it is to overlook the deficient impression when there is the pressure to produce and the next patient is already in the waiting room! How many practitioners pass off a defective impression and rationalize that it is acceptable when in their hearts they know it is not. How practitioners look at their impressions says a lot about who they really are.
I never had the luxury of slacking off with this mindset because I had a tough task master who demanded diligence and precision. I also did not have the pressure to produce or pay back loans, so I was able to concentrate on becoming the very best practitioner that I could be. I had the toughest taskmaster–my father and mentor–Dr. Elliot Feinberg. He vehemently insisted that I always pursue excellence. He was the ultimate role model, for as tough as he was on me, he was even tougher on himself. I saw him do things over that I know 99% of dentists would accept. He always used to say that one of the hardest tasks in dentistry is to be “your own worst critic.” No one is looking over your shoulder. “If you think you can do better, why don’t you?” he would bark.
“This is not an easy saying for most,” says the Zen Gardner. He points out that we have all compromised at one point or another. But those who’ve kept on compromising know it as well as the price they’ve had to pay. The Zen Gardner notes that people often hear the distant call to travel on the right path, but they have lost their truth-seeking musculature, which was “conveniently snipped and shorn in their formative years.” Says the Zen Gardner: “This is one of the worst travesties of our spiritually quenched and dumbed-down societal condition.”
The Zen Gardner notes that societal emphasis on status, income bracket, and a sense of superior intellect, morality or spirituality in an exclusive and judgmental manner can be the worst enemies to the pursuit of truth and clinical excellence. These traits often cause professionals to dismiss any information that “surpasses the little ledge of advantage they think they’ve climbed to.” Any evidence that contradicts their professional viewpoint is vigorously attacked.
The most obvious manifestation of this mindset is seen in today’s society. Anything contrary to the mainstream narrative is marginalized as “politically incorrect”, “conspiracy theory” and now even “terrorist activity,” the Zen Gardner notes. Dentistry is not practiced in a vacuum, but in this backdrop of societal behavior. “This mindset, says Zen Gardner, “interferes in every level of information sharing,” and it is a huge obstacle to those seeking the full-on clarity and empowerment.
The Zen Gardner notes that the simple solution for professionals is to ignore societal norms and “keep climbing” the mountain of excellence and pursuit of truth. He poses a very blunt question that every practitioner should ask: “Are you willing to go further…no matter what the cost?” There are very real costs involved, and they are not to be taken lightly. Nothing worthwhile comes without diligence and hard work; without an investment of time, money and sweat.
The Zen Gardner concludes that “It comes down to heart vs mind in many ways. Where do we invest our time and energy? In things that reinforce our personal security and support our personal stance? Or in unselfish efforts that resonate with our own hunger for real truth and clinical excellence for the betterment of our patients?
We are all in this life, this profession, this world together. What kind of world do we want to leave for those who will come after? A world of mediocrity or a world of truth and excellence? It’s time to take a stand, and as Zen Gardner exhorts, to “keep climbing.”
*The Zen Gardner, Ole Dammegard, Zen Gardner is an impactful and controversial author and speaker with a piercing philosophical viewpoint. His writings have been circulated to millions and his personal story has caused no small stir amongst the entrenched alternative pundits. His book You Are the Awakening has met rave reviews and is available on amazon.com. You Are the Awakening examines the dynamics of the awakening to a more conscious awareness of who we are and why we are here – dynamics which are much different from the programmed approach of this world we were born into.
Become the best practitioner in full coverage restorative dentistry that you can be! Don’t settle! Join the ONWARD program and learn how to do crown and bridgework with excellence and confidence, how to save “hopeless” teeth, and how to provide new options for patient treatment that you never thought of. Visit the website: https://theonwardprogram.com
Dr. Feinberg is also available to give presentations. His CV and speaker packet is posted on the website. (https://theonwardprogram.com/about-dr-feinberg/) Dr. Feinberg can be reached at info@theONWARDprogram.com.