Avoidance Of Parenthood
( Originally Published 1923 )[an error occurred while processing this directive]
A WEDDING! What a delightful festival it means for mankind! But if it is the most delightful festival the human race can enjoy on earth, it does not mean the greatest happiness for all the other creatures of this universe. Especially is this not so in the short-lived world of the insects, for to them it means very often the beginning of the end.
The females of the insects survive but a very short time, for as soon as they have laid their eggs they must say farewell to the world and die. Nor are the males any better off if they belong to the group of the carnivorous insects. Their earthly pilgrimage is still briefer than that of the females, and above all, their end is far more tragic, for they are eaten up by their wives, out of pure love.
In the insect world there prevail very strange nuptial habits, for the "loving" wives devour their husbands! One of the species of insects to which this applies is that of the "praying crickets," a kind of locust exhibiting indeed a very pious aspect, for they raise their arms toward heaven in a praying attitude; the Provençaux call them "prego Dieu."
What a hypocrite the female of this species is, for she carries on in the insect world like a blood-thirsty tiger! With this insect the husband is eaten up already in the nuptial bed. As soon as he begins to court her, the "loving wife" begins to gnaw at him. Still he continues showing his attentions to his elected spouse, undeterred by her murderous attacks, and even after his loving better half has eaten up his head and "par dessus le marché," as the French would say, the half of his chest, this exemplary model of a husband still continues to fulfill his marital duties. He does not desist, indeed, until his "life partner" begins to devour his abdomen, the seat of his generative organs, a fact shown by the observations of the great French savant 5 and member of the Paris "Académie des Sciences," Fabre, who died a few years ago.
The insect just referred to gives us an example of how duty can be fulfilled even after death has taken place. For even as a headless corpse, after sacrificing his own existence, this insect persists in giving life to new creatures of his kind.
No less blood-thirsty are the nuptial habits of the golden scarabaeus, a kind of beetle with a body dipped in golden colors. In this species, likewise, the females devour their mates, but at least they grant them a short reprieve after the wedding, until they have laid all their eggs. Then, however, the husband "gets it in the neck," or more precisely, "in the stomach," for this portion of the body of the unhappy husband is eaten away by his better half, being, as a, matter of fact, the only part of his body that is worth eating. In the period between June 15th and August 1st the five females that Fabre kept in his glass boxes in Serignan ate up all of the twenty males which were left with them, although otherwise well supplied with food. They had been together since April. From April till June no murder took place, and during this time the mating period elapsed. But after this period had passed, and the females had no more need of their husbands, they simply slew and devoured them. As the much quoted dramatic proverb says : "The Moor has done his duty, the Moor can go!"
Now, the strangest thing of all is, how could these great, strong beetles allow themselves calmly, without offering any resistance whatsoever, to be eaten up by their weaker halves? They did not even stir to prevent it, but acted as if it had been a matter of course, the most natural thing in the world !
The same thing was observed by Fabre regarding the males of the Languedoc scorpion. This insect possesses a very murderous weapon consisting of a lance-like organ, of formidable aspect to other insects; and again, strange to say, he failed to use it even to defend himself against the cannibal attacks of the female, while she was in the act of devouring him. It seemed as if these strong insects had proceeded, like sacrificial lambs, to the altar, quite resigned to their fate, like the Oriental fatalist to his "Kismet." In the Arabic the latter word means "service." Indeed, these creatures were in the service of nature, and they met their fate with composure and died a cheerful death, as it were, after having fulfilled a kind of sacred duty in giving life to new creatures of their kind.
In presenting here these strange and gruesome examples from the great picture book of Nature, so often stained with blood a book in which we find side by side pleasures and pains, birth and death, a book full of murder and all manner of cruel ends, and alas, all these often as a kind of logical necessity, the birth and life of one creature necessitating the disappearance and death of another I do so with the intention of deducing from it an eternal truth, a truth which is written on all pages of the book in indelible characters, a kind of law, viz., the law of the sex duty.
