It is a sad commentary upon our educational system that, however well informed our people may be upon most matters that affect their lives, they are generally very ignorant upon all subjects that pertain to their mental and physical health. Although of foremost importance with everyone, health is the subject of which he or she knows the least. Our people live very haphazardly; they have no philosophy of life, nor have they any well-thought-out and well-arranged plan of living. Irrationality characterizes their modes of living and they are almost constantly suffering the ill consequences of their unreason.

Health is a much neglected subject. Medical literature does not contain a definition of health. This is not surprising, as health has never been the subject of the medical man's attention. Disease has been his speciality, cures his stock in trade. With all of medicine's preoccupation with disease, medical literature does not contain a definition of disease. Beyond the vague generalization that disease is a departure from the normal, the medical profession possesses no semblance of a definition for that which is the object of its special attention.

If we may accept as true the proposition that disease is a departure from the normal, then it follows, logically, that the normal is health. But what is normal? The normal is the standard and it is possible to accept false standards, even very low ones. The word normal is all too commonly used to mean the usual, the customary, the average. In its very nature the average is a low standard. It is much below the higher standards represented by those specimens that are above the average. It is a radical fallacy to assume that to average the blood pressures presented by the common run-of-the-mill man or woman presents us with a valid physiological norm of blood pressure. It is equally as foolish to think that to average the weights of people of various heights will produce for us a valid physiological norm of weight. All of our norms, not only of weight and blood pressure, but of metabolism, of urinary reaction, of vision, of childbirth, etc., are but averages and these averages have not been made by choosing the best specimens of men and women and working from these, but by deliberately choosing the sick men and women we see around us. Thus it becomes evident that if we define disease as a departure from the accepted norms, we merely accept as sickness a slightly lower state of disease than that which is accepted as normal.

In a nation of cretins, a healthy man would be regarded as abnormal; in a community of color blind people, a man with good color vision would be regarded as abnormal; in a nation in which everybody has defective teeth, a man with a good set of teeth would be regarded as abnormal; in a nation of rachitic people, bow legs would be considered normal, while the man with sound bone structure would be considered a freak. Thus it is evident that we cannot accept the common definition, vague as it is, of disease, as valid.

We cannot afford to accept anything but the highest standard of physiological and biological excellence as normal. Anything short of the highest excellence and integrity of structure and the highest vigor and efficiency of function must be recognized as a state of impaired health. The low standards that have been established by the medical profession and accepted by the public cannot be reasonably regarded as anything other than marked departures from the biologically normal. This is to say that our normals are themselves disease, as the term is vaguely defined. We accept as normal various degrees of defectiveness of our organisms and of lagging functions of our various organs.

Man is a being made up of many correlated and integrated but quasi-independent structures and when we understand the normal functions of these individual structures and their normal structural and functional correlations, we can form a valid ideal of mankind or humanity in the full and harmonious development of all the parts of his nature. Regarding the harmonious development of all his several parts and functions as an attainable ideal of man, we can urge the necessity for those changes in his ways of life needed to form a proper basis for the attainment of this worthy ideal. While we cannot attempt anything higher for man than his perfect development, we surely cannot settle for less, unless we permit fancy to dethrone intellect and judgment. Nothing but this will enable man to form a harmonious ideal of that state of development to which he may attain.

It may be urged by the devotees of the various schools of so-called healing that they also recognize the imperfections in human development, but they offer no valid program for human improvement. It is true that we are agreed upon the anatomy of the body and, as far as is essential, we are agreed in reference to its organic functions; we also agree generally as to the inutility or, rather, utter worthlessness of drug medication; but although we and they teach all these things, we part company with them when we come to the practical application of our common knowledge to the general improvement of mankind.

Our word health is derived from the Saxon word for whole. Heal is derived from the same word and means to restore to a state of wholeness, soundness or integrity. Holy comes from the same root and signifies wholeness and purity of mind. Taken in its fullness of meaning, health is completeness and perfection of organization, fitness of life, freedom of action, harmony of functions, vigor and freedom from all stain and corruption-in a phrase, it is "a sound mind in a sound body."

Health is a condition of perfect development, a state of wholeness and harmonious development and growth and adaptation of part to part, of organ to organ within the organism, with no part stunted and no part in excess. In this state of organic development lies the perfection and symmetry of beauty. Beauty is but the reflection of wholeness, of health. It is easy to demonstrate that the forms and proportions of man and of every animal and plant, which are in their highest and most perfect state, are also the most beautiful.

When every bone is of the best form and size for its service in the total organism, there is perfect proportion; when every muscle is fully and proportionately developed, with just enough fat in the cellular tissues to round out the muscles, we have the highest beauty of form. When the texture of the skin is finest and the circulation of the blood most vigorous, the body well nourished and freed of all waste, there is the glow and charm of the finest complexion. The highest beauty is the expression of the highest health.

Partial beauty, fading beauty, decaying beauty--these are but expressions of partial, fading or decaying health. They represent unsatisfactory and painful states of existence. Beauty belongs to glowing health and perfection of organization. It is impossible for us to separate these ideals. We cannot picture health in terms of the conventional, for contemporary man is far short of this wholeness of organization and vigor of function that is health.