Why Be Ill
( Originally Published 1927 )
One can choose between health and disease. It requires knowledge, will power, and character to remain in health. It is not difficult to be well, but many find the roads to disease so tempting that they do not make the effort to remain normal.
The fundamental law of health is this: All remain healthy who deserve health. Health is earned through obeying the laws of nature as they apply to the human race, both physically and mentally.
The fundamental law of disease is simple: All grow ill who deserve to be sick. Some can disregard the laws of health for a long time without any apparent injury, but their immunity is only apparent. Because of good constitutions the time of reckoning is deferred, but it is only a delay. Those who are not so strong physically have to pay the bill sooner Folly says : "Mr. Blank is now sixty years old. He has gone through what is considered abuse for years, but see how healthy he is. It has not hurt him and it will not hurt me."
Wisdom replies : "Mr. Blank has so far escaped, but he is an exception. Scores of others began as he did, and nearly all of them perished before reaching the fiftieth milestone. What assurance have you that you will prove another exception, that your reckoning will be deferred?"
Self-deception is common and deadly. Face the fact that those who are below par physically deserve to have impaired health. This is fundamental in staying young and living long.
To keep the body supple and young it is necessary to keep disease away, for disease ruins youth, unless it is checked in time. Physically, staying young is a matter of remaining in good health.
There are millions of men and women who have already deteriorated physically, that is, they are suffering from chronic disease. Are they doomed? Not necessarily; most of them can again return to health; they can grow younger again in every way, except in years. Some have damaged themselves so badly that they can not return to normal, but that should not prevent the curable majority from regaining health and their share of physical youth-fulness.
Disease is preventable. If we cooperate physically and mentally-and make ourselves a harmonizing part of nature's plan, health will be ours, and life in abundance.
But, some one is sure to object, no matter how well we live there are the disease germs (pathogenic bacteria), and one of them is sure to find us some time, some place. Then, in spite of good care, we can not prevent disease.
This sounds very plausible, and would be true, if the germ theory were absolutely true. The truth in the germ theory is that there are bacteria, and many of these bacteria are present in disease.
But the germs are not the basic cause of the disease.
Before germ life can unduly multiply in the body, we have to allow the body to deteriorate. This deterioration itself is the disease, and the great bacterial activity is merely incidental. When flesh and blood become too foul, according to natural laws the flesh and the blood must be torn down and changed into other compounds. And that is what the so-called disease germs help to do. They are scavengers. Physical deterioration comes first, that is, the disease processes begin to manifest; then there is great bacterial activity. So instead of being the cause of disease, the germs are the effect. It is true that certain types of bacteria naturally gravitate to certain conditions. But it is also true that many have bacillus typhosus without developing typhoid fever; or the pneumococcus without getting pneumonia; or the bacillus tuberculosis without becoming tubercular in a clinical sense.
As disease is destructive of comfort, beauty, youth, efficiency, and of life itself, why not discard it?
The formula for continued health is simple:
1. Learn the fundamentals of mental care.
The old hymn writers were fond of picturing this life as a vale of woe. The prevalent idea is that these woes and ills come to us through no fault of ours. But that is not true. We are our own architects. Those who delight in the dark side of life—and many do-can dwell in shadows, even when the sun shines. Those who seek the normal and the natural can have all the health and joy and beauty in life that any reasonable person can ask. To accomplish this we have to open our eyes and our minds to the truth and be guided by the truth; we have to cast off the superstitions that have come to us through the ages.
We have paid too dearly for past fallacies. Every decade millions of individuals die prematurely because they adhere to the false ideas of the past. Let us open our minds and allow the truth to free us.