Rapid responses are electronic letters to the editor. They enable our users to debate issues raised in articles published on thebmj.com. Although a selection of rapid responses will be included online and in print as readers' letters, their first appearance online means that they are published articles. If you need the url (web address) of an individual response, perhaps for citation purposes, simply click on the response headline and copy the url from the browser window. Letters are indexed in PubMed.
Life is full of unfinished business. We're all burdened with a backlog of unsolved mystery and unresolved history. How do we balance this backlog with the pressures of the present? We should peruse the past, in order to prepare ourselves for projecting the present into the future. But sadly, we're never finished with the past, and we must live with it forever. To quote Soren Kierkegaard, "Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards."