An animal has been defined as a nervous system served by organs. The whole body is supplied with nerves and so jugulated is the network that if all the tissues of the body could be melted away, leaving only the nerves intact, friends would be able to recognize the denuded subject, so perfect would be the nervous replica of the former person. The nervous system presides over all of the functions of life. An abundance of nerve energy means efficient organic function; lowered energy means lowered functional power.

If we compare the body to an automobile, the nervous system represents its storage battery and wiring. Its organs represent the spark plugs, starter, horn, light, radio, cigar lighter, etc. If the battery is well charged and the wiring in order, the car has plenty of spark, an efficient starter, bright lights, a loud horn, etc. If the battery is low the starter fails to work, the lights burn dimly, the horn is low and the whole performance of the car is impaired. In like manner, when nervous energies are abundant, organic function is efficient and when nervous energies are low physiologic function lags. This condition of lowered nervous energy is what is meant by enervation.

All of the functions of man's body are carried on without his will--in fact, without his knowledge or consent. With the exception of the lungs, none of his vegetative functions are under voluntary control and this is only partially under voluntary control. The bowels are slightly under the control of the will, but in constipation voluntary forcing results in injury. Irritability, digestion, assimilation, growth, secretion, excretion, circulation, respiration, and generation--in a word, the vegetative functions of life--are carried on without conscious assistance; and "unless a conscious life encroaches on the subconscious by forcing more work than normal, the subconscious will do its work well, and health will be constant. The stomach will not suffer from normal work; it will take care of all the food necessary for the body, if eating is not made too great a pleasure and food drunkenness is not developed." Man has a subconscious accomodator that keeps him nicely regulated to changes of external and internal elements of his environment. This work is all presided over by the nervous system. Without conscious volition, adjustments and compensations are constantly going on; but these self-defensive efforts of Nature are never adequate, never perfect, unless we make a determined effort to cooperate.

Nothing constitutes good health, the highest degree of vigor, but a full and overflowing state of the vital treasury in every department of life. An abundance of nervous energy is the very foundation of that functional efficiency that constitutes good health. For the human body to function normally, for the physiological processes to be carried on ideally, just the proper amount of nerve energy must be generated. Anything below this spells lessened functional vigor.

The human body is not an inexhaustible reservoir of energy to be drawn upon with impunity ad libitum, nor is it capable of generating an unlimited supply of nervous energy. Our supply of nervous energy fluctuates, varying in amount from day to day, from hour to hour, depending on the quantity and quality of our activities--mental, emotional, physical and physiological--and the nature of our environment. There is only a certain supply of nervous energy available for all the activities of the body. When this supply is used up faster than it is generated or recuperated, there is a gradual lowering of the available supply. Any influence that breaks down or uses up nerve energy causes enervation.

What influences use up nerve force? Every act, habit, indulgence, and every function and process of life uses up nerve force. Just living requires energy. Working requires energy. Resisting heat and cold requires energy. Eating and digesting food, breathing, circulating the blood, in fact, all the functions of the body, use up energy. Everything that stimulates the nerves, it matters not what, uses up nerve force, and if the expenditure is pushed beyond normal reproduction, a time must come when the organism will give down, and be unable to protect itself; its resistance will be so low that life will be put in jeopardy.

Enervation may be defined as the sum of all our expenditures-- normal and abnormal. When the total daily expenditure exceeds the sum of the daily recuperation, enervation results. Even in a tolerable sound and vigorous body, there is energy in reserve, over and above what is necessary for ordinary purposes. This capital stock of energy, over and above the usual expenditures, is held in store for an emergency, and, while, therefore, the draft upon this reserve is increased by every assault, the supply necessary for the work of maintaining functional and structural integrity will be furnished till the reserve is exhausted. The profound enervation thus created causes a great faltering of function throughout the body.

The condition we call enervation reaches from all the yesterdays to all the tomorrows and bridges today. It is the center around which revolve more problems than around the central pivot of any other doctrine or philosophy ever presented to man for development and elaboration. "We say this unqualifiedly. The theories that cluster around enervation bring man closer to himself than any flight into space and speculation; it connects him with himself and ties his idiosyncrasies, his faults, his potentialities, his susceptibilities, to an anchor that is firmly set in solid rock. Man need not lose himself. His tether is as long as he chooses to stretch it, and it always guides him back, no matter where he ventures or how far.

"The theory expounded here," says Dr. Weger, "embraces from every angle the question of function, adaptability, efficiency, and determination. It leads to the solution of the why and the wherefore of that period of existence beginning with birth and ending with death. It does not deal with the cause of life; but it covers the entire span between the two and this is the period of your existence with which you are most concerned."

Before dealing with the many causes of enervation, let us trace, step, by step, the results that flow from it, beginning with: