Monthly Letters to Pulmonary Patients by Thomas L. Petty

Thomas L. Petty, M.D.

Professor of Medicine, 
University of Colorado

Chairman, National Lung Health Education Program (NLHEP)


National Lung Health Education Program
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HealthOne Center
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Denver, CO 80218
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House of Blues

July 1999
Second Wind
Lomita, California

Dear Friends:

     This was also during the annual New Orleans Jazz Festival. Above the stage where great music was being played by the best in New Orleans, was the motto, “in diversity we find unity”. This caused me to reflect on the impact of this statement.

     We all benefit from living in a multiple cultural, ethnic, and religious society. Diversity is our heritage. But, what about unity? Are we, or any other modern society really unified? Catastrophic events in many parts of the world suggest otherwise! 

     Man’s violence against man is imprinted in the earliest of recorded times from cave wall drawings to Cain and Able. Why? As we trace our ancestry to Australopithecus afarius, better known as “Lucy” to 1.8 million years ago at the threshold of the birth of homo sapius, we also consider another pathway in human evolution, in Ethiopia, Australopithecus “garhi”, which is the local word for surprise.

     As a physician and one who cares for all human beings, I am taken by the designation “surprise”. How nations, societies, and governmental leaders can surprise us with deceit and disaster must be part of the evolutionary period which continues to move all too slowly forward. 

     As we look for the link between our ancient, often violent ancestors and the civilized human being, we have found this species. It is modern man” in our “present society”. House of Blues!

Your friend,

Thomas Petty, MD

Last update:
23 Feb 2002