This section is from the "Impaired Health: Its Cause And Cure" (Volume 1) book, by John H. Tilden. Also available from Amazon: Impaired health its cause and cure: A repudiation of the conventional treatment of disease
Crime is a disease brought on by bad habits. It is made up of such elements as a sluggish liver, brought on from overindulgence in alcoholics; or too much sugar, fat, and starchy foods. Such habits bring on discouragement, amounting to pessimism and a reckless indifference to consequences. These consequences may be reversed in the same subject, showing that good and bad depend on the kind of stimulation used in exciting reaction.
The intoxication from starch poisoning causes the building of pessimism. Gloom leads to recklessness and a desire to be thrilled by new sensations. Normal sensation is dulled when starch poisoning is pronounced, and common appeals, such as good advice from parents or guardians, have no influence.
This dulling influence extends so far as often to strike a withering blow at the fountain-head of intelligence--namely, attention. The power of attention--power of continuous attention--is the secret of intelligence and intellectuality.
A brain rendered dull by the toxins of indigestion, or from intoxicants of any kind, loses its power of attention; hence an otherwise bright mind is consigned to ignorance or crime, or both. If the child is idealistic, the toxin drunkenness may cause it to dream fanciful or grotesque daydreams. If the sensual elements of its nature predominate, its dreams may be such that, when materialized, they are called crimes. Toxins acting on the brain cause it to objectify in keeping with its type of thought; and the type may be sensual or not.
When attention is capricious, irregular, or spasmodic--in a word, when it cannot be sustained--knowledge must be fragmentary. Such a mind cannot be philosophical. It may be scientific, but it cannot be depended upon to work out the relationship of fundamental principles. The unity of all things is beyond the mental horizon of all who cannot build a reliable attention.
Nothing but the organizing effect of sustained attention can build for the future--can build for transmission--heredity; and this legacy is potentiality only.
Food poisoning is always marked by sluggishness of the brain as well as the other organs of the body. Every organ is represented in the brain, and the reactions from the impulses--be the stimulation from food or whatever the cause--will be in harmony. If the brain is made brutal by toxins, its functions will be in keeping.
The toxin-poisoned--the inebriate--acts from the promptings of his grosser sensations--his animal nature.
Change the life, and the functioning changes. Remove all influences that cause an undesirable reaction, such as toxin poisoning, and we see a desire for the good and a desire for the best supplanting a desire for the bad and a desire for the worst.
This being true, the atmosphere of despair thrown around people because of the general belief in the heredity of depravity should clear up, and hope and intelligent action should from this time on manipulate the scales of justice, wisely placing the blame for crime where it belongs.
Society must become intelligent enough to direct and control the functioning of its sick members--the sick in mind (the criminal) and the sick in body (the diseased). And, as function is the author and builder of structure, society must perfect criminal man, if he is ever perfected--must cure man, if he is ever cured-for nature executes the unfit.