C. Effects of Physiological Habits. - The way in which each individual uses the factors of his environment depends to a great extent on his physiological habits. These habits vary according to the organic and mental type. This is why we ought to study in individuals of different types such things as the effect of the amount of sleep, of the frequency and abundance of meals, of manual work, physical exercises, inclement weather, prolonged effort, etc.
The only aim of these three examples is to indicate how this question of the improvement of the individual can be approached in a concrete way. But they are far from exhausting the subject. For example, it has been possible to make organs separated from the body go on living in an apparatus invented by Lindbergh. This is an ideal method for studying the nutrition of the glands. The discovery of the food needed by an organ may lead to a method of stimulating its activity when this diminishes. It would be far more valuable to reestablish the glandular function in this way than to inject patients with hormones. In the spiritual domain, we are completely ignorant of the conditions of development of certain nonintellectual activities such as moral sense, esthetic sense and intuition. Nevertheless, we know that intuition is one of the essential factors in a man's superiority. This quality probably belongs to the same order as clairvoyance and telepathy. It would therefore be of great practical interest to begin a scientific study of these normal phenomena.
In the same way, we ought to try to produce a certain number of individuals above the mental stature which we observe in the best. This research could be made on dogs, by submitting them to combinations of certain environmental factors. In less than two years, results would already be appearing. The creation of an elite is of capital importance. No modern man has sufficient intelligence and courage to attack the great problems of civilization. It would be extremely important to place children who already have a good heredity in a physical, chemical and psychological environment carefully adapted to their types. One might thus obtain very highly gifted individuals. Society has need of supermen now that it is no longer capable of directing itself and Western civilization is shaken to its foundations.
To obtain this result, there is no need for imposing buildings nor for great sums of money nor for a bureaucratic scheme. All that is needed is small, independent, self-administering units. The organization of a new unit or the disorganization of an old one would have no effect on the others. Cheap and simple buildings could be put up, designed specifically to deal with a given problem and with no concern for architectural beauty. The apparatus of this research center would be the cerebral matter of a small group of men devoted to the complex problem whose solution would be the aim of the enterprise. The essential function of this group would be to guide the researches in the desired direction and to assure their continuity over a long period of time. One must not forget that certain experiments made on human beings need be prolonged over more than a hundred years. The synthetic character of this work demands that its direction should never fall into the hands of specialists in biology, psychology or any other science. Only men of very comprehensive intelligence, free from all doctrine or prejudice, are capable of envisaging physiological and mental problems from a truly human point of view. Undoubtedly, specialists will be needed to work in conjunction with these men. Happily there are plenty of excellent specialists; it is only the nonspecialized minds with a synthetic outlook which are rare. Nevertheless, their role in the direction of a research center is of prime importance. We must not forget that the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute developed admirably under a theologian of wide intelligence, Adolph von Harneck. The success of the Rockefeller Institute is due to Simon Flexner who abandoned his own researches to interest himself in all sciences. Recently the Rockefeller Foundation has judged it opportune to put at its head, not a scientist but a lawyer whose mind is capable of grasping the most varied subjects. It is men of this intellectual type who will be the soul of the new research center.
This institution will in no way be a rival to the great research institutes, such as the Rockefeller Institute, the Pasteur Institute and the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute, nor to any-other institution. Its work will be complementary to theirs and have an entirely different aim. This aim will be the synthetic study of organisms endowed with intelligence, not the separate analysis of physiological or psychological processes toward which the efforts of all the biological institutes are directed. Furthermore, it will eventually apply this synthetic knowledge and the fragmentary data we already possess, not to the sick but to the improvement of normal individuals. Instead of encouraging the survival of the unfit and the defective, we must help the strong; only the elite makes the progress of the masses possible. Hitherto, no scientific institute has devoted itself to the formation of men of superior quality. For this reason, it is urgent to found an organization capable of undertaking this work.
This organization will be entirely concerned with individuals belonging to the races who produced the Western civilization to which they belong. Its center will be in Europe but its units may be situated in any part of the world where it is desirable or expedient to carry out certain investigations.
Reflections on Life