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.
"What is good for the richest man in the world, must be also good for the poorest, and all in between." Daily Express, London, May 15th, 1913.
This quotation was apropos of an announcement in the Evening Mail, of New York, telling that the Twentieth Century Croesus and financial philosopher, John D. Rockefeller, had uttered a Confession of his Faith in the fundamental principles of Dietetic Righteousness and General Efficiency as follows:
"Don't gobble your food. Fletcher-ize, or chew very slowly while you eat. Talk on pleasant topics. Don't be in a hurry. Take time to masticate and cultivate a cheerful appetite while you eat. So will the demon indigestion be encompassed round about and his slaughter complete."
At the time this compendium of physiological and psychological wisdom concerning the source of health, comfort, and happiness came to my notice I was engaged in furnishing my publishers with a "compact statement of the Gospel of Fletcherism,"as they call it, and hence the able assistance of Mr. Rockefeller was welcomed most cordially. Here it was in a nutshell, crystallized, compact, refined, monopolized as to brevity of description, masterly, and practically leaving little more to be said.
The Grand Old Man of Democracy in England, William Ewart Gladstone, had had his say on the same subject some years before, and will be known to the future of physiological fitness more permanently on account of his glorification of Head Digestion of food than for his Liberal Statesmanship.
In like manner, Mr. Rockefeller will deserve more gratitude from posterity for having prescribed the secret of highest mental and physical efficiency in thirty-three words, than for the multiple millions he is dedicating to Science and Sociological Betterment.
It will be interesting, however, to seekers after supermanish health and strength to know how the author took the "straight tip"of Mr. Gladstone, and "worked it for all it was worth"until Mr. Rockefeller referred to the process of common-sense involved as "Fletch-erizing."
I assure you it is an interesting story. It has taken nearly fifteen years to bring the development to the point where Mr. Rockefeller, who is carefulness personified when it comes to committing himself for publication, is willing to express his opinion on the subject. It has cost the author unremitting, completely-absorbing, and prayerful concentration of attention, and nearly twenty thousand pounds sterling ($100,000), spent in fostering investigations and securing publicity of the results of the inquiries, with some of the best people in Science, Medicine, and Business helping him with generous assistance, to accomplish this triumph of natural sanity.
In addition to other co-operation, and the most effective, perhaps, it is appropriate to say that there is scarcely a periodical published in all the world, either technical, news-bearing, or otherwise, on the staff of which there has not been some member who has not received some personal benefit from the suggestions carried by the economic system now embodied in the latest dictionaries of many nations as "Fletcherism."
The first rule of "Fletcherism" is to feel gratitude and to express appreciation for and of all the blessings which Nature, intelligence, civilization, and imagination bring to mankind; and this utterance will be endorsed, I am sure, by the millions of persons who have found economy, health, and general happiness through attention to the requirements of dietetic righteousness. It will be especially approved by those who, like Mr. Rockefeller, gained new leases of life after having burned the candle of prudence at both ends and in the middle, to the point of nearly going out, in the struggle for money.
Yet the secret of preserving natural efficiency is even more valuable than cure or repair of damages due to carelessness and over-strain. In this respect the simple rules of Fletcherizing, embodying the requirements of Nature in co-operative nutrition, are made effective by formulating exercises whereby habit-of-conformity is formed, and takes command of the situation so efficiently, that no more thought need be given to the matter than is necessary in regard to breathing, quenching thirst, or observing "the rule of the road" in avoiding collisions in crowded public thoroughfares.
Mr. Rockefeller's thirty-three words not only comprise the practical gist of Fletcherism, but also state the most important fact, that by these means the real dietetic devil, the devil of devils, is kept at a safe distance.
The mechanical act of mastication is easy to manage; but this is not all there is to head digestion. Bad habits of inattention and indifference have to be conquered before good habits of deliberation and appreciation are formed. These requirements of healthy nutrition have been studied extensively and analyzed thoroughly, to the end that we know that they may be acquired with ease if sought with serious interest and respect.
I began the preface by quoting the statement that "What is good for the richest man in the world must be also good for the poorest, and all in between." I will close by asserting that "Doing the right thing in securing right nutrition is easier than not if you only know how."