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Responsibility in Health, Illness, and Treatment

Werner M. Mendel, MD
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1968;18(6):697-705. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1968.01740060057007.
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THE MAJOR crisis facing our society in the United States, either with destruction and chaos, or an opportunity unheralded in the history of mankind, is awaiting resolution within the next 30 years. This crisis which threatens human institutions and human beings more than disease or famine or even atomic wars is the crisis of values, a crisis of responsibility. For the first time since the dawn of history, man has the technological skills to free himself from his dependency on the environment. He has the capacity for long life and health, and he has the opportunity for freedom from physical needs to such an extent that leisure and creativity can be a reality for all social classes. Yet the values which are the backbone of our motivational system, transmitted to us by our parents from past generations, are anachronistic. These values which

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