thumbnail of John Callaway Interviews; Dr. Jonas Salk
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<v John Callaway>Flying. Man's quest for dominion over air dates from antiquity. <v John Callaway>When myth has it that Icarus tried to fly on wings of wax. <v John Callaway>In the 20th century, flying is a reality. <v John Callaway>And here, from the tip of a bluff in La Jolla, California, venturesome souls leap <v John Callaway>to test the air currents just as those who came here in earlier times explored <v John Callaway>the frontiers of land. <v John Callaway>Meanwhile, over in those stately towers, a modern pioneer is embarked <v John Callaway>on new quests. His vehicle, scientific research, his goals <v John Callaway>nothing less than to find the biological key to disease and to plumb the depths of the <v John Callaway>relationship between nature and man. <v Music>[intro music]. <v Announcer>John Callaway interviews Dr. Jonas Salk. <v John Callaway>Jonas Salk, born in 1914 to a New York clothing manufacturer and his wife, <v John Callaway>graduated high school at 16, college at 19, medical school at 24.
<v John Callaway>During the 1940s, he specialized in research on viruses and immunology, <v John Callaway>gradually moving in on a disease which was to make his name a household word. <v John Callaway>Polio, the crippling killing illness which had swept through the United States for years <v John Callaway>in terrifying summer epidemics. <v John Callaway>Jonas Salk led the team, which in 1953 announced it had developed an effective vaccine <v John Callaway>for polio. In the years that followed, while the vaccine was being tested and distributed <v John Callaway>to a clamorous public, the very private Dr. Salk was forced to live <v John Callaway>in the glare of publicity. <v John Callaway>He was lionized by the public, practically deified by the press, and yet was <v John Callaway>criticized as a publicity seeker by other scientists. <v John Callaway>But the vaccine worked. The clamor died down. <v John Callaway>And with the spotlight now dimmed, Jonas Salk used the prestige and financial backing <v John Callaway>he gained from the polio victory to pursue another dream, to set up an interdisciplinary <v John Callaway>research institute. He chose a spot which was, as he put it, at the juncture of the land, <v John Callaway>sea and sky, the Pacific Coast land at Jolla, California.
<v John Callaway>But while others at the institute pursue keys to alcoholism, cancer, multiple sclerosis <v John Callaway>and other mysteries, Jonas Salk spends fewer and fewer hours in the laboratory. <v John Callaway>He has turned instead to thinking and writing about the metaphysical significance of <v John Callaway>scientific discovery. <v John Callaway>And this suggests an irony that the man whose name today is practically synonymous <v John Callaway>with medical research may very well be remembered by future generations <v John Callaway>as a philosopher. <v John Callaway>Dr. Salk, when did you begin to turn from the <v John Callaway>study in pursuit of natural sciences to the study of man? <v John Callaway>How did that work? <v Dr. Jonas Salk>Well, I probably was thinking those thoughts long before I <v Dr. Jonas Salk>thought of science or thought of medicine. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>As a matter of fact, all through elementary school <v Dr. Jonas Salk>and high school and right up to the time at college, I had intended to study law.
<v Dr. Jonas Salk>Then, for a variety of reasons, my thoughts shifted, my interests <v Dr. Jonas Salk>shifted. And I sometimes think that <v Dr. Jonas Salk>I shifted from an interest in the study of laws or rules <v Dr. Jonas Salk>created by man to the laws of nature. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>It's quite natural for me to think about man, <v Dr. Jonas Salk>to think about nature from which man has arisen, from which man arose <v Dr. Jonas Salk>in the course of evolution. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>And so to me, all this is one. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>It's, it's all of a piece. <v John Callaway>But was there a point in your life when you began to to emerge <v John Callaway>out of the very specific kind of science that you were doing? <v Dr. Jonas Salk>Yes. <v John Callaway>And come back to this more philosophical approach? <v Dr. Jonas Salk>I think so. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>I would associate that with the experiences <v Dr. Jonas Salk>arising out of the work with polio vaccine and the interaction
<v Dr. Jonas Salk>between science and society at that time, interactions with my colleagues. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>So I began to become interested in, I think it was mind systems, human <v Dr. Jonas Salk>systems that began being intensely interested <v Dr. Jonas Salk>in creativity and human creativity. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>And in fact, I think that the institute is an expression <v Dr. Jonas Salk>of that interest and is a manifestation of the way in which <v Dr. Jonas Salk>I reacted to the human impact, <v Dr. Jonas Salk>the impact upon me of the experience that was associated with <v Dr. Jonas Salk>the work on polio. <v John Callaway>Because that interaction as it actually happened wasn't ideal, <v John Callaway>was it? <v John Callaway>That is when you were dealing with the communication, for example. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>Yes. <v John Callaway>Of what was going on with polio vaccine to a larger audience and at the same time trying <v John Callaway>to deal with science. <v John Callaway>Wasn't there, wasn't there a problem in that process?
<v Dr. Jonas Salk>There was an enormous problem. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>See, I was dealing with problems in science problems <v Dr. Jonas Salk>in medicine and that a situation <v Dr. Jonas Salk>in which the public population was wracked with fear, fear <v Dr. Jonas Salk>of this disease which visited every year and brought terror <v Dr. Jonas Salk>to people. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>And even now, when people meet me and want to express <v Dr. Jonas Salk>some personal sentiments about that work, that event, it <v Dr. Jonas Salk>is always that it was the lifting of the fear <v Dr. Jonas Salk>that they appreciate so. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>You're probably aware of the problems that I felt that I had with with journalists <v Dr. Jonas Salk>who constantly want to be present, be looking over my shoulder almost <v Dr. Jonas Salk>as if they want to be part of the process and they were. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>There's a great deal of differences of opinion among colleagues.
<v Dr. Jonas Salk>There were the pressures of those who were interested in seeing the problem solved. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>Those who were interested in promoting its solution. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>Those who are interested in seeing the solution and having the benefits of the solution. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>And as I look back now, that was <v Dr. Jonas Salk>a very intense, very profound human experience. <v John Callaway>And it was perfectly symptomatic of the clash between <v John Callaway>the quick fix mentality, either of journalism or of those of us who <v John Callaway>were citizens who have problems we want solved and those of you who have to deal with <v John Callaway>processes. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>That's right. <v John Callaway>And therefore, it seems to me the work you've done since in asking us to rearrange how we <v John Callaway>think has made good use of the pain that you may have suffered when you had <v John Callaway>those of us who have our cameras leaning over your shoulders, you've taken that which in <v John Callaway>itself is symbolic, isn't it, of how to how to use problems <v John Callaway>instead of being used by them? <v Dr. Jonas Salk>Yes, I think that's well put. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>I had reason to rethink my life
<v Dr. Jonas Salk>as a result of the period when I had worked intensely <v Dr. Jonas Salk>and I ?inauidble? might say problems that you could solve in the laboratory <v Dr. Jonas Salk>or that you would solve in studies with, with patients. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>It was in the course of that time that I appreciated <v Dr. Jonas Salk>the connection between the processes <v Dr. Jonas Salk>with which I'd become familiar and living systems and the <v Dr. Jonas Salk>phenomena and the human interactions. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>If you look at the human population curve, <v Dr. Jonas Salk>you will recognize that it rises very steeply. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>And then at a given point in time, it inflect, so to speak. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>Now, that has been true in the developed world. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>In the developing world, the population is still rising rapidly. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>But the predictions are that this curve of human <v Dr. Jonas Salk>population growth will eventually plateau.
<v Dr. Jonas Salk>This means that at some point in time, in the future, <v Dr. Jonas Salk>we will have to be living in a much more balanced equilibrium. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>Now, how do we transform <v Dr. Jonas Salk>the past into the future, from a past in which <v Dr. Jonas Salk>there was an exponential growth and everything was changing, a great rate into a future <v Dr. Jonas Salk>in which we look forward to a an equilibrium of numbers on the face <v Dr. Jonas Salk>of the earth? <v Dr. Jonas Salk>Now, this implies to me that our value system <v Dr. Jonas Salk>will change and it will change out of necessity and not necessarily <v Dr. Jonas Salk>because we are, will have that much foresight and that much wisdom. <v John Callaway>Or that much will. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>That's right. We may have the will, but it will be the necessity <v Dr. Jonas Salk>that will dictate that the changes that in values <v Dr. Jonas Salk>that are going to be necessary in the future.
<v John Callaway>And what would those value changes be? Would we be global instead of national? <v John Callaway>Would we be co-operative instead of competitive or those? <v John Callaway>Am I in the right direction? <v Dr. Jonas Salk>That's exactly right. The kinds of things that will turn <v Dr. Jonas Salk>the world into a recognition that we are part <v Dr. Jonas Salk>of a community, a world community, and people <v Dr. Jonas Salk>will recognize that it is to their selfish advantage <v Dr. Jonas Salk>to be co-operative. <v John Callaway>Which may mean a change in the way, for example, that we order <v John Callaway>things economically in this country instead of my going into your country, say you're-. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>Yes. <v John Callaway>Someplace else. And I simply rape your country of all the oil I can get. <v John Callaway>I go in with a different. <v John Callaway>attitude. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>I think our relationship to the other developed to the developing countries <v Dr. Jonas Salk>will change. It's going to be clear that it is going to be to the advantage of the <v Dr. Jonas Salk>developed world to help the developing world develop as rapidly <v Dr. Jonas Salk>as possible. It's going to be advantage of advantage to
<v Dr. Jonas Salk>us to relate appropriately to our allies. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>It's going to be advan- advantageous for the powers <v Dr. Jonas Salk>that are now struggling with each other to reduce the struggle <v Dr. Jonas Salk>and then to begin to utilize their resources for their own people. <v John Callaway>Where, where in the scriptures of nature does it say it probably will be such? <v Dr. Jonas Salk>We see both competition and cooperation in nature. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>And evolution could not have reached this point in time were it not for the fact that <v Dr. Jonas Salk>both coexist. You know, about DNA. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>You've heard about DNA. It's the letters for the chemical substance out of which the <v Dr. Jonas Salk>genetic material is made. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>Now, the genetic material is the hereditary material that's passed on from generation <v Dr. Jonas Salk>to generation. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>Now, this hereditary material contains the code that <v Dr. Jonas Salk>tells the cell what it's going to be. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>That tells the organism what it's going to be.
<v Dr. Jonas Salk>And it's the decoding of that code that gives rise <v Dr. Jonas Salk>to all of the functions of the cell and all of the functions of the organism. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>The fact that we are able to speak together now <v Dr. Jonas Salk>is a reflection of the existence in the genetic code of the <v Dr. Jonas Salk>structures or the information necessary to provide the structures <v Dr. Jonas Salk>and our capacity to speak and also the capacity to think. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>Now, this has all emerged in the course of evolutionary time. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>But if you think of the genetic code as in a sense separate from <v Dr. Jonas Salk>the rest of the cell, of which it is a part, you have to recognize <v Dr. Jonas Salk>also that this hereditary material is responsible for the <v Dr. Jonas Salk>creation of the proteins and the enzymes that in turn are necessary <v Dr. Jonas Salk>to make the genetic material. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>Now, that's a remarkable phenomenon. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>How this came into into being we don't know, and there are many
<v Dr. Jonas Salk>people who are studying the origin of life and studying the origin and the evolution of <v Dr. Jonas Salk>the genetic code. <v John Callaway>Right here. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>Here. Indeed. And and elsewhere also. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>But we have people here who are especially interested in that. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>In fact, 1 of the- 1 of the 2 scientists who had <v Dr. Jonas Salk>discovered the structure of DNA is, is here at this institute. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>The point that I wanted to make is the following, that <v Dr. Jonas Salk>the genetic material has the code to make the proteins <v Dr. Jonas Salk>or the enzymes that are necessary to make the genetic code. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>Now, it should be clear from that one example that <v Dr. Jonas Salk>the, these two systems, the somatic system <v Dr. Jonas Salk>or proteins, on the one hand, the genetic system or the nucleic acid, on the other hand, <v Dr. Jonas Salk>had to enter into a co-operative arrangement, <v Dr. Jonas Salk>a collaborative arrangement, coexisting arrangement in which each was dependent, is
<v Dr. Jonas Salk>dependent upon the other. Their existence separately and their existence <v Dr. Jonas Salk>together depends upon this solving this kind of a problem, <v Dr. Jonas Salk>which nature has done. <v John Callaway>And that's to be found in man. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>And that's to be found in man. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>Has to be found in humans. <v John Callaway>Human beings, of course, have not been around very long, relatively speaking. <v John Callaway>Take this diorama in the Chicago Field Museum of Natural History showing a scene <v John Callaway>from the life of early man. <v John Callaway>By the time this family lived fifty thousand years ago, the world was already <v John Callaway>an estimated two and a half billion years old. <v John Callaway>And despite a few cosmetic differences, they really were not so unlike you <v John Callaway>and me. They bury their dead. <v John Callaway>They pursued artistic expression, but mostly they worked <v John Callaway>to survive to find food, shelter and clothing. <v John Callaway>They and we are a part of what Dr. Salk calls epic A in human history, <v John Callaway>a period of time in which the competitive, materialistic side of our nature
<v John Callaway>has been dominant. What we're going into now, he says, is epic B when <v John Callaway>spiritual coöperative values will prevail. <v John Callaway>But if you really want to understand Dr. Salk's thinking, you've got to understand this. <v John Callaway>A simple looking graph called a sigmoid or S-shaped curve. <v John Callaway>Statisticians use it to chart population growth. <v John Callaway>He uses it imaginatively as a thinking tool. <v John Callaway>Dr. Salk, why your fascination with the S curve? <v Dr. Jonas Salk>Well, I think I'm fascinated with it because when I <v Dr. Jonas Salk>first began to look at the S-shaped curve and <v Dr. Jonas Salk>connection, for example, with the growth of a fruitfly population, <v Dr. Jonas Salk>I try to imagine what the fruit flies were doing <v Dr. Jonas Salk>at each step along that curve and whether or not they had a town hall meeting <v Dr. Jonas Salk>at the time they got to that point of inflection and decided, okay, fellows, we better <v Dr. Jonas Salk>slow down because something isn't going right.
<v Dr. Jonas Salk>And then it became apparent to me that somehow nature had built into the system <v Dr. Jonas Salk>a way of responding to the context, <v Dr. Jonas Salk>the environment, the circumstances that were created <v Dr. Jonas Salk>in the course of the increasing number of food flies <v Dr. Jonas Salk>that appeared in the colony. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>And at 1 point in time, it must have been that <v Dr. Jonas Salk>either they began to run out of space or they began to run out of nutrients, <v Dr. Jonas Salk>but they shifted from the mode of progressive acceleration and multiplication <v Dr. Jonas Salk>to progressive deceleration and eventually reached the plateau. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>And then I recognized that the same thing was true in <v Dr. Jonas Salk>bacterial colonies, yeast cultures, the <v Dr. Jonas Salk>production process ceases.
<v Dr. Jonas Salk>It turns off. As if it's responding to some kind of feedback effect. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>It's not unlike a change in attitude about the <v Dr. Jonas Salk>use of energy without thinking about <v Dr. Jonas Salk>a finite resource reacting as if the resources <v Dr. Jonas Salk>were infinite. <v John Callaway>A kind of governor of sorts. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>And this kind of a governor, as you call it, this kind of a control and regulatory <v Dr. Jonas Salk>mechanism must've been invented in the course of evolutionary time to <v Dr. Jonas Salk>serve the needs for survival and for evolution. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>Now, when you look at the control and regulatory mechanisms that exist in living <v Dr. Jonas Salk>systems, you see that the S-shaped curve appears throughout. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>Now, I began to analogize between <v Dr. Jonas Salk>what was happening in these living systems,
<v Dr. Jonas Salk>so to speak, and the human population growth curve. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>And I was aware of the rapidity with which in the last <v Dr. Jonas Salk>several decades last century, the population growth curve was mounting rapidly, <v Dr. Jonas Salk>and in the early 70s, late 60s, the 0 population growth movement <v Dr. Jonas Salk>was underway and a great deal of talk about <v Dr. Jonas Salk>how can we limit population growth. <v John Callaway>Small is beautiful. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>That's another example of a reaction <v Dr. Jonas Salk>to excess. And the popular- and the the sigmoid growth curve <v Dr. Jonas Salk>is a reaction to excess. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>It must be that there are different set of rules in the first half of that <v Dr. Jonas Salk>curve as the population is increasing as <v Dr. Jonas Salk>compared to the second half. And so that point of inflection appears to me to mark <v Dr. Jonas Salk>a change in signals, a change in values. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>And I imagine, therefore, that there must have been a different set of values that
<v Dr. Jonas Salk>prevailed in the first part of the curve period during the first part of the curve and <v Dr. Jonas Salk>the second. And I see that- <v Dr. Jonas Salk>I imagined when I first began to see this, that there would be for not too long <v Dr. Jonas Salk>appear a, an inflection in that curve so far as human population <v Dr. Jonas Salk>is concerned. But this would come about not altogether by itself, <v Dr. Jonas Salk>but it would require now that we concern ourselves <v Dr. Jonas Salk>not with death control, primarily as we did in the past and <v Dr. Jonas Salk>disease control, but we would be- would be- begin to concern ourselves with birth control <v Dr. Jonas Salk>so that the way in which to control the expanding <v Dr. Jonas Salk>population and the expanding needs that this evoked in the <v Dr. Jonas Salk>face of limited resources would be the recognition and the realization that it would <v Dr. Jonas Salk>be to the advantage of the individual, to the advantage of the species to begin <v Dr. Jonas Salk>to level off the number of people that existed on the face of the earth.
<v John Callaway>So while some people would call that artificial, you would say <v John Callaway>that it is natural selection that we can help along. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>We are responding in a sense to signals that are natural. <v John Callaway>From nature. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>In us to which to respond. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>And these are signals from nature. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>And it's for this reason that the <v Dr. Jonas Salk>arguments against birth control are unnatural. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>They're interfering with the natural process of limitation <v Dr. Jonas Salk>in numbers, in the face of a context, an environment <v Dr. Jonas Salk>in which it would be advantageous for the numbers <v Dr. Jonas Salk>to be limited. The same thing applies to <v Dr. Jonas Salk>the use of energy. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>If the resources are limited, then clearly <v Dr. Jonas Salk>the feedback signal is that we have to change our pattern
<v Dr. Jonas Salk>of behavior in relation to the use of energy. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>There is an appropriateness of a response, which is the same as saying that <v Dr. Jonas Salk>it's an adaptive response. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>Now, this is being conscious and aware of ourselves <v Dr. Jonas Salk>and our environment. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>Our context. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>Our relationships. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>To ourselves, to others and to the species. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>I speak of being, I'm implying that the human being <v Dr. Jonas Salk>possesses an aesthetic. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>The aesthetic for life, the aesthetic that <v Dr. Jonas Salk>will tell us when we are doing something wrong or when we're do something right <v Dr. Jonas Salk>in evolutionary terms and not in moralistic terms. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>My preoccupation with an interest in the sigmoid curve is <v Dr. Jonas Salk>that it symbolically reflects
<v Dr. Jonas Salk>what is happening. And I sometimes play games with myself. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>I put myself in a position that I call in outer space and out of time. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>And I looked down on the sigmoid curve and I imagine what <v Dr. Jonas Salk>it must be like on that curve at different points in time, including the point of <v Dr. Jonas Salk>inflection. What's going to be like at some point in time in the future. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>And that's why I sometimes refer to it as I use it as a thinking tool. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>And then I come back and put myself on the curve, put myself back in <v Dr. Jonas Salk>time and in space, and my mood and my attitude is altogether different. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>But then every now and again, I put myself into out of time and out of space, just to get <v Dr. Jonas Salk>perspective. <v John Callaway>But permit me to interrupt to ask you came to this way of <v John Callaway>thinking out of your own education and your own perspective. <v John Callaway>And yet you're suggesting, if I read you correctly, that the rest of us might <v John Callaway>well be advised to use this way of thinking as opposed, say, to
<v John Callaway>the psychiatric approach or to the economic determinist <v John Callaway>approach that we might take nature very seriously. <v John Callaway>Is that true? <v Dr. Jonas Salk>I think so. I think that what I'm trying to say is that there's a great deal that we can <v Dr. Jonas Salk>learn from nature. The purpose of which, of course, would allow us to <v Dr. Jonas Salk>deal with problems of disease. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>But I think it has more profound meaning. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>I think it informs us as to how nature works. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>It informs us, if you will, as to how nature thinks. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>And if you see ourselves as having emerged <v Dr. Jonas Salk>from this long evolutionary past. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>Just think how remarkable the process of evolution must be. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>And just think of how remarkable the biological <v Dr. Jonas Salk>processes must be to produce <v Dr. Jonas Salk>an organism that has the capacity to think. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>It has the capacity to reflect.
<v Dr. Jonas Salk>To think about itself, the capacity to unravel the mysteries of nature. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>To think about our own minds and how we think and to be conscious <v Dr. Jonas Salk>of all of this, it is for this reason that I believe that <v Dr. Jonas Salk>the future of man, human future <v Dr. Jonas Salk>is intimately linked to our capacity now to use our success <v Dr. Jonas Salk>in having survived to this point in time to learn how to evolve. <v John Callaway>So this is point B that you're talking about, we've gone past the survival point. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>I think we have succeeded in surviving. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>And there's no question about our surviving. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>There are now more than 4 and half billion people on the face of the earth. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>In fact, one might even say that the problems with which we are confronted now are the <v Dr. Jonas Salk>problems of success. <v John Callaway>The consequences of success. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>Indeed. And so when we berate ourselves for
<v Dr. Jonas Salk>the great advances that are made in science and technology and say <v Dr. Jonas Salk>that all this is now produced horrible problems, which we must contend, <v Dr. Jonas Salk>we completely forget that we have arrived at this point because <v Dr. Jonas Salk>of our success in solving the problems that we've had in the past. <v John Callaway>Now, somebody listening to this conversation or watching it might say that we've left <v John Callaway>something out. So let me introduce it by quoting to you from, from your own book, The <v John Callaway>Survival of the Wisest. <v John Callaway>You said the role of political and religious organizations has been to enlighten <v John Callaway>and guide. Now, new means are needed for inner self regulation <v John Callaway>based on naturalistic rather than on arbitrary moralistic <v John Callaway>formulations. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>Yes. <v John Callaway>What does that say about reverence for religion? <v Dr. Jonas Salk>You see, I believe that religion serves a very important purpose <v Dr. Jonas Salk>in human life. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>But anything that serves an important purpose can also have the opposite effect, depends
<v Dr. Jonas Salk>upon how it's perceived and how it's used and <v Dr. Jonas Salk>what it's used for. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>Religion comes from the Latin religio <v Dr. Jonas Salk>to tie together. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>And religion is based upon a belief system. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>A belief in a certain way in which <v Dr. Jonas Salk>the world is put together, it came into existence and how it operates. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>Now, to me, it is the existence of order that is <v Dr. Jonas Salk>fundamental to our existence, that <v Dr. Jonas Salk>we are manifestations of the existence of order. <v John Callaway>And we get up tomorrow, this table will still be here. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>Yes. <v John Callaway>The sun will come up. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>Yes. Now, some might say that my use of the term order <v Dr. Jonas Salk>is the same as the word God.
<v Dr. Jonas Salk>We're both describing the same phenomenon. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>The difference between the idea of order <v Dr. Jonas Salk>and the idea of an anthropomorphic God. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>A God that is in the form of a person <v Dr. Jonas Salk>that thinks like a person and a personal God that <v Dr. Jonas Salk>looks after me personally and individually. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>Now, most people can think that way most <v Dr. Jonas Salk>easily. And that is the way in which they <v Dr. Jonas Salk>relate themselves to nature, to the cosmos <v Dr. Jonas Salk>and to each other. <v John Callaway>It's why they made a god out of you. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>Well, that's why God was invented. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>You see God was invented because of the necessity <v Dr. Jonas Salk>for having a form of order.
<v Dr. Jonas Salk>The reason that people react to me as they do is because they felt that <v Dr. Jonas Salk>a miracle had been performed. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>And as if their prayers, their wishes, their <v Dr. Jonas Salk>hopes were fulfilled. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>And so people need. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>Someone or something to help them <v Dr. Jonas Salk>deal with the problems that they themselves cannot solve. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>I believe that we can solve these problems <v Dr. Jonas Salk>that we ask God to solve. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>I always remember my mother saying that God helps those who help themselves. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>I remember as a child, I would pray to God. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>But then I soon realized that I had to do something about it myself. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>A belief system is necessary. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>The things that I've been saying to you imply a belief, <v Dr. Jonas Salk>imply a belief in a more hopeful future
<v Dr. Jonas Salk>than in the minds of those who despair. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>And therefore, everything that I say to you is based upon my <v Dr. Jonas Salk>belief that humans are have <v Dr. Jonas Salk>the genetic capacity to solve the problems of <v Dr. Jonas Salk>human evolution. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>They have the capacity within themselves for <v Dr. Jonas Salk>their own salvation, if you like, as well as the capacity for their own destruction. <v John Callaway>As we make that move from destruction <v John Callaway>to salvation. <v John Callaway>Are we really involved in what is the equivalent, what theologians call the leap of <v John Callaway>faith? Have we got to go from A to B? <v Dr. Jonas Salk>Yes. One has to have faith. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>And theologians utilize faith. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>They utilize hope. They inspire people. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>To believe and to hope. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>Because without that then there's alienation and despair.
<v Dr. Jonas Salk>One can grow and evolve with faith and hope. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>But one is destroyed by despair, <v Dr. Jonas Salk>by alienation. Now the word alienation means to lose contact <v Dr. Jonas Salk>with oneself. It's clear that we have within ourselves <v Dr. Jonas Salk>the necessity to be related to others. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>We have the necessity to be related to a purpose. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>We have a necessity not only for our own survival, <v Dr. Jonas Salk>but for the survival of the species. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>We have a double loyalty, which sometimes puts us into conflict. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>Now it's that double loyalty that nature insists that we have, if you will. <v John Callaway>The necessary paradox. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>Indeed. See, the necessity <v Dr. Jonas Salk>for the survival of the individual is the survival of the species. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>The necessity for the survival of the species is survival of the individual.
<v Dr. Jonas Salk>There have been some authors who have <v Dr. Jonas Salk>spoken about the selfish gene, the gene, <v Dr. Jonas Salk>the implication being that the gene's only interest is in its self preservation. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>But we may discern, we may find that <v Dr. Jonas Salk>to be generous is to be selfish. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>And I sometimes play in playing with words. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>I speak about or think about selfish generosity. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>Now, to me, that's not a difficult concept, and it may seem <v Dr. Jonas Salk>paradoxical. <v John Callaway>Let it be, let it be paradoxical. You get a bang out of giving. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>But I don't think so. And you get a bang out of giving, as you say, because there is <v Dr. Jonas Salk>something in us that says it feels good. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>And if it feels good, it must be good in a sense. <v John Callaway>Therefore, it really isn't paradoxical.
<v Dr. Jonas Salk>In that sense. <v John Callaway>It follows as it- as the day the night. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>Which is what I mean when I said before something about <v Dr. Jonas Salk>there is an aesthetic in us, a feeling of <v Dr. Jonas Salk>proportion, of balance. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>This is where in great works of art are appreciated <v Dr. Jonas Salk>universally because the proportion, the scale is just right. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>Now, these are built into us. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>And this has been inherited through evolutionary time. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>And you see this in, in structures. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>You see it in the spiral in, in a shell. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>You see it in all of the structures that, that we study. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>And you see the naturalness, therefore, of the human mind. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>So that the most important of all of the properties of <v Dr. Jonas Salk>of man attributes and the most important
<v Dr. Jonas Salk>?inaudible? Living systems in terms of the movement of the evolutionary process <v Dr. Jonas Salk>is the human mind, which is in the process of evolution. <v John Callaway>Are we behaving in such a way that, that it would appear that <v John Callaway>we take that seriously, that that is our most precious resource? <v Dr. Jonas Salk>I see many signs of that. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>For example, we see what has happened in the development of the educational <v Dr. Jonas Salk>system and the development of schools. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>The sponsorship of the arts and culture. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>All this, to me, indicates that we are becoming <v Dr. Jonas Salk>more. We are appreciating more and more the necessity for <v Dr. Jonas Salk>the reliance upon what the <v Dr. Jonas Salk>mind, mind can do. <v John Callaway>So that you're seeing for every headline that journalists <v John Callaway>give you of bad news, your vision, however, is of a thousand acts of cooperation, <v John Callaway>unreported. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>Yes, I look upon the newspapers, for example, or the news,
<v Dr. Jonas Salk>as I would the pathology report that I would see <v Dr. Jonas Salk>in the hospital when I was an intern. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>All the things that are going wrong. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>But for all the things that are going wrong, there are enormous number of things that are <v Dr. Jonas Salk>going right for all of the people who are doing things that <v Dr. Jonas Salk>are destructive, you might say, and pathologica, there are enormous number of people who <v Dr. Jonas Salk>are organizing themselves and who are doing things to counteract those <v Dr. Jonas Salk>effects. <v John Callaway>In conversations like this, Jonas Salk seems to have left behind the pressured <v John Callaway>world of medical research where he toiled night and day seeking the polio vaccine. <v John Callaway>But a great achievement sometimes takes on a life of its own. <v John Callaway>In 1961, a fellow scientist, Albert Sabin, introduced another polio vaccine <v John Callaway>and started a controversy which flares even to this day. <v John Callaway>This Salk vaccine made from killed polio virus is given by injection. <v John Callaway>The Sabin vaccine from live polio virus is given orally.
<v John Callaway>American doctors traditionally favor live virus vaccines, think they give stronger <v John Callaway>immunity. American children, not surprisingly, favor a sweet tasting sirup <v John Callaway>to a needle in the arm. So the Sabin vaccine caught on quickly here. <v John Callaway>The Salk vaccine has remained popular overseas. <v John Callaway>Both vaccines have good immunization records. <v John Callaway>But neither has been able to wipe out polio completely. <v John Callaway>In the late 70s, Jonas Salk embarked on a quiet campaign to persuade the American medical <v John Callaway>establishment to reinstate his killed virus vaccine as the immunization <v John Callaway>of preference. In January 1981, physicians at Johns Hopkins University <v John Callaway>in Baltimore began a 3 year study to see whether a new, more potent formulation of the <v John Callaway>Salk vaccine will better the odds of immunity. <v John Callaway>And studies abroad have raised the possibility that the strongest immunity comes from <v John Callaway>using the Salk and Sabin vaccines in tandem. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>In a way, I would say now that if the killed virus vaccine had not been <v Dr. Jonas Salk>developed previously, it would have had to be developed now.
