by Virginia Vetrano, B.S., D.C.
"We have been riding piggy-back on the shoulders of colossi," said Dr. Shelton to me only recently. When I asked him to name the giants he had in mind, he quickly repeated the names of: Isaac Jennings, Sylvester Graham, William A. Alcott, Mary Gove, Russel T. Trall, George H. Taylor, Thomas Low Nichols, James Caleb Jackson, Robert Walter, Charles E. Page, Felix Oswald and John H. Tilden. These are the names of the men and women who figured most prominently in the revival and evolution of Hygiene.
Speaking of Graham, Trall once wrote that in the Science of Human Life Graham suggested that all the forces of the material world--heat, light, electricity, magnetism, attraction, etc.--were but modifications or different manifestations of the same essential principle. Less than a quarter of a century elapsed, said Trall, before this doctrine was universally accepted under the grandiloquent title of the "correlation of forces." This is but one example, among many, that could be given, demonstrating the outstanding intellects of the men who were responsible for the modern revival of man's pristine way of life.
Every discovery belongs to the generation in which it occurs rather than to the individual who is credited with making it. No great truth ever dawned in its fullness upon the mind of man without a longer or shorter preparation. As Newton said of his own work: "It was by standing on the shoulders of giants" that he was able to make his discoveries. Copernicus had conceived the true theory of the universe; Kelper had developed a series of astronomical laws; Galileo had demonstrated remarkable truths; Dr. Hooke had suggested the existence of attraction and Bouillaud had declared that, "If gravity exists, it would decrease as the square of the distance." It remained only for Newton to conceive and then demonstrate that all planetary motions and laws depend upon one grand primal force under the control of one invariable law, which together constitute the true principle of physical science and mechanical evolution.
Dr. Shelton is a giant himself, hence his eager willingness to acknowledge standing on the shoulders of former giants of Natural Hygiene. It took a great mind to synthesize a true science of life out of the works done by pioneer Hygienists. It required verification and evaluation, plus elimination of faulty inclusions handed down from our predecessors. It required a constructive thinker to weed out the true from the false contained in early theories and practices of Hygiene, and to synthesize what we now know as the Hygienic System or Natural Hygiene.
Genius is often like a Pegasus, admired but mistrusted, while the inertia of mediocrity inspires confidence by suggesting kinship with the common herd. Dr. Shelton is admired, but not mistrusted, by nearly all who hear and read him, because of his adept but unassuming candid and lucid manner of presenting Hygiene to the people. In a world that is filled with dishonesty, his honesty, like his zeal for Natural Hygiene, stands out like a bright and shining jewel against a dark and dingy backdrop of greed and deceptiveness of commercialized medicine.
Be he reformer or revolutionist, a man is interesting chiefly from the cause to which he is related. If the cause is truthful in principle and commanding in aim, if it is as profound in its law of action as it is sublime in its conception, if it redeems men from error, then the man who asserts its claim to consideration becomes clothed with its own dignity. For, as truth makes men, so they grow in proportion to the light shed by the causes they espouse. The greater a man's attachment to truth, the larger he grows, so that as soon as he becomes converted to certain principles, he begins to grow in stature.
Dr. Shelton has so grown in stature from his espousal of truth, that to all students, patients, disciples and co-workers, he has become somewhat of a hero. His pupils and disciples are constantly "picking his mind" to see what his opinion is on every subject. There are few who understand the principles of Natural Hygiene as well as he does.
Early in Dr. Shelton's career, he recognized the great need for education in correct ways of life. "Perhaps the greatest want of our age," he says, "is a correct knowledge of the physiology of our being and the laws that govern life, health and disease." It is pathetic that people die from transgression of the simple laws of life, when a little knowledge of biologic law would not only prevent them from becoming food for worms, but make life more enjoyable and more fulfilling. A great pathos of woes mounts to the heavens each day because millions, lacking knowledge, unknowingly trample upon the laws of life. Many who are not ignorant of the laws of life or of the necessity of observing them, suffer because they lack the courage and self-control to change their ways of life.
Long ago Dr. Shelton realized what thousands in the Hygienic movement do not yet realize, that you cannot convert what Graham called the "drugging cult" into Hygienists. Consequently, all his efforts and aims have been toward educating the common people into better ways of life, in order to free them from the spell of the drug pusher. He says that education must be done out of the schools, not only because "The physiologic and medical departments of modern universities and colleges are intended to cultivate the art of being methodically ignorant of what everybody knows," but also "because it is not possible for a teacher in one of our educational institutions to write and speak objectively upon a subject, the triumph of which would wreck the special interests that support the institution from which he draws his salary."
Many teachers who have tried introducing a little Natural Hygiene into their classroom have been promptly asked to discontinue this "folly" or resign. A few who were firm in their convictions and tired of keeping glorious truths to themselves, left the teaching profession. Exultant in their recovered health, these teachers have sought to shout the news to suffering humanity, especially to young growing children, so that they may prevent the ravages and suffering of improper living, but have been quashed by the powers that be.
Instead of teaching the value of exercise, rest, sunshine and other proper living habits, modern education emphasizes antibodies and immunization programs, and the dangers of malevolent micro-organisms. Instead of teaching a true mode of living that we may prevent disease, they teach a false system of disease prevention that people may continue in their pathogenic ways of living with a false sense of security. There is more money in immunizing programs than in teaching health truth.