skip navigation
NIH Record  
Vol. LXIV, No. 21
  October 12, 2012
NCI’s Ambassador for Hispanic Health Has Far Reach
Funding Arrives for Metro Tunnel, Safer Pike Crossings
Clayton To Lead Office of Research on Women’s Health
Spectrum of Science Offered at Stetten Symposium, Oct. 17
Vector Biology Symposium Highlights Brazil, U.S. Collaboration
printer friendly version
NIH An ‘Island of Modesty’
Columnist Brooks Prescribes Humility, Great Books for Cultural Improvement

Columnist David Brooks speaks at NIH, Sept. 11.

Columnist David Brooks speaks at NIH, Sept. 11.

Nations, like patients, need diagnosticians, and one of the most able and popular of them—New York Times columnist David Brooks—visited NIH on Sept. 11 to offer insights, informed by his interest in cognitive science, on American cultural strengths and failings.

Brooks argues that, since the end of World War II, virtues such as modesty, humility and the idea of the self as needing serious constraint have—abetted by psychologists intent on raising self-esteem—given way to feel-good impulses that have robbed Americans of a moral vocabulary. “If there’s going to be a moral void,” he warned, “the self will expand.”

He readily admitted that his profession—political reporting—exposes him to an abnormal study population. Hewing to the advice that he should interview at least 3 politicians a day, he has discovered “they are all emotional freaks of one sort or another. I call it logorrheal dementia—they talk so much they drive themselves insane.”

All Runners, Great and Small
29th NIH Institute Relay Takes Off

The late summer sun pours down on the Bldg. 1 lawn. Then, shattering the tranquil prospect, comes the honk of a species endemic to the Bethesda campus.

The Canada goose? Not.

R&W President Randy Schools is on the bullhorn, rallying all runners great and small for the 29th NIH Institute Relay.

Competitors from nearly 90 teams with unbeatable names stretch and pace and appraise the competition.

The team Got Teeth? eyes competitors from Twisted Blisters. Social & Behavioral team members read that body language on Resolved Issues. Bone to Run checks out the Decibelles. And everybody dreads Slow & Bureaucratic.

Now the suspense is killing. A last-minute call for volunteer marshals delays the opening whistle until NIH Police Lt. Udon Cheek, a 12-year veteran on the force, is satisfied.