<v Dr. Jonas Salk>And the reason I say that is that there are some problems associated with the live virus <v Dr. Jonas Salk>vaccine, which everyone is aware that in very low frequency <v Dr. Jonas Salk>it does cause polio in either the individual vaccinated <v Dr. Jonas Salk>or the contact, but that's only 1 <v Dr. Jonas Salk>in many millions of doses administered. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>There is now developing a supply of killed <v Dr. Jonas Salk>vaccine made with the new newly developed technology, <v Dr. Jonas Salk>and it will undoubtedly come back and may very <v Dr. Jonas Salk>well be necessary to bring about the complete eradication <v Dr. Jonas Salk>of polio. <v John Callaway>Did the did the controversy teach you anything about yourself <v John Callaway>or the politics of science? <v Dr. Jonas Salk>Oh, it taught me a great many lessons. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>It revealed that
<v Dr. Jonas Salk>there is a proper time for any <v Dr. Jonas Salk>new idea. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>In this instance, I think that the state <v Dr. Jonas Salk>of readiness was not, <v Dr. Jonas Salk>was not ripe for some of the ideas that were associated <v Dr. Jonas Salk>with either the preparation or the <v Dr. Jonas Salk>use of a noninfectious vaccine. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>There is now available a body of <v Dr. Jonas Salk>data that is in the process of being reexamined <v Dr. Jonas Salk>and will be interesting to see what happens in the next few years. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>I visualize that in the future there will be <v Dr. Jonas Salk>vaccines not only against, kill virus vaccines, not against polio, but many other viruses <v Dr. Jonas Salk>that would be incorporated in a single syringe in the same way as the vaccine <v Dr. Jonas Salk>for diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough combined.
<v Dr. Jonas Salk>And in fact, the kill polio virus vaccine is combined with the diphtheria, tetanus <v Dr. Jonas Salk>and whooping cough vaccine in many countries and is now being experimented <v Dr. Jonas Salk>on much more widely in some of the developing countries. <v John Callaway>And where do you stand with your old medical adversary, the man who said to you at a <v John Callaway>medical meeting early on in your career why you should know better than to ask that <v John Callaway>question? Dr. Sabin. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>Oh. <v John Callaway>We invite you to the same podium at a scientific meeting, or do we keep you apart? <v Dr. Jonas Salk>Well, as- we've never been kept apart. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>Never had to be kept apart. We've seen each other from time to time. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>We simply see things <v Dr. Jonas Salk>differently. But then that's in the nature of scientific progress. <v John Callaway>You think that science reporting and political response to sciences <v John Callaway>of a higher order than it was, say, in 1955? <v Dr. Jonas Salk>Yes, it is. It's considerably improved. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>And I see it improving increasingly. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>I would say that television has helped enormously and educate,
<v Dr. Jonas Salk>educating and informing the public about. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>Sound science, not talking now about science fiction and some <v Dr. Jonas Salk>gee whiz things, I'm now talking about a deep <v Dr. Jonas Salk>understanding of the way in which scientists' minds work, their motivation <v Dr. Jonas Salk>and recognition of a sense of responsibility on the part <v Dr. Jonas Salk>of scientists for what they're doing and that they're not all <v Dr. Jonas Salk>wild men and women acting without <v Dr. Jonas Salk>any sense of responsibility for the consequences of what they do. <v John Callaway>How are we doing on the old, the old clash between basic and applied research? <v John Callaway>It did. Could you give us an example of the process and the difficulty <v John Callaway>of, say, one of your cancer research projects going on at this institute today? <v Dr. Jonas Salk>Well, let me make a simple observation about the <v Dr. Jonas Salk>control of polio, for example, and why I say that was relatively simple
<v Dr. Jonas Salk>as compared to solving the cancer problem. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>First of all, polio is a disease that comes from outside. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>It's an infectious agent. It is transmitted from person to person. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>And by immunization, you induce the formation of antibody in the bloodstream. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>And the virus is then blocked from getting to the spinal cord where <v Dr. Jonas Salk>paralysis would ensue. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>Now. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>In the case of cancer, the derangement that occurs is some <v Dr. Jonas Salk>abnormality within the cell itself <v Dr. Jonas Salk>that results in its multiplication without respect for <v Dr. Jonas Salk>the order that normally existsin an organ <v Dr. Jonas Salk>or in a cell system, there is very likely a genetic factor that may <v Dr. Jonas Salk>that is involved in some instances in terms of the susceptibility. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>And that's far more difficult to correct, to rectify
<v Dr. Jonas Salk>than simply to inject a vaccine which produces antibody, <v Dr. Jonas Salk>and that prevents the infectious agent that is in the environment from <v Dr. Jonas Salk>doing it, it's dirty work, so to speak. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>But this involves the use of viruses, the use of chemicals, <v Dr. Jonas Salk>the awareness, the studies at the genetic level. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>And studies by immunologists. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>All of these are part of the <v Dr. Jonas Salk>panoply of technology that has to be applied in. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>In trying to unravel this, this question, this <v Dr. Jonas Salk>question. <v John Callaway>I fear that this question is going to be the classic oversimplified question, but I'm <v John Callaway>going to try it anyway. I'll try it a couple of different ways. <v John Callaway>You had a pretty good notion, at least according to the accounts that I've read, of <v John Callaway>what the timeframe was in tracking down
<v John Callaway>the vaccine for polio. <v John Callaway>Others, I read a book once which, which suggested that the Rosenbergs really couldn't <v John Callaway>have been guilty of espionage because too many people, too many scientists in the world <v John Callaway>really knew too much about what was going on in nuclear physics, that everybody knew, <v John Callaway>that everybody else knew. <v John Callaway>Assuming that that kind of knowledge is known <v John Callaway>by those of you who are on the inside. <v John Callaway>How are we doing? What's the timeframe and trying to avoid a word like breakthrough? <v Dr. Jonas Salk>Well, I will never <v Dr. Jonas Salk>attempt to make any kind of prediction about time frame. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>That would be doing a great disservice because it at any moment someone might come up <v Dr. Jonas Salk>with an idea and an insight. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>But it will not be tomorrow. It's going to be unraveled in pieces <v Dr. Jonas Salk>and bits and pieces. There are too many different causes <v Dr. Jonas Salk>of cancer. There are too many different events that have <v Dr. Jonas Salk>to be understood.
