This section is from the book "Handbook Of Suggestive Therapeutics, Applied Hypnotism, Psychic Science", by Henry S. Munro. Also available from Amazon: Handbook of Suggestive Therapeutics, Applied Hypnotism, Psychic Science.
The revelations made by scientific investigators do not take God out of the world, but render us more intimately self-conscious of his all-pervading presence. Moreover, they only add new luster to the matchless character whose simple teaching of faith, hope, and love has for two thousand years stirred the noblest impulses of the human soul, and proved to be the greatest factor in the evolution of the ethical and moral element of the human race, in spite of the war, and bloodshed, and destruction of human lives that have been perpetrated by religious sects pretending to be his followers.
The great need of the world today is men to interpret life in the light of present-day knowledge, and to tell the people the truth as the more enlightened individuals see it, and who will not falter and be cowardly on account of the ignorance and superstition of ages past and gone that are still exercising their demoralizing influence upon our present civilization. All the modern creeds and cults, "ists" and "isms" of the present day, are but an evidence of the recoil of the people from the dogmatism and intolerance of medicine and theology.
With the present conception and theory of the origin and destiny of man, the individual has made a wonderful discovery. He has learned that he is no longer a serf, but that he, too, has creative power, and he dares to give it manifest expression in his life and conduct. With this changed mental attitude toward the universe and its process of development, he has been made self-conscious of the God in his own soul, and life has a zest and meaning which is equivalent to having put him into a new world. It has altered his conception of himself and his relation to all forms of life, and he realizes as never before his intimate relation, and responsibility, and duty to his fellowman. He no longer considers himself a stranger and an exile in a foreign country, but here and now he is at home, securely abiding in the great, living, throbbing, pulsating heart of nature. Side by side with his fellowman is he permitted to work, and in his own way to contribute his best efforts to the furtherance of human happiness.
No class of human beings has done so much for its brethren as the members of the medical profession. In dens of poverty, fields of pestilence, or amid the heat of shot and shell in war, they are ever conspicuous for their presence. Day and night, through heat and cold, Sunshine or rain, they are found anywhere, from the lowest brothels to gilded palaces, in laboratories and hospitals, amid contagious diseases or with the insane, laboring to promote the comfort, health, and happiness of their fellows.
Ignorant mankind has been so long preached the worm of the dust theory, and been taught to call himself weak, humble, powerless, and worthless, until many have become so on account of their own thinking. Let them once get a glimpse of their divine origin, in the light of modern evolutionary knowledge, and dare to exercise their faculties and inherent capabilities of body and mind on lines of useful endeavor, and seek health by conforming to the conditions of health, and dare to claim and exercise the ability to think, will, reason, and do for themselves, and many there are in this world who, like Pygmalion's statue Galatea, will be transformed into beings of life.
We are beginning to look at ourselves with new eyes. The old religions, which condemn the body as vile and sinful, and advocate a locality of everlasting punishment, are passing away. We now realize that the mind helps the body as much as the body helps the mind; that mind, body, and spirit are qualities of the one individual, and that within every human being lies the power, through intelligent living, acting, and thinking, to develop both mind and body into a high degree of perfection.
The human will, guided by reason, is the positive part of our mental equipment and the body is the negative, responsive to its rulings and dictates. Intelligent, logical thinking as the result of education and experience, effort and determination, are the great factors of growth and the most powerful forces in the universe. It is force itself in its voluntary human expression. By these all other forces of nature are controlled and utilized for the happiness of man.
We have nothing to fear from the modern unlicensed systems of healing which have arisen out of the development of a better appreciation of the psychic qualities of man within the past twenty years. The fittest will survive. As among Ruskin's lilies, the sunflowers and weeds shoot up their heads in gorgeous array, and they are only giving expression to a single phase of truth. The universe is big enough to furnish a stage of action for us all; so let them do their little stunts in peace.
The coming physician, however, must of necessity be a broad-gauged and well-educated man. His therapeutic armamentarium and mental equipment will be such as to enable him to avail himself of all methods of treatment - physical, mental, social, moral, ethical - that make for the health and happiness of his patient.
A large percentage of the people who are sick, ailing, or complaining do not need medicine or surgery. What many of them really need, though they may not be cognizant of their need, is direction and advice, knowledge and guidance, all suggestive measures that enable them to conform to the conditions by which the wonderful recuperative powers inherent in the biological elements of the organism can have a chance to re-establish health. Human beings are so constituted that they can not, in this infantile stage of their development, stand alone. The great organism of humanity must have men strong, capable, self-reliant, and well-educated to direct and influence the functions of the great mass of the people, just as the higher centers of the brain influence all the lower bodily functions.
The hunger of the body for bread and fruit, meat and vegetables, is no more real than the hunger of the human intellect for facts and principles by which life and conduct may be guided.
The charlatanism of the past twenty years has an important message for the medical profession, as it has also for theologians. In hundreds and thousands of instances have they demonstrated to us that there are mental and physical causes of diseases, on the one hand, and that diseases of the physical organism, not too far advanced, can be benefited, ameliorated, and oftentimes cured by correcting these perverted mental conditions, on the other.
Science has pointed out and discovered the mental toxemia that has been disseminated and scattered broadcast unconsciously and unintentionally by the halting, time-worn, moth-eaten, and useless systems of education and ecclesiasticism, and there are thousands and thousands of individuals who heed help in the way of aid to enable them to do rational, intelligent thinking and living.
What is disease? I believe that even Virchow would agree that it is a condition wherein the cells of the part affected do not properly perform their functions. At first it begins as a mere so-called functional disturbance, which, though the aid of the microscope be required to detect it, always implies a physical change; at least there is a lessened degree of resistive power in the cells of the organism. In this weakened condition the individual cells are more vulnerable and are unqualified to put up a strong fight against their enemies. Now an exciting cause of disease comes along in the form of a pathogenic germ or other etiological factor. In the case of the bacteriological infection a fight ensues.
Brave and altruistic little men as they are, the phagocytes throw their bodies into the combat to destroy the pathogenic enemy by intracellular digestion, or if, forsooth, they fail in this, they pile up their bodies by the thousands and millions, to build, as it were, an impenetrable breastwork for the protection of the remaining cells of the organism, each one anxious and willing to sacrifice his own life that his fellows may be protected. Thus an organic or structural change takes place, and this may then be beyond the pale of psychological methods of treatment.
But, in conjunction with surgical, medicinal, and other therapeutic measures, we can, by psychological methods, aid in the re-establishment of every other bodily function which may have been disturbed on account of this local, organic, or pathological condition; and so we not only help the individual in a general way, but we indirectly aid in the healing processes of surgical proceduras, and supplement medicinal and other therapeutic devices. We quiet nervousness, relieve pain, and promote sleep. The result is better appetite, increased digestion and assimilation, improved nutrition, and a consequent conservation of energy throughout the entire physical organism.
So, then, it must appear to the logical mind that there is no class of cases, acute or chronic, surgical or otherwise, in which the psychological factor does not play an important part in conjunction with all other methods of therapeutics.