Racial memory touches upon a peculiarity of humankind. We continue to be gravely upset by the frightening events which occurred repeatedly to our numerous ancestors. These racial impressions are a powerful factor in determining the behaviour and well-being of large groups of people. Some individuals panic and become hysterical to the point of death at the mere suggestion that smallpox is in their vicinity. Such overpowering fear is dangerous in many ways. For one thing it makes some otherwise sane people undergo operations or have inoculations, and all other kinds of irrational treatments which are disturbing and dangerous to their health. So, directly, or indirectly, these unreasoning residual panics hurt or kill great numbers of people when they become hysterical about natural activities, which, if more carefully studied they should welcome as constructive efforts to safeguard and improve health. Only when we oppose and thwart these "house cleaning" efforts are we damaged, or even killed—not by the house cleaning, but by the means used to oppose it.

For health attainment a simpler and greater trust in natural phenomena is what matters. For example, consider Mahatma Gandhi, who went about with a sheet around him, lived on the simplest of foods, and otherwise lived in a biologically-honest, Nature Cure way. His simplicity and singleness of purpose enabled him to do a magnificent job of work for his people. But work of that nature and living in that way are no longer easy under any circumstances, and for the modern town-dweller, the simple life, if not impossible, is certainly not readily carried out. Symbiosis breaks down in the circumstances of a large city.

by James C. Thomson

Extracted from: Thomson, James C. 1950. The Belfast Lecture. Edinburgh: Thorson’s.