With a few bright passages of sunshine, the picture of the past of man has been a gloomy one. It is darkened all over with horrors. Poor, sick, ignorant, enslaved, crushed with bigotries, maddened with fanaticism--enduring a thousand forms of untold misery--the condition of man has been dark and damning. In his best condition--under the lowest as well as the highest civilization--he suffered multiplied miseries and far too often this bright world, gemmed all over with beauty and magnificence, has been only a vale of tears.
From the past history and present condition of man, we turn with hope and joy to the spectacle of a future destiny. It cannot be that the end of man's existence as a race is a never-ending condition of degradation and suffering. If the meager and ill-diffused intelligence that existed in the past and that now exists has accomplished so much, what may we not expect from general enlightenment? He has not rightly studied the past who permits himself to despair of the future. And to man's noble destiny many circumstances are contributing! Man is step by step gaining an understanding of the powers of nature.
If any one thing distinguishes our times from all past times more decidedly than anything else, it is that mind is advancing in all that can promise glory and happiness. With its many instruments of precision, it soars high into the realms of the material universe and unfolds the many wonders that have been hidden from peoples of the past. It pierces deep into the dark recesses of our little world; it is discovering matter and displaying the many marvelous properties of its component parts; it is rapidly subduing the long-established tyranny of the old elements and compelling them to yield their power subservient to the direction of man; slowly, sometimes it seems rapidly, mind is unraveling the mysteries of nature, supplying man with transcendent powers and slowly, painstakingly, unraveling the laws of nature in many fields of existence. Thousands of ancient errors have been dragged out into the light and shown in their true colors. We expect this progress to continue.
We look for no miraculous revelations of omnipotence--no ushering in of a millennium, with the pomp of angelic administration and sublime elemental phenomena. The sun will shine on in the heavens; the order and harmony of the universe will not be disturbed. The means by which humanity is to advance to a high condition of happiness are of a natural and simple character; we have only to look back upon the past to judge the future. Man is never satisfied with what he has. He is always striving to improve his condition. Out of this striving, blind though it is, comes his progress.
But with all of this great advance in many departments of science, we are still in the period of pre-history in our thinking about health, disease and healing. That men, trained in the sciences of chemistry, physics, biology, physiology, anatomy, etc., should resort to animistic thinking when they consider drugs and doses, is the paradox of paradoxes. We still have far to go in our thinking in this field before we can boast of our progress and enlightenment. But there is ground for hope. A tree grows slowly, little by little; but when it attains a certain size and development, you view it some fine morning and behold: it is covered with blossoms. A few more weeks pass and it is ladden with luscious fruit. So it will be with the development of the Hygienic movement.
In many respects the medical profession has every advantage. They have the advantage of large government supported and endowed institutions in which learned professors teach their principles and methods; they have the advantage of long established public confidence; they have the advantage of great age; they lay the foundation for another disease in treating one. But the medical profession has the disadvantage of the weakness that inheres in all systems that are basically false and that require a process of ceaseless change, both of theories and practices, if they are to continue to exist.
Hygiene's advantages actually so far outweight those possessed by medicine that, in time, Hygiene will prevail. Our advantages are of four kinds:
The more rapidly our patients evolve into vigorous health and the more peace, harmony and agreement there exists between us as professional brethren of one great and truthful movement, the more will people flock to the ranks of Hygiene. One young woman restored, and taught how she may keep the roses blooming in her cheeks and how to preserve the sparkling luster of her eyes should be sufficient to reconcile the whole neighborhood to the new way of life.
It cannot be over-emphasized that the Hygienic movement is an educational movement. It is by education alone, and not by law or coercion, that Hygienists can be made. But we have in our ranks great numbers of impatient individuals who, while conceding the vital importance of Hygienic education, despair of the people ever becoming sufficiently enlightened to emancipate themselves from the drug superstition. These think that Hygienic education always proceeds at a slow and plodding pace. That this is not so is crystal clear to everyone who is fully acquainted with the rapid progress it made in the days of its origin. (We speak of its origin when, in reality, we should speak of its revival. Hygiene is not a discovery, but a recovery.)
There has, indeed, been a lengthy period during which Hygienic education has reached only a few intent readers and careful students. But there will come a time and I am convinced that we are now upon the threshold of that time when, as a result of the failures of the schools of so-called healing and particularly of the dominant school of medicine, the people in general will manifest a serious desire to discover and understand something that will prove to be successful. Then the educational work of a century may be crowded into a decade. The growing recognition of the failure of the "miracle drugs" and the inability of the medical profession to find something with which to supplant them must serve to awaken the intelligence of our somnolent people and start them in search of truths that have long been denied them.
When this time arrives, we must have educators to do the educating work. We must have men and women who know Hygiene; we must have lecturers, writers and practitioners who thoroughly understand the principles and practices of Natural Hygiene and who are capable of both caring for the sick and educating the well. Without such a trained and educated group of educators, the efforts of the people to find the truth about life and living, about health, disease and healing, can only prove abortive and end in a tragic explosion. The brighter the light of Hygiene, the further it can be seen. The higher we hold it, the greater the distance from which the lost can see its guiding beams.