This section is from the book "Fletcherism. What It Is, Or How I Became Young At Sixty", by Horace Fletcher. Also available from Amazon: Fletcherism, What It Is, Or How I Became Young At Sixty.
Fletcherism and Longevity - W. E. Gladstone, Fletch-erite - Fletcherizing Liquids - Getting the Best out of Everything - The Study of Mother-Nature
Since the term "Fletcherite" is incorporated in some of the latest dictionaries, it is proper that the person whose name has been used for the designation should define what constitutes a Fletcherite.
Any person who eats in a healthy manner is a Fletcherite.
Any person who eats in a polite manner is a Fletcherite.
Any person who is faithful to his end of responsibility in securing healthy nutrition for himself is a respectable eater and a good Fletcherite.
The above definitions are fully comprehensive, but sometimes it is more effective to describe a thing by telling what it is not, and leaving the remainder as an inferential description.
Following this suggestion, it is safe to say, that:
Any one who eats when he is not hungry or what his appetite does not approve, is not a Fletcherite.
All this presupposes the ordinary opportunity for selection in civilized communities where this book is liable to be read and where its revelations and recommendations are most needed.
Any one who does not give his appetite a chance to guide him to healthy nutrition is not a Fletcherite.
Any one who does not extract all of the taste from his food, while it is in the region where taste is developed, is not a Fletcherite.
Any one who succumbs to greed of "getting the worth of his money," because he has paid for food, or can get food free of cost, or takes it on the insistence of Aggressive Hospitality, or to kill time, or for any purpose other than for the satisfaction of a real appetite, is not a Fletcherite.
Returning to positive definition of a Fletcherite: it is a good safe betting proposition that all persons who have passed the seventy year-mark in the life race are Fletcherites in the fundamental requirement of healthy eating. If they reach beyond the eighty year-mark it is certain that they have been fairly decent eaters for many years, even if they abused themselves earlier in life. For example: vide the autobiography of Luigi Cornaro, which was concluded only when he was nearly one hundred years old. Vide also, occasional newspaper statements attributed to centenarians or near centenarians who claim to have been Fletcherites before Fletcher was born. Some of them have had the "constitution" necessary to attain the respectable longevity and have used tobacco and alchohol at the same time, but there is no evidence that either tobacco or alcohol lengthened their lives. In the same category of questionably-profitable indulgences may be put any of the stimulants or narcotics which do not actually nourish the body.
The Epicureans, who were true to the principles of Epicurus, were Fletcherites, before the name of Fletcher had evolved the occupation of arrow making and archery. Mr. Gladstone was a philosophical Fletcher-ite before Fletcher discovered that he had a mouth that was worth while studying and using, but the name did not get into the dictionary as describing his most statesman-like inspiration.
A Fletcherite does not confine his Fletcherizing to food. He is encouraged, by the beneficial results of careful eating, to try the same method of co-operating with Opportunity on anything that has good and bad possibilities in it.
For example: careful tasting of food reveals felicities of taste which lead to seeking similar rewards wherever taste is to be found. Take liquids: The only liquid that does not invite Fletcherizing with some deliberation, but seems eager to get into the blood to quench thirst is Water. If it is not pure water, soft, cool as if from a spring, and delicious in its purity, it has an inclination to stop a little in the mouth and give taste a chance to investigate or to get something worth while out of it. Do not think that inanimate things have no sense of propriety! Everything natural is as full of propriety as an "egg is full of meat."
Nature is Propriety!
Mineral waters, lemonade, beer, wine, and even milk have delicate senses of propriety. They do not rush to be sucked up for the mere relief of thirst, like pure water, but they linger a bit in the domain of taste and infer-entially say: "I am tasty; don't you want to taste me: When I am swallowed my gustatory charm is dead and gone forever; please let me leave my taste with you, good Mr. Taste."
Do not think this is a fanciful personification of the liquids which have taste. Don't take my word for it. I am only telling you what Taste has told me, and also told me to tell it to you. The next time you are thirsty and have a chance to get good pure water, note if it doesn't rush to swallow itself in about one-ounce swallows until the thirst is satisfied. If it is too cold it will want to wait a minute to get to the temperature of the body in the hot room of the mouth, before rushing in to chill the stomach, and if it is too warm it will not give the full satisfaction that spring-cool water gives, showing that Taste has a wider usefulness than mere glorifying of sapid substances. Or: is it Feeling that assists Taste in expressing approval or disapproval of liquid as well as solid nutriment?
From Fletcherizing things which pass through the laboratory of the mouth, it is most natural to call on Mother Nature in her stately propriety to assist in getting the best and most out of everything from a kernel of corn to the World at Large.
In the personal equipment, muscular exercise, mental discipline, and habits of effectiveness come in at once for analysis and separation.
Outside the personality, companionship is of most vital concern, and the wonder will be how soon the Natural Appetite for profitable companionship will choose some dogs in preference to some human beings, for the qualities of sympathy, approval and faithfulness that every social being craves.
Of course, there are some companionable combinations among men that are more satisfactory and profitable than any dumb animal can possibly supply, but it is for the purpose of finding such combinations that the Fletcherizing of friends is useful. There is much good in every one, as there is in everything that Nature offers as nourishment for the body, but everything has its Appropriate place and time, its harmonious supplements and compliments, and this is true regarding companionships. 'What is one man's food, is another man's poison," is a truism applicable alike to companionship and friendship. It is equally true regarding honesty and dishonesty; truth and deceit.
The foregoing constitutes a pretty stiff proposition for the measurement of ideal Fletcherism, but when you come to consider that the aim is nothing less than getting as close to Mother Nature as possible and listening to her orders relative to good team-work between us, the contract does not seem so impossible. It was close study of Mother Nature and her laws of gravity and resistance that led Lillienthal, the German, to try to glide on the "wings of the wind" with imitations of the wings of birds, and it was following Cha-nute's lead that led the Wright Brothers to develop the flying-machine. It was because of tutelage in the honest school of Mother Nature that the Wright Brothers prefaced their first account of their "invention" by giving the French aviator credit for the initial suggestion.
In similiar manner, it was the close, objective study of the psychology of digestion under the honest direction of Mother Nature in a somewhat drastic form that led Pawlow, the Russian physiologist, to preface his account of his great achievement by calling up the memory of the French physiologist Blondlot, and telling that he had described the true process of digestion from logical deduction fifty years before.
In like manner, Professor Cannon, of Harvard University Medical School, insisted that dear Dr. Bowditch, his preceptor in Physiology, had laid out for him the line of X-ray studies of the "Mechanism of Digestion," which has given him distinguished research fame. Getting close to Mother Nature opens up infinite possibilities of enlightenment, and among them cultivation of the honesty and unselfishness which she herself typifies.