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
Chronic food poisoning from the habit of overeating causes enervation. This state favors the development of any disease to which the one suffering from enervation is prenatally inclined. Anything that enervates those with a diathetic inclination will drive them into developing whatever disease their diathesis inclines them to develop.
Children born of parents enervated from chronic intoxications often start life with a great show of brilliancy; they are bright--indeed, precocious. But they soon come to an end, settling into disease or intellectual mediocrity. The cause for this may be one of many influences. The children are born and start life under domestic influences--a style of living--that have ended in alimentary, alcoholic, or other forms of inebriety in their parents; and the most natural thing for the children to do is to follow the parents in dietetic errors, and then, as they grow older, they adopt the coffee and tea habits, and perhaps later the tobacco and alcohol habits.
Excess in any one line paves the way for excess in other lines. Intoxication-be it from the absorption of toxins in the bowels from overeating, nicotine in the mouth, or alcohol in the stomach--develops enervation; and the more enervated a subject becomes, the more craving he has for more and greater varieties of stimulants, until the nervous system and nutrition are impotent. During the early stages, when the nervous system has strong reactive power, the mind is unusually bright--children show precocity; but the evil day of enervation, followed with prostration, must and does come. Then dullness follows brightness; will is lost; eccentricities come to the surface. The real artist may continue to produce in a way to please those who are not critical, but certainly not to please the artist himself, if he were normal.
Debauchery is not confined to physical stimulants. Ecstasy is mental debauchery. All cases of extraordinary precocity are types of mental diathesis brought on from idea--drunkenness. The emotions are fed with a consuming eagerness to drink at the fountain of all knowledge; the idea and desire become consuming; an ecstatic state is developed; and as a result we see the boy Christ "sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them and asking them questions." On being asked by his simple-minded parents to explain why he was away from home, his answer was:
"Why look ye for me? Wist ye not that I must be about my father's business?" He was not understood, because the moral mind cannot look through the veil of ecstasy.
Only a short time ago the world of education was astonished by a boy of eleven years of age lecturing to the Harvard professors on the fourth dimension. This is a type of ecstasy--mental inebriety. The enervation that must follow may show the will and all the positive elements of his character impotent; or the reaction may be so great as to sweep this precocious youth out of life.
These cases of premature--or, rather, extraordinary--mental developments were prepared for precociousness before birth. The parents developed a mental diathesis, and as soon as these youths were subjected to mental stimulation they developed mental inebriety.
Children, when once launched on the road of intoxication traveled by parents, will speed up and go much more rapidly and come to an end much sooner.
All habits--mental or physical, moral, immoral, or unmoral--are just so many varieties of intoxications; and, when indulged in without restraint, enervation, and the consequent perverted nutrition, follow. The children resulting are stamped with a diathesis which makes it easy for them to develop in the habits of parents.
As disease has no individuality per se, but is, first, last, and all the time, simply a state of health, all efforts in the line of healing worth anything are those that remove habits which lower the standard of health.
Moderation in all things builds a self-controlling diathesis that enables children to control themselves. Poise is as transmissible as any other habit.
Convulsions follow in the wake of parental drunkenness. Infantile paralysis is the effect of wrong nursing, and endemic or epidemic influences, on a child that is stamped with neurosis as a diathesis.
Unless we can fully comprehend the truth that normal children cannot be made sick; that such diseases as infantile paralysis take hold only of children who have been prepared by parental excess--perhaps excessive venery before and during the pregnant period, plus table excesses, and maybe alcoholics--we need not hope to build an immunization that will do away with epidemics. The part played by vaccination in breaking down resistance should never be forgotten.
Epilepsy is a neurosis built by parents and transmitted to children. Alcoholism is supposed to be the chief among all intoxications that build the neurosis in children which leads to epilepsy. In all probability, excessive venery stands at the top of all causes.