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Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit


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Alfred Nobel: Lord of Dynamite, Servant of Peace

By the Rev. Dr.  Ed HirdAlfred Nobel

According to the International Committee of the Red Cross, approximately 60 to 100 million mines are still scattered throughout 69 countries. These weapons kill or maim more than 25,000 people a year –equivalent to a victim every 22 minutes.  Thanks to the tragic death of Princess Diana in 1997, the evil effects of land mines finally received centre stage.

It is quite ironic that the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize went to campaigners against landmines. A Nobel Peace Prize is worth over a million dollars, and is one of the world’s top awards. Yet the founder of the Peace Prize, Alfred Nobel, earned his multi-millions by selling armaments and explosives throughout the world.

Alfred Nobel has been described as the Lord of Dynamite, because he both invented and alfred-nobel-medallionnamed Dynamite, taking it from the Greek word ‘dynamos’, meaning ‘power’. World War One and Two devoured millions of lives, indirectly due to the technological advances in Alfred Nobel’s laboratories. In the past, the gunsmoke from cannons used to stop battles, because the massive clouds of smoke blocked the view of the generals.

Alfred Nobel, however, invented smokeless gunpowder, enabling the slaughter at Flanders Fields to go on hour after hour without ceasing. In many ways, Alfred was just following in his father Immanuel’s footsteps. Immanuel Nobel, a loyal Swede, invented land and sea mines as a cost-effective means of protecting Sweden’s roads and beaches. The Swedish government, however, showed no interest; so he moved to Russia, where he helped the Russians beat back the English and French fleets with the use of mines. English Admiral Napier recorded in his famous diary: ‘The Gulf of Finland is full of infernal machines.’

How ironic that the Nobel fortune is now being used this year to combat the spread of these very mines! The Nobel family made millions by manufacturing nitroglycerin, a useful but unstable explosive. After Alfred’s 20 year-old brother Emil was tragically killed in a nitroglycerin explosion, their father Immanuel had a crippling stroke.

In response, Alfred devoted himself to discovering a new safe explosive. By alfred noble labcombining nitroglycerin with kieselguhr clay, Alfred created a stable, transportable explosive, which he called dynamite. England, being cultural conservative, would have nothing to do with dynamite. So instead the Scots cornered the dynamite market.

North America, which always loves a new fad, went crazy over dynamite. At one point, North Americans were even using dynamite as a new ‘humane way’ of killing cattle for the meat industry! In the 1880’s, the great railway engineer William Cornelius Van Horne built three Nobel Dynamite factories in Canada. That very dynamite made it possible for the Canadian Pacific Railway to be blasted through the mighty Rockies all the way to the West Coast. It would not be far off to say that without Nobel’s dynamite, B.C. would probably be part of the United States today.

Alfred Nobel never wanted dynamite to be used for other than peaceful purposes. He was thrilled when his dynamite blasted a path Alfred Nobel Stampfor the Panama Canal in 1914. Sadly enough, his dynamite also blasted countless lives from 1914- to 1918, including the lives of my great-uncles William and Harry.

All his life, Alfred Nobel loathed war. He considered war to be ‘the horror of horrors and the greatest of all crimes’. “For my part,” Nobel said, “I wish all guns with their belongings and everything could be sent to hell, which is the proper place for their exhibition and use.”

In many ways, Alfred Nobel is a symbol of the alfred_nobel youngfact that it is never too late to change, never too late to start again. When Alfred’s older brother Ludwig died, one newspaper accidentally printed Alfred’s obituary instead. The obituary described Alfred as a man who became rich by enabling people to kill each other in unprecedented numbers.

Deeply shaken by this assessment, Alfred Nobel resolved, from then on, to use his fortune in awarding accomplishments that benefited humanity. In his will, Alfred designated five annual awards to benefit leaders in physics, chemistry,medicine, literature, and peace. The Nobel Peace award was for ‘the person who shall have done the most or the best work to promote fraternity between nations, for the abolition of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses…’

Twelve out of his twenty relatives were so incensed that they launched lawsuits to try to reverse the terms of his philanthropic will. In contrast, Emanuel Nobel, the spokesman for the Russian branch of the family, supported the generous intentions of the will. King Oscar II of Sweden, in a personal audience with Emanuel, said: “Your Uncle Alfred has been influenced by peace fanatics, and particularly by women.” Emanuel replied that he would not care to expose his sisters and brothers to the risk of being reproached in the future by distinguished scientists for having appropriated funds that properly belonged to them. After his bold comments to the king, Emanuel followed his lawyer’s advice and immediately fled from Sweden back to Russia, to avoid arrest by the disgruntled king.

It’s remarkable when you think of all the Nobel_Peace_Prize2intriguing people who have received the Nobel Peace Prize, and whose lives have been radically changed by that very act. The names have become part and parcel of our recent history, names like Martin Luther King Jr, Nelson Mandela, F.W. De Klerk, Albert Schweitzer, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Andrei Sakharov, Yitzhak Rabin, Mikhail Gorbachev, Elie Wiesel, Lech Walesa, Mother Teresa, Anwar Sadat, and Menachim Begin. The first Canadian to ever receive the Nobel Peace Prize was the much-loved Prime Minister Lester Pearson, for his role in helping to end the Suez Canal crisis. The first person ever to receive the Nobel Peace Prize was Jean Henri Dunant, the founder of the International Red Cross Society, back in 1901.

My prayer is that Jesus the Prince of Peace may raise up many such Champions of Peace in the 21st Century. Blessed indeed are the Nobel Peace-makers (Matthew 5:9).

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-author of the award-winning Battle for the Soul of Canada

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada V4A 0A5.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 

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Dr Joseph Lister: Medical Revolutionary

 By the Rev. Dr. Ed HirdDr Joseph Lister Picture

 “Nothing exceeds halitosis as a social offense.  Nothing equals Listerine® as a remedy.” Such was the claim of a 1928 advertisement for Listerine ® mouthwash. Listerine® Antiseptic mouthwash, wasn’t born in the bathroom, however, but in the operating room.

 

Back in 1865, Dr. Joseph Lister, the son of a well-known physicist, first demonstrated the use of an antiseptic in surgery.  Later, Dr. Joseph Lawrence refined his product and named it Listerine® after Dr. Lister.  History is uncertain whether Lister appreciated the favour.

 

One hundred and thirty years ago, almost 50% of the patients undergoing major surgery died from infection. As the famous saying went, “The operation was a success, but the patient died.”  In the 1870’s, Lister was the first to treat wounds with dressings soaked in carbolic acid.  Lister, in agreement with Dr. Louis Pasteur, suggested surgeons wash their hands and sterilize their instruments before operating.  After significant resistance, British and American hospitals gradually adopted the sterile procedures promoted by Lister.

 

Lister and Pasteur were personal friends who supported each other when viciously attacked Dr Louis Pasteurby the medical establishment.  When Pasteur was publicly honoured at age 70 by his medical peers,  he turned and bowed his head towards Lister, saying: “the future belongs to him who has done the most for suffering humanity.”

Lister has been described as the greatest man of the nineteenth century.  Even the common Bandaid, created by Johnson and Johnson, can be directly traced to Lister’s influence.

In the days before Lister, the death rate from amputation, the most frequent ‘major’ operation in his day, was forty percent.  By 1910, thanks to Lister’s influence, the death rate from amputation had dropped to less than three percent.  How many of us had relatives who were injured in World War One or Two, relatives who might not had survived without Lister’s contributions?

One of the most feared accidents a hundred years ago was the compound fracture, where the sharp end of the broken bone pierced the skin.  Because it so often resulted in death from infection, most doctors would immediately amputate the victim’s arms and legs.  When I think about how many of our teens have come back from Mount Seymour and Grouse with compound fractures from skiing or snowboarding, I give thanks for Joseph Lister.

Back then, surgeons did not wear gowns or Surgeongloves, nor did they cover their hair with caps or their noses and their mouths with masks.  The result was that the patient was in danger of infection, not from ‘bad air’ as they thought, but from the surgeon’s hands, his clothes, his breath, and his hair.   Lister had heard that ‘carbolic acid,’ a coal-tar derivative used to preserve railway tracks and ships’ timbers, was effective in treating sewage in Carlise, and in curing cattle of parasites.  By cleaning wounds and dressing his patients with carbolic acid, Lister was able to keep his hospital ward in Glasgow free of infection for nine months.  Lister’s cloud of carbolic spray drenched the whole area, surgeon and all, and so killed the bacteria before they had a chance to invade the wound.

Carbolic spray, however, was caustic to the skin and body tissues, and sometimes caused poisoning.  The surgeon’s skin would become bleached and numb, his nails cracked, and his lungs sore as he breathed in large quantities of carbolic.  Some surgeons became so ill that they had to give up using the spray entirely.  Even Lister described it as ‘a necessary evil incurred to attain a greater good.’ After many experiments, he found that boracic acid was a better antiseptic.

Because of his new fame, Lister was invited to leave Edinburgh and join the prestigious King’s College Hospital in London.  The newspapers reported Lister as saying that it was his duty to go to King’s because the teaching of surgery in London was very bad.  Such publicity did not go down well with his future London colleagues.  “Who is this ignorant professor from an insignificant Scottish University,” they said, “that he should dare to criticize the great London teaching-schools?”

 

Lister also made himself unpopular by Joseph Lister's antisepticinsisting for hygienic reasons that his wards should be separated from all other wards, and that they should not be shared by any other surgeon.  He even had the nerve to bring his own personally trained staff with him from Edinburgh.  Little by little however, Lister won the English over.

Dr. Frederick Cartwright, a Fellow in the Royal College of Surgeons, holds that Lister “was a humble servant of God, and that he always asked for His guidance in moments of difficulty.  There is no doubt that he believed himself to be directly inspired by God…To Lister, the operating-theatre was a temple.” Lister was very humble, but also very brave and determined.  In spite of all the opposition that he faced, he never gave up because he knew that God was guiding him to help humanity.

My prayer for those reading this article is that the ‘Great Physician’ Jesus may empower each of you, like  Joseph Lister, to be ‘revolutionaries’ for the healing of our homes and families.

 

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-author of the award-winning book Battle for the Soul of Canada

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada V4A 0A5.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 USD/CDN.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca