Article #1: The Return To Perfection by Dr. Herbert M. Shelton
Our word health is derived from the Saxon word for whole. Heal is derived from the same word and means to restore to a state of wholeness, soundness, integrity. Holy comes from the same root and signifies wholeness and purity of mind. Taken in its fullness of meaning, health means completeness and perfection of organization, fitness of life, freedom of action, harmony of functions, vigor and freedom from all stain and corruption—in a phrase, it is “a sound mind in a sound body.”
Condition of Perfection
Health is a condition of perfect development, a state of wholeness and harmonious development and growth and adaptation of part to part of the organism, of organ to organ, with no part stunted and no part in excess. In this state of organic development lies the perfection and symmetry of beauty. Beauty is but the reflection of wholeness, of health. It is easy to demonstrate that the forms and proportions of man and of every animal and plant which are in their highest and most useful state are also the most beautiful.
When every bone is of the best form and size for its service in the total organism, there is perfect proportion; when every muscle is fully and proportionately developed, with just enough fat in the cellular tissues to round out the muscles, we have the highest beauty of form; when the texture of the skin is finest and the circulation of the blood most vigorous, the blood well nourished and freed of all waste, there is the glow and charm of the finest complexion. The highest beauty is the expression of the highest health.
Beauty Fades with Loss of Health
Partial beauty, fading beauty, decaying beauty—these are but the expressions of partial, fading or decaying health. They represent unsatisfactory and painful states of existence. Beauty belongs to glowing health and perfection of organization. It is impossible for us to separate these ideals. We cannot picture health in terms of the conventional, for contemporary man is far short of this wholeness of organization and vigor of function that is health.
A Picture of Health
If we try to picture health what do we see? A form of perfect symmetry and proportion; a clean, smooth, semi-transparent skin, with the red blood shining through, especially in the cheeks and ends of the fingers and toes; glossy hair that is full of life; clear, bright eyes that are full of expression and dance with life; rosy lips that smile with the joys of life; pearly white, sound, even teeth; a breath that is as sweet as that of a flower in the springtime; freedom from disagreeable body odors, indeed, where health is perfect, emitting an agreeable aroma; a body that is filled with activity, delighting in work or exercise; and a happy, courageous, mirthful, and hopeful disposition, and a desire to help others.
Such a picture of health can come only from the orderly, regular and perfect performance of the functions of life—from a sound heredity, a congenial environment and conduct that conforms with the constitutional nature of man. Health is the perfect combination of bodily organization, intellectual energy and moral power in harmonious unity. It means perfect organization of brain and nerves that are as finely proportioned as the bones and muscular system. In a healthy person we would expect to see the symmetry and proportion of head of the Cro-Magnon, not the asymmetry and disproportion of head of modern man.
A Perfect Instrument Perfect in Every Respect
As every organ of the body is essential to wholeness and integrity of structure and vigor of function, no organ can be spared. Not merely must the nutritive and drainage systems be perfectly adapted to the requirements of the brain and body, but the smallest and apparently least important parts of the body must be harmoniously and fully developed. As Dr. Nichols so well expressed it: “The smallest instrument out of tune brings discord into the harmony of life.”
How is such a high state of health to be attained? How may we assure wholeness and fullness of development; vigor of function and freedom from disease and suffering? How may man be returned to that soundness and integrity of structure and vigor and force of life that he knew in the morning of his existence? If contemporary man is so lacking in health that he is but a puny specimen of manhood, how can he be restored to his pristine power and majesty? In a word: How may man be healed?
Living in Accord with Natural Law Produces Perfect Health
It should not require argument to convince the intelligent man and woman that this can be done only upon a basis of law—natural law—specifically, upon a basis of those laws that operate to make human life possible. All laws operate to make human life possible. All laws essential to the welfare of man are written in his own constitution. Every rule of human conduct, to be valid in promoting human welfare and happiness, must be in harmony with his nature. No law, no social custom (convention), no moral precept can have any reality to man that does not accord with his highest welfare. If it is not intimately related to man’s highest fitness—physical, moral and intellectual—it cannot correspond to his highest ideals of truth, duty and enjoyment.
The unperverted instincts of wild animals living in their natural homes are the laws of their lives. There seems to be no reason to doubt that man’s instincts were once equally perfect guides in his ways of life. But if this was ever true, it certainly is not so today. Man’s instincts have been so smothered and buried beneath a layer of cultural baggage that they no longer constitute reliable guides to him in his way of life. They have been “conditioned” until they are misguides.
Health-Sapping Perversions Begin Early In Life
Nonetheless it is true that even now instincts are fairly reliable guides to conduct in the young. But we begin the process of perverting these instincts almost from birth. Instinct does not leave us unwarned when we take our first smoke, but social usage demands that we ignore the warning and suppress the vigorous protests of instinct. We must learn to smoke, even now that we are aware that the end may be death from lung cancer. Today we may get our first smoke second-hand as mere infants. Smoking in the