<v Dr. Jonas Salk>however, if one wants to do something about cancer, there are some cancers <v Dr. Jonas Salk>about which something can be done, for example, that associate with cigarette smoking. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>Now, this reflects one aspect of the problem, the problem of <v Dr. Jonas Salk>what the public does with knowledge. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>A cancerous, cancer inducing behavior, <v Dr. Jonas Salk>you might say where the <v Dr. Jonas Salk>preference is for scientists to come up with a pill or an injection or a medication of <v Dr. Jonas Salk>some kind. So that in regard to, <v Dr. Jonas Salk>to the, the problem of cancer, I'm afraid it's <v Dr. Jonas Salk>gonna be with us for quite some time. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>But the pattern is going to change with time as we <v Dr. Jonas Salk>learn how to deal with one. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>Then there will be another that will continue to prevail or that might emerge. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>And so I think we may have to get become accustomed to
<v Dr. Jonas Salk>this as a phenomenon associated with life. <v John Callaway>But to go back to your positive view of evolution, would you guess <v John Callaway>that we will evolve towards being a people who will not smoke <v John Callaway>and who will not damage our stomachs, livers with alcohol and <v John Callaway>who will not create urban environments where smoke crams our throats? <v Dr. Jonas Salk>Well, I think that in time we're going to learn what is to <v Dr. Jonas Salk>our advantage and what is to our disadvantage. <v John Callaway>Dr. Salk, aside from the questions being asked here at this institute about cancer and <v John Callaway>its causes and about the origins of life, what are some of the other areas that you're <v John Callaway>exploring? <v Dr. Jonas Salk>More than half of the institute is now in what we call the neurosciences. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>Sciences that have to do with the brain and how the nervous system functions. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>There is an interest, of course, in, in the chemical events that <v Dr. Jonas Salk>are associated, chemical factors are associated with with behavior
<v Dr. Jonas Salk>and in the laboratory in which studies are done in an attempt <v Dr. Jonas Salk>to elucidate the- and understand the nature of the chemical <v Dr. Jonas Salk>substances that communicate within the nervous system. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>There's another laboratory that's concerned with understanding how the bla- <v Dr. Jonas Salk>brain develops. You might say in embryoal- in embryonic life, <v Dr. Jonas Salk>how do cells get from one place to another, <v Dr. Jonas Salk>places where they belong? And how do they connect up? <v Dr. Jonas Salk>There, this may have some practical significance at some time <v Dr. Jonas Salk>in the future in understanding the repair mechanisms following stroke <v Dr. Jonas Salk>or other injury in laboratory that's concerned with the <v Dr. Jonas Salk>chemistry of behavior, you might say. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>Studies on alcohol are being carried out. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>This is one of the centers in the country for studies on <v Dr. Jonas Salk>alcohol. The attempt that is being made here is to see in what way addiction
<v Dr. Jonas Salk>occurs. <v John Callaway>Anything genetically being studied there? <v Dr. Jonas Salk>Well, yes, it does appear from some of the work that's been done <v Dr. Jonas Salk>that people who have a history of alcoholism <v Dr. Jonas Salk>in their family differs from individuals who do not have such <v Dr. Jonas Salk>a family history, suggesting that there probably is a genetic factor that may be <v Dr. Jonas Salk>associated with alcoholism. <v John Callaway>And are you studying something here at the Salk Institute relating to sign language? <v Dr. Jonas Salk>Yes. Matter of fact there is a laboratory that is concerned with <v Dr. Jonas Salk>understanding language acquisition in the deaf mute. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>Then some insight is developed into the biological basis for language. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>You see, there must be a biological basis for language since we have the capacity to <v Dr. Jonas Salk>speak, and the use of the sign language is in a sense, a laboratory <v Dr. Jonas Salk>tool for understanding how the brain is organized in that respect. <v John Callaway>There's a lot we don't know in that area, isn't there? <v Dr. Jonas Salk>An enormous amount. And in an adjacent laboratory, some very interesting things are
<v Dr. Jonas Salk>being done with deaf people <v Dr. Jonas Salk>in whom it has been found that the visual area in the brain, <v Dr. Jonas Salk>the part that's back here, is much more highly developed than <v Dr. Jonas Salk>that in an individual who has normal hearing indicating that the brain has the capacity <v Dr. Jonas Salk>to compensate for limitations <v Dr. Jonas Salk>in one respect by expanding the capacity in other aspects. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>All of this suggests that the brain is a very plastic <v Dr. Jonas Salk>organ, plastic in the sense of being pliable, being capable of far more development <v Dr. Jonas Salk>than has ever been appreciated. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>The institute covers a very wide range of activity. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>It was intended to be an institute for biological studies, addressing ourselves to some <v Dr. Jonas Salk>of the most important issues of the day, not only the problem of cancer, the problem <v Dr. Jonas Salk>of myasthenia gravis, the cause of which was discovered in the sense here <v Dr. Jonas Salk>as an autoimmune disease, a disease in which an antibodies form against
<v Dr. Jonas Salk>certain chemical substances at the junction between a nerve <v Dr. Jonas Salk>and the muscle. We also have a laboratory that is concerned with <v Dr. Jonas Salk>the control or the regulation, shall we say, of fertility. <v John Callaway>And do they all kind of relate to each other? Are the scientists who are here able to <v John Callaway>talk with each other about their various disciplines or is it, do they find themselves <v John Callaway>kind of off in corners alone? <v Dr. Jonas Salk>As a matter of fact, the institute was created to see <v Dr. Jonas Salk>to what extent this could be the interaction, the communication <v Dr. Jonas Salk>and the collaboration could be enhanced. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>And in fact, there's an enormous amount of work that was generated here by <v Dr. Jonas Salk>virtue of the proximity of individuals, even <v Dr. Jonas Salk>from diverse disciplines. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>It's interesting now to see the way in which the neurobiologists and the molecular <v Dr. Jonas Salk>biologists are interacting and work is actually going on, that would not have gone on <v Dr. Jonas Salk>were it not for the fact that they were so easily available and accessible.
<v John Callaway>What's your life like out here? <v John Callaway>What's a day like? How do you live? <v Dr. Jonas Salk>I guess my life is pretty well absorbed in my work. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>It's- my life is very complex, as you might imagine, <v Dr. Jonas Salk>not only because of the work that was associated with the <v Dr. Jonas Salk>creation of the institute. I have nothing to do with administration, <v Dr. Jonas Salk>running it. This is done by the president. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>I have a laboratory that I have some concerns for, <v Dr. Jonas Salk>guide its work. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>I am very much interested in writing which I try to take time to do. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>Many people want to see me or a good deal of correspondence <v Dr. Jonas Salk>that I neglect for the most part. <v John Callaway>You look in good shape. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>There are times of the day, of the week that I walk on the beach
<v Dr. Jonas Salk>and I guess I don't <v Dr. Jonas Salk>suffer from boredom. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>If anything, I would say that I have a problem of time bankruptcy. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>I've tried- I've tried for far too <v Dr. Jonas Salk>long to do more things than I <v Dr. Jonas Salk>have enough time in which to do it. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>At this point, I'm going through a reexamination of what <v Dr. Jonas Salk>are the important things for me to do, trying to reestablish my priorities <v Dr. Jonas Salk>and see what my next career ought to be. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>I probably will spend a good deal of time <v Dr. Jonas Salk>in the period ahead writing as well as maintaining an interest in <v Dr. Jonas Salk>my scientific work and keeping an eye on what I can do. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>To help in further development of the institute <v Dr. Jonas Salk>and to contribute in other ways <v Dr. Jonas Salk>that might be helpful and useful in ameliorating the human predicament.
<v Dr. Jonas Salk>I have the opportunity to do <v Dr. Jonas Salk>so in clarifying my visions and perceptions of the future. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>That's what I would like to be able to do. <v John Callaway>Is there anything that we in the public can do to help you and your colleagues? <v John Callaway>Is there anything we can do together? <v Dr. Jonas Salk>Yes. <v John Callaway>To help? <v Dr. Jonas Salk>Well, there's a great deal that we can do together. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>In fact, we can't do it otherwise. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>You see this a great close partnership between scientists, people, people <v Dr. Jonas Salk>who work in institutions such as this and the public. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>We are public servants, really, <v Dr. Jonas Salk>even though we may not all think that way. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>This institute was created with the funds that came from, <v Dr. Jonas Salk>at that time, the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, the so-called <v Dr. Jonas Salk>March of Dimes. And the March of Dimes continues to support the institute <v Dr. Jonas Salk>to a certain extent, but it is because
<v Dr. Jonas Salk>of the March of Dimes and the contributions of the public to the March of Dimes <v Dr. Jonas Salk>that the institute came into existence. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>It is for that reason that the institute belongs to the people. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>And I suppose one might look upon this as a, a <v Dr. Jonas Salk>national resource, national treasure, if you will, <v Dr. Jonas Salk>to which the public is invited to continue to participate. <v John Callaway>Dr. Salk, what does everything we've been talking about have <v John Callaway>to do with the architecture of this <v John Callaway>place and the design of this place? And then, if you would, the content of this place, <v John Callaway>how you have organized learning and studying here? <v Dr. Jonas Salk>The idea that I had in mind was for it to be a place where not only <v Dr. Jonas Salk>science would be practiced, shall we say, <v Dr. Jonas Salk>so that when I thought about the institute <v Dr. Jonas Salk>at its beginning, I thought of it as a place that would
<v Dr. Jonas Salk>keep abreast of human evolution and would even contribute to human evolution <v Dr. Jonas Salk>through the utilization, <v Dr. Jonas Salk>the cultivation of human creativity. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>And I felt that for that purpose, the institute should be <v Dr. Jonas Salk>situated in a very special place and that the <v Dr. Jonas Salk>ambiance should evoke and inspire <v Dr. Jonas Salk>creativity. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>And it was for this reason that great care was given to the architecture, <v Dr. Jonas Salk>to the creation of an ambiance that would be analogous, if you will, to <v Dr. Jonas Salk>the ambiance of a temple. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>I felt that that kind of respect should be given <v Dr. Jonas Salk>to the kind of work that I hoped would be done here. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>And so the statement that was made was a statement of <v Dr. Jonas Salk>respect to the human spirit, to human potential
<v Dr. Jonas Salk>and to the <v Dr. Jonas Salk>capacity that I believe exists within us. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>To do for ourselves what we sometimes <v Dr. Jonas Salk>pray to God to do. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>Therefore, when scientists are looked upon as the new priesthood, <v Dr. Jonas Salk>when science is sometimes thought of as a religion, <v Dr. Jonas Salk>as a belief system. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>There is some truth to that, because scientists have <v Dr. Jonas Salk>the capacity, the knowledge, the ability to perform <v Dr. Jonas Salk>the kinds of miracles that we've seen performed in our lifetime. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>I was born just at the beginning of, or soon after <v Dr. Jonas Salk>the beginning of the First World War. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>And when I look back at my childhood and during the period that
<v Dr. Jonas Salk>I grew up in over the last several decades of my professional career, <v Dr. Jonas Salk>and I'm in awe. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>I'm very much aware of the miracle of life <v Dr. Jonas Salk>and very much aware of the miracle of <v Dr. Jonas Salk>man. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>And for me, that's where that's where God is. <v Dr. Jonas Salk>That's where creation exists <v Dr. Jonas Salk>now.
John Callaway Interviews
Dr. Jonas Salk
Producing Organization
Public Broadcasting Service (U.S.)
WTTW (Television station : Chicago, Ill.)
Contributing Organization
The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia (Athens, Georgia)
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Episode Description
The subject in headlines in the 1950s as the man who helped save future generations from crippling and fatal polio epidemics, the articulate Dr. Salk continues his wide-ranging work in the study of cancer, alcoholism, human behavior, and language at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California, where the interview takes place. Dr. Salk shares his optimistic philosophy about the future of mankind this this thought-provoking interview. He talks of the evolution of society, how society is equipped to deal with life-threatening problems, and defines his ideas of God. "JOHN CALLAWAY INTERVIEWS: DR. JONAS SALK is an unusually provocative and serious discussion with one of the preeminent thinkers of contemporary time."--1981 Peabody Awards entry form.
Series Description
"JOHN CALLAWAY interviews outstanding Americans and world-renowned figures who rarely sit for intimate, often intense and humorous, one-on-one television interviews. The hour-long, in-depth conversations result in carefully drawn, multi-dimensional portraits of public figures as diverse as Mike Wallace, Dr. Jonas Salk, and Howard Cosell. The subjects talk not only about their work, but about their private lives, personal feelings, and beliefs.
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Guest: Salk, Jonas
Host: Callaway, John
Producing Organization: Public Broadcasting Service (U.S.)
Producing Organization: WTTW (Television station : Chicago, Ill.)
AAPB Contributor Holdings
The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia
Identifier: cpb-aacip-f55f79efd74 (Filename)
Format: U-matic
Duration: 1:00:00
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Chicago: “John Callaway Interviews; Dr. Jonas Salk,” 1981-06-30, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 26, 2022,
MLA: “John Callaway Interviews; Dr. Jonas Salk.” 1981-06-30. The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 26, 2022. <>.
APA: John Callaway Interviews; Dr. Jonas Salk. Boston, MA: The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from