Columbia University in the City of New York
Low Library Rotunda
February 24, 1995
The Willma and Albert Musher Chair has evolved from my conviction that the betterment of human life can best be accomplished through the use of the principles and procedures of science. My Concept envisions bringing about life betterment and contentment t hrough more effective science and life engineering. My hope is that the Musher Chair can play a crucial role in making this vision a reality.
We know that the everyday human being is wonderfully, magnificently, and, thus far, incomprehensibly structured. Humans can see the glorious colors of the flower, and the beauty of the sea, and the stars and the moon. They can hear the rushing sounds of t he winds through the trees and delight in the songs and harmony of the birds and nature. They can sense the delicate flavor of fine foods -- and they can also hear and feel the pangs of horrible moans. They can create thoughts, and ideas, and machines tha t can fly and that can make people happy -- and, also, that can destroy them. They can reproduce themselves into countless magnificent creations with manifold abilities to create and perform endless acts of beauty and, yes, also acts of ugliness.
In many respects, the human entity operates as a mechanical machine. It has its own pump to circulate its blood to every region of the body. And, it generates its own physical energy to walk and breathe. It can even heal itself. What complexity of working parts this body is, to maintain and to operate, and to flourish!
Even more, this human entity has sensory and communicating devices which our human mind does not yet have the ability to understand. There are devices such as the conscience, to give us a prod when we are on the wrong track -and the emotion of satisfaction when we are moving in the right direction. Also, when we need comfort or guidance there are lines of communication to spiritual sources, to friends, to family, and, even, to social workers. In sum, we are creations of unimaginable scientific genius. Wit h such an unbelievable fund of power and of abilities, what inconceivable opportunities are open to the human! With the potential given to us by our Creator, and with our capabilities of reason and creativity, the future of humankind can be unlimited.
But, we must realize that our magnificent potentials can either languish in the dust or shine in the sun. My Concept aims to enable human beings to structure their lives and their behavior so as to achieve their fullest potential. Lives can be improved an d engineered more effectively through the application of proven scientific procedures. The realization of our full potential can result in steady movement towards life betterment and in greater contentment. Indeed, yesterday's miracles can now be explained by today's science. And, in turn, today's science will generate tomorrow's miracles.