Nature exacts from her creatures that they should assist her in her endeavors to conserve their species.
From this there follows a sacred obligation of each creature, and man cannot be exempted from it, except in certain cases where vocation of a special kind, religious callings, or disease may constitute a hindrance to his giving life to a new creature before laying down his own!
To fulfill this aim, nature created the sexual instinct, which demands satisfaction in an over-mastering way. At the same time, she facilitated the fulfillment of this desire by introducing, long, before man made his appearance on the earth, the family life amongst certain animals, as a kind of model for the married life of man a kind of a crude pattern of the holy institution of the church, the matrimonial union. Nature created the unity of the family in the more highly organized, intelligent animals, e.g., in certain species of birds, par-rots, swallows, storks, swans, nightingales, etc.
With these birds there exists a kind of marital union which could hardly be imagined to function better in man, and which, indeed, could with good reason be considered a model to follow for not a few human married couples. According to Brehm, the marital union of the birds is "the most faithful of all unions, which death alone can part."
An example of happy union is afforded even in the wild animals of prey. According to the celebrated lion hunter, Gérard, the lion is the most gallant mate one could well imagine. He offers the best portions of his prey to his partner, caters to her desires in the way of food, and begins his own repast only when her appetite has been satisfied. The same could not be said of all human husbands!
Nature has her own ways and means of urging both animals and men to their marital duties. Frequently she supplies a most beautiful marriage-portion by lending to animals, as well as plants, most prodigal color effects for the purpose.
That the colors are given for this reason alone is shown by the fact that the handsome wedding garments are withdrawn when the end in view has been attained; thus, the brilliant coloring of fishes disappears after the mating season, the flowers similarly fade, and even man remains in his prime only so long as he is capable of carrying out his sexual and reproductive duties.
Nature also frequently hands out a special gift in compensation for the attainment of her object, e.g., the provision of sweet nectar in flowers for the benefit of the insects which effect their fertilization.
If, however, all these proceedings fail, and if there occur individuals who disdain the nectar of love and refuse to enter into wedlock, nature is capable of assuming a different tone, and brings down upon them diseases as an answer to their conduct in opposition to her designs. Thus, some persons are tormented with a very active sexual impulse, and when these fail to heed the call of nature and resist, neurasthenia or hysteria, as well as disturbances of the heart or stomach, may result.
Thus in many such men I have observed the presence of excessive acidity of the gastric juice, and in women the same condition in addition to marked gastric pain, eructations, abdominal distention, etc. A notable feature was the fact that among them there were many single women or widows who were quite unaware of their pronounced impulse in this direction, and indeed, were even wholly indifferent to the opposite sex; the impulse thus remained entirely submerged in their subconsciousness.
Impelled by their desires, many persons are quite ready to carry on their sexual functions, but unwilling to fulfill their duty of procreation. They are desirous, indeed, of experiencing the attendant enjoyment, but want to cheat nature out of the payment exacted therefor, viz., the fulfillment of the duty of procreation.
Here again the transgressor does not remain unpunished. In men who interrupt the sexual act prematurely or use a preventive device, neurasthenia, disordered function of the reproductive organs, and in many instances even a partial or complete impotence are produced. Similarly, in women who utilize analogous devices such as preventive sponges and pessaries, neurasthenia and hysteria are of frequent occurrence. Now, to be sure, neurasthenia is not in itself a life-shortening disease, although it torments the person afflicted with it throughout life; it is capable, however, of rather frequently causing an elevation of blood pressure and, after some interval of time, of promoting the production of arteriosclerosis.
Such a "prophylactic," premature interruption of intercourse, affording only incomplete sexual satisfaction or none at all, may likewise have rather serious consequences as regards the reproductive organs themselves. The frequent local hyperemia resulting from the sexual excitement may very readily lead to inflammatory states of the ovaries and uterus and its covering layers, this, in turn, having a tendency to shorten life and even frequently causing death within a brief period of time.
The same unfortunate result may likewise occur from the fact that, as I shall explain more fully in the second part of this book, on the rapid ageing of women, such procedures promote in marked degree the occurrence of cancer of the uterus, which is a very frequent source of premature death in the female sex.
Early death in women is exceedingly often a result of disturbance in the reproductive tract. The latter is, indeed, the most marvellous appurtenance of woman, from which, as a variation of Goethe's expression, one may say there spring all her trials and woes, either directly or indirectly, and very often without her knowledge of the fact.
Already in the seventeenth century the great and widely travelled Flemish physician, Jean Batiste van Helmont, uttered the dictum: Propter ovarium mulier est, quod est, that is, woman is what she is on account of her ovaries, and I have shown in my books on "Old Age Deferred" and "Building Human Intelligence" that actually the whole outward appearance of woman, her entire being and action, all her characteristics and her manner of thought which is altogether different from that of man are dependent solely upon her reproductive organs and are influenced by these down to the minutest detail.
It is generally known that women are compelled to suffer more than men, but that this suffering is actually more readily borne by them than by men. This suffering is inflicted upon them directly or indirectly through the reproductive organs. The most frequent diseases of women involve these organs.
Unfortunately, however, such disease occurs without her being at fault and, indeed, in the course of the fulfillment of her sacred duty, that of procreation.
There exist unscrupulous men who, before complete recovery from a disease of the reproductive tract, such as gonorrhea, dash into wedlock and transmit this disease to their poor, innocent wives, who are then often made to suffer from it the rest of their lives. Very many of the so-called diseases of women are merely the consequences of such an infection.
Or, they may result from miscarriages, which may be caused by syphilis in the marital partner, frequently without his knowledge and occurring as an indication of a syphilitic infection often contracted many years previously and as yet uncured. Miscarriages very often constitute the source of the diseases of women.
Frequently such miscarriages occur like lightning out of a clear sky. It is as though nature, in her wisdom, desired to prevent in this manner the propagation of damaged seed.
It would really seem incumbent upon us to assist nature in her efforts in this direction and not to permit the occurrence of miscarriage, a condition dangerous to health and even to life. We should in good time prevent such individuals as are unsuited for propagation from contracting a marriage at all.
Over two thousand years ago Plato already demanded that before marrying, every man and woman should undergo a medical examination, and my own humble declaration in favor of this course was made long ago. Until the time when such a law is enacted I would recommend to all parents not to allow their child to marry any man or woman unless he or she can produce a medical certificate of fitness for marriage stating, at least, that he or she is not suffering from any hereditary or infectious disease, and that the Wassermann test of the blood is negative.
Untold misfortune could be thus obviated in many, though unfortunately not all, instances, and many women would be spared a life-long martyrdom. For as matters now stand, many women are the actual martyrs to their duty, in particular when we consider that often, in the fulfillment of their procreative obligation, and while they are giving life to a new being, they are often compelled to sacrifice their own.
Woman has, indeed, come out with the short end of the bargain in human reproductive life; she is often like the soldier who must stay at his post and lay down his life. To be sure, the fact cannot be denied that if woman is exposed, on account of her sexual life and the attendant consequences, to early death death while relatively young far more than is man, this is not inevitable and is frequently brought about through her own fault.
Every girl and every woman should undergo a medical examination before marriage and before childbirth. In this way anemic girls should be prevented from marrying until their chlorotic condition or their pulmonary disease, if present has been recovered from. This is something which I am constantly preaching to mothers with anemic daughters, and which is unfortunately often disregarded. Hard labor or miscarriage, indeed, occur very frequently among women who are not entirely healthy, that is, have previously been sick.
And not infrequently the imprudence of a woman is responsible for a miscarriage. Many a woman, in her enjoyment of life, forgets the sacred obligations entailed by future motherhood, indulging herself in dancing, riding, sports, mountain climbing, etc., during the earlier months of pregnancy. In this connection we learn from history that the wife of Emperor Maximilian, the beautiful Marie of Burgundy, although some months pregnant, joined in a hunt, was thrown from her horse and lost her life in consequence of a miscarriage thus induced.
Even where miscarriages run a favorable course, they may very frequently be the source of persistent disorders of the reproductive organs, with serious results as regards the general system and even premature death.
Highly dangerous consequences may obtain where a miscarriage is artificially induced.
As various statistical records have shown, the result is a miserable death in the very great majority of cases, the introduction of infective germs through the puncture of the membranes which brings on the miscarriage resulting in septic infection of the blood-stream and death after frightful suffering.
While the consequences of abortion are not in all cases so tragic, other serious effects which may likewise prove fatal after a varying period of time may be produced, since even in otherwise successful abortions portions of the ovum or its membranes may remain behind and this be followed, through the agency of the ever-present putrefactive germs, by severe suppurative inflammation of the uterus.
If death does not result, there follows a disturbance which often continues for a number of years and requires serious operations, with the result that the woman's general health is markedly undermined and her body reduced practically to skin and bones.
Again, even if no putrefactive processes set in and the disturbance runs an otherwise favorable course, the fact that extremely often there has remained behind a portion of the ovum or its covering membranes may give rise to frequent hemorrhages from the uterus, which prove very debilitating to the woman, or to the development of tumors, such as polyps of the uterus; further, there may be thus induced inflammations of the uterus and its covering membranes which may again persist for several years.
Thus, the result is that, through these procedures, even if their serious consequences are avoided, the women remain in a sickly condition and show a muddy, yellowish complexion; and this, of course, is the surest way of bringing about rapid ageing in previously fresh-looking, beautiful women.
The female organs are so sensitive to the different manipulations not of a normal nature, that the various preventive measures against conception, sometimes employed by those fearful of responsibility, are capable of causing great damage to the organs, and often very serious disturbances. At the least there remains, as a rule, a marked nervousness, conditions of excitement, insomnia, etc., whereby the physical appearance of such women may be impaired. It is certainly true, according to my conviction, that a woman addicted to such anticonceptional practices never looks so healthy and fresh as a married woman who lets nature take her free course and does not curtail the rights of nature.
Nowhere in my travels and I have travelled to a fair extent, having already seen the whole of Europe, except Turkey; the greater part of the United States and Mexico, and North Africa have I observed such fresh and healthy-looking women as the French Canadians in Quebec. These women are also of great beauty as a result of the happy admixture of the French Breton blood with the Irish.
It is a well-known fact that the Irish women are among the most beautiful women of Europe; in general, the women of all the Celtic races can boast of marked beauty. Most of these women of Quebec have many children, sometimes six or eight, or even more, and strange to say, it does not seem to impair their looks.
The French Canadians are the descendants of the Bretons who emigrated from France several hundred years ago to America of a race renowned even now in France for its good qualities and proverbial honesty and faithfulness. Like all the Catholics who live as a minority in countries that are largely Protestant, e.g., the Irish in America and the United Kingdom, and the Catholics in Holland, they are distinguished by a marked devotion to the church.
Now, the Catholic church abhors all practices that tend toward the prevention of motherhood, and metes out the heaviest punishment for them; but the greatest punishment at her command she lays on abortion criminally provoked, viz., excommunication, or practically, exclusion from the church.
Aside from the scruples of conscience, the fecundity of the French Canadians may have been favored by the fact that this happy people lives under very favorable material conditions. They possess a most fertile soil, which produces some of the finest wheat of the world, similar to that of the province of Manitoba, likewise famous for its products of the soil.
However, even in countries where the soil is less fertile I have often noticed that particularly the families blessed with many children are better off than those with few children.
The abundance of children proves a decided stimulus to work for the average father of a family, and at the same time it has a very wholesome influence upon his character, for in such men it is rare that such bad habits are formed as hard drinking, nocturnal dissipation, gambling, etc.
Thus I believe it was with full justification that in my book, "Old Age Deferred," I dwelt upon the great advantages of married life as a means for longevity and against early ageing. Alas, the writer of these lines had not yet had the leisure and opportunity to follow his own precepts and get married, but the five terrible years he recently went through were not propitious for such an undertaking.
The possession of many children proves indeed a stimulus to work for the honest father of a family. Where many childish mouths are opening daily he is obliged to put into each of them something to satisfy a healthy appetite, and so must work the more.
So it is with man; but it is the same thing in the animal world, for it has been so ordered by nature that the parents must work and provide for their young.
The bearing of children leads to this necessity, both in man and animals, of obtaining the where-withal to rear them. And so one sees quite plainly that there is a direct connection between the sex instinct and work.. The one leads necessarily to the other. Thus nature teaches man and also animals to work. Indeed, there are many examples in nature, from the animal as well as the plant kingdoms, that nature is the great schoolmistress for work.
She makes man and animals work by giving them the instincts of hunger and sex. Hunger forces them to work for its satisfaction and the sexual instinct, after having been satisfied, leads necessarily to work through the consequences of the same, the children or young that are born having thenceforth to be fed. The necessity of providing for their young drives man and animals alike to work!
Solicitude for the offspring manifests itself in' all living creatures, even plants, but strange to say, only with man, the king of earthly creatures, does it seem to be sometimes wanting. It would appear that such a thing as the prevention of motherhood is entirely unknown in the animal world; it seems to be only a human invention. Among the animals an occasional murder of the offspring may take place, but if it does occur at all, it occurs incomparably more seldom than in man.
As a rule, under such conditions it takes place a short time after the birth of the offspring. A mother cat, for example, might eat a newborn kit-ten on the first day, or a sow a newborn pig. In such instances, there is an extenuating factor that applies also to the human child murderess, viz., the mental aberration so frequently present immediately or a short time after birth.
In animals, murder of the young is often based on practical motives. Thus one may sometimes observe, even with some of the more intelligent species of birds, that they kill their young when - these are in defective health and unable to support the fatiguing journey to the southern climates at the approach of cold weather in the fall. But the same thing has occurred also with some of the primitive peoples, e.g., with the Patagonians, whom the explorers described as killing their old women. Even some of the most cultivated nations of by-gone ages resorted to such expedients, and of the Chinese, travellers even in recent times relate such treatment of children in deficient health or of the female sex.
Why, then, should we look askance at the animal kingdom on account of such occurrences when some species of the most intelligent creatures and masters of the earth persist in setting the bad ex-ample, even though, as a rule, no similar excuses for these acts among them can be offered? It seems to me a positive fact that, on the whole, as regards motherly love and the rearing and careful treatment of their young, animals, and especially the birds, which stand higher in brain capacity, as a rule, than other animal species, could be held up before many women and men as a noble ex-ample for them to follow.
Whereas there are women who fail to look out and provide for their young, and men who are so vile and heartless as to throw the burden of mother-hood on a poor girl and forsake her afterwards, one may readily see and it is one of the most touching sights with what zeal in the bird species the father and mother work to fill the beaks of their young.
Many a leisure hour have I spent enjoying the sight of a hen leading her little chicks about and observing the care and attention with which she instructs her children.
In the animal kingdom are to be found many examples of sacrifice on the part of the mother for her young. This applies not only to the more highly organized animals, but likewise to insects and the like creatures. Thus, Bonnet, a prominent Swiss naturalist of the eighteenth century, observed that a certain mother spider Aranea saccata which he dropped into the burrow of the blood-thirsty ant-lion, courageously defended the sac fastened on her back and containing her eggs, which the ant-lion pulled away.
Instead of abandoning her eggs in order to save herself, she went to her doom with them, constituting an example of a self-sacrificing mother love of such degree as would not often be observed in man.
Aside from the spider, which, of course, is among the most intelligent of invertebrates, as indicated by its marvellous spinning and bridge-building art, in which it was already an adept thousands of years before the advent of man, mention may be made of a much despised creature as an example of tender motherly care, viz., the common house fly.
Whereas there are persons who harbor no scruple in bringing children into the world without concerning themselves in the least about them, no mother-fly would ever deposit her eggs without having previously taken care to secure for them the necessities for their future existence.
To this end she deposits her eggs upon various food materials, the quality and suitability of which have often been investigated beforehand. This procedure is followed with great circumspection in many kinds of wasps. These insects puncture, with a dexterity no professor of animal physiology could imitate,. a nerve ganglion situated in the back of the head of the worm which they have made their prey, thereby paralyzing him. The worm is thus rendered motionless, but remains alive nevertheless until the larva crawls out. The larva would have perished had the worm already become the seat of putrefaction; the wasp therefore allows the worm to stay alive for the purpose.
A beetle known as Balaninus elephas, which feeds on acorns, hazelnuts, etc., works with sagacity and exceeding industry in the interest of its posterity. It bores a hole into the acorn for the purpose of depositing an egg in it. For boring purposes nature has provided it with a sharp boring instrument not unlike a long spear. The work done by this beetle is decidedly tedious; according to the observations of Fabre it takes it as long as eight hours to bore through to the bottom of the acorn. Here, in the depths of the acorn, is located the soft, succulent mass which the newly hatched larva of the beetle requires.
Even after its prolonged, hard, and laborious task is completed it may happen that the beetle cannot lay its egg if it finds on closer investigation that the condition of the nutriment in the acorn does not answer the requirements of its offspring. A man would be tired out after the eight hours of hard work; but not so this beetle with its mother-love. It proceeds to bore into another acorn in the same way. I am certainly not mistaken when I say that many a mother would not be capable of such perseverance. The strangest part of it is that these insects, like the flies and locusts and many other kinds of insects, are never permitted to see the offspring for which they have been working and toiling so hard; for such is their tragic fate, that they are doomed to die very soon after they have laid their eggs, in fact, often immediately after it.
How cruelly nature treats the insects, some of us may say. One might even use blasphemous words in criticising nature for such behavior.
And yet the wise man will find in this another instance of nature's great wisdom and foresight.
Before unjustly criticising nature one should remember that if she were to allow but one pair of insects to reproduce their kind for twenty-five years without hindrance or danger to their offspring, and without any of the eggs laid during this period being destroyed, the earth would swarm with them, they would be met with crawling about everywhere, and all balance and equality in nature's household would be lost.
The natural consequence of the foregoing is that death is a bitter necessity! Life of some of the animal species, such as the animals and birds of prey, for example, is possible only through the death of another species. This holds good for man as well, and so we see that the death of animals and plants is essential to the life and welfare of man.
When the strict vegetarians invoke, as they some-times do, as one of their chief arguments that it is a sin to kill living creatures, thus abhorring the sacrifice of animals for our sustenance, I should like to remind them of the fact that plants are likewise living creatures, showing similarity in their build and structure, their anatomy and physiology, to man and the animals.
It is again a species of murder when uncontrolled and mischievous children tear out a plant with its roots, just to play with it and later throw it away.
There is no escape from the fact that we can only live and exist by putting other creatures to death. It is a bitter truth, that life produces death, but it is also true that death engenders life. The same hand that gives death also gives life.
Here again there is occasion to admire the remarkable foresight of nature, and likewise her benevolence to all creatures, for she has given the greatest fertility and countless, even millions, of eggs to such of the animals as live for a very short period of time, and to such of the creatures as are most exposed to persecution on the part of other animals or of man. This explains, e.g., why oysters and herring produce so many millions of eggs.
Such a precaution is not necessary in man. Being endowed by nature with wonderful intelligence, he has the weapons wherewith to defend himself successfully against the countless dangers which threaten all living creatures without exception. For this reason nature has limited the fecundity of the human race to one or occasionally two children.
But for the very reason that the offspring of man is so restricted in comparison with other creatures, it would seem to be his duty to care and provide the better for the children he has, a duty in which the short-lived insect world sets him a splendid example.
And whereas the possession of such a charming creature as a child proves a powerful stimulus to the affection and love of the mother, such a stimulus is entirely wanting in the insect world, for with few exceptions, such as the spider which is not a true insect they never see the offspring to which they have given life. Yet, as described above, insects are capable of working for hours, indefatigably, for children they will never behold!
Now, if one does not care to attribute to the insect a prophetic gift, the ability to foresee events that will take place after its death, and likewise a rare conception of duty and high intellectual qualities which prevailing scientific opinion would deny even more highly organized animals, naught re-mains but to confess that it is nature herself who, by instinct, compels the insect to work. We have in this, indeed, a very instructive example of how nature drives on her creatures to labor as the natural consequence of an instinct, that of sex. By planting the instincts of hunger and sex in the breast of each creature, she forces them to work.
Every living creature is thus destined by nature to labor, and he could no more withdraw himself from work than he could exist without feeling in his bosom these two powerful instincts, self-preservation (i.e., hunger) and the sexual instinct. No normal creature on this earth fails to experience these pangs.
Every creature, be he a king or a pauper, is in essence a worker. The animals are likewise workers.
Even the earth worm! When the careless child treads on and crushes the despised earth worm, little does he know that it is to the worm that he and his parents owe in large measure their daily bread; the worm, that with tireless energy penetrates and drills the earth in all directions, thus assisting in its ventilation and contributing to its fertility!
Even the plants are workers. For if they did not work they could not exist. They do work in manufacturing starch from the carbon dioxide of the air under the influence of the sun's rays. They are also working when they draw up from the soil the mineral salts which are indispensable for their nutrition and maintenance.
They are compelled to work, too, in the interest of their fertilization by manufacturing the sweet nectar, which they present as a fee to the insects that constitute the intermediaries in the propagation of their kind. Still harder work must they perform when, lacking such intermediaries, they are obliged themselves to carry out self-fertilization.
Thus, wherever we look into nature, we see work going on, and as the chief motive in work we find everywhere the same causes, viz., the instincts, hunger, i.e., the instinct of self-preservation, and sex, i.e., the instinct of procreation. In matrimony we note the intimate connection between the instincts and work as their direct consequence. Sex leads to the blessing of man with children, and this, in turn, proves a powerful stimulus for work to the parents.
The greater the blessing, i.e., the more children there are, the more diligently the work is done, the greater the industry, and the greater the success of the clever worker. In families in which the father works diligently no inducements are afforded to practices tending toward child prevention, especially in Europe in the present period, after the Ioss of millions of male workers.
Work is of divine origin, and a great promoter of health. When the muscles are active more blood circulates through the vessels, organic processes and combustion in general are enhanced, and the general health is improved.
Among all the varieties of work, there is none that equals in its benefits that of the rural, rustic laborer. To the muscular exercise are added the benefits of the fresh, open air and the effects of the rays of that health-dispensing and life-giving celestial body, the sun. There is probably no other form of labor, moreover, which so certainly and in so many ways repays the work expended as that relating to mother earth, the soil. It constitutes also the safest investment, a lesson taught by the consequences of the late war, and which the writer of these lines should have learned beforehand, for he would then not have lost all his means, invested in supposedly safe securities.
On the whole, every form of work and all manner of activity is beneficial to the body. Activity results in a better supply of the vessels and tissues with that life and health giving medium, the blood. There is also literal truth in the Arabic proverb, "Hareket bereket" "activity brings riches." It also brings health, if carried on within reasonable limits, and can best serve the purpose to which this book is dedicated the prevention of premature death,