The logical continuation of the search for the location of responsibility for good or poor digestion leads us to consider the question of "Division of Labour" as apportioned by the Laws of Normality. All the laboratory evidence I have seen confirms my own observations of the past fifteen years that Nature assures good results if we are thoroughly faithful to our head responsibility during the treatment of food up to the point of swallowing. From that time digestion has been rendered so easy by thorough mouth preparation that it may proceed smoothly even if the mental states are not pleasant. Here, too, we discover that easy digestion reacts favourably on the mentality and exerts a calming influence.

Some observers declare that idiots digest their food quite easily. The less mental clarity they possess the better for their metabolism. This does not argue in favour of the absence of mental influence, for the idiot is a sensualist, and in the relief from mental excitement finds enjoyment of taste and the satisfaction of appetite as agreeable as do the animals under similar favourable conditions.

Quite recently, when I was personally under observation by Dr. Professor Zuntz in Berlin, to test the ease of my digestion of food as compared with others who paid less attention to mouth treatment of it, the good professor instructed me to "be as nearly like a little animal as possible, thinking nothing of anything." This isn't as easy for a "live-wire thinking outfit" as for an idiot, or as for an ingenuous little animal having no thought for the morrow, but the business physiologist does not scorn to go anywhere for light on Nature's requirements. One thing is sure, the person who has been faithful to his personal responsibility by starting the process of digestion as Nature demands can relax and enjoy metabolic and mental calm in delightful harmony more easily than one who has gluttony on his conscience and the wages of sinning on his stomach. These wages look big to the swollen greed of cultivated gluttony, but they are as bad as they are big, and the best way to be convinced of this fundamentally important fact is to realise the potency of head digestion for well or ill, and give it a practical trial.

The key to good digestion is in the head, and the sooner mankind comes to realise this important truth the quicker will come the millennium of nutrition normality.

Dr. Cannon's Researches

I have just been reading Professor Walter B. Cannon's book in the Arnold Medical Monograph Series, entitled "The Mechanical Factors of Digestion."

I have learned many valuable lessons from the intestinal observations of Dr. Cannon, and have seen the shadows he describes on his fluorescent screen under his practised guidance, and, with his generous permission, quoted him extensively in my book, The A. E. - Z. of Our Own Nutrition.

It seems that we began our quest for light on the mechanics and mentality of digestion by objective observation about the same year, 1898. He took a hop, skip and jump over the three inches of the alimentary canal that is our personal responsibility and, with the aid of bismuth blackened food and a Rontgen-ray apparatus, began to study the movements incident to digestion by the shadows cast on the screen. For this purpose he principally used female cats, because they were more amenable than male cats to the torture of being tied flat to a cloth with the possible fear that they were condemned to death as well as to inactivity. Even the use of pink or blue ribbons as bands of bondage under the circumstances does not lure their cat-ladyships into the quietude demanded for normal movements of digestion, and male cats will not "stand for it" at all.

For ten years or more Professor Cannon and his assistants were devoted to these Dark Chamber X-ray observations, and in the meantime wading through hundreds of volumes of Physiological Archives for reports of other intestinal investigations. The fruit of this thoroughness of research is more than 400 references to reported data and conclusions extending back to the dawn of Physiology. To one who has followed the accounts of the "Diddings" in the "Old Man Greenlaw's Liquor Saloon in Arkansas City," as given weekly in the New York Sunday Sun, these researches seem to be governed by the strict rules of "Draw Poker." Eventually all of the cards (or evidence) go into the "discard," confirming Sir Michael Foster's dictum, to the effect that "the more we learn of Physiology the more we know how little we really know."

I recommend everybody to get Dr. Cannon's book and turn at once to page 74, and read about the importance of mastication in securing easy digestion free from fermentation. Then turn to page 217 and read his conclusions relative to the influence of the emotions on digestion. Put these two statements together, and then judge for yourself if it is claiming too much to say that there is really Head Digestion, and that it is in the field of personal responsibility, in the mouth and in the brain, that good or bad digestion - right or mal-nutrition - are inaugurated.

You will find the literary quality of Dr. Cannon's book so fascinating, no matter whether you know the meaning of the terms used or not, that you will enjoy it like a novel. It has the charm of the diction of Sir Michael Foster and Sherlock Holmes combined, with enough of the solving of the secrets of the alimentary canal to satisfy the most exacting imagination.

If a taste for the inner mysteries has been acquired by the reading of Professor Cannon's book, further desires in that direction may be satisfied by reading the physiological prose poem by Professor Chittenden, in praise of head digestion as the acme of sensual pleasure. It is a gem, and is quoted in Chapter VII (Chittenden On Careful Chewing A Physiological Prose Poem) following, in support of the contention of this chapter. This poem appears in the book The Nutrition of Man (as studied mainly in starving dogs), and one wonders why such a pearl of practical, every-day, Kindergarten, domestic usefulness should be "thrown to the dogs" so to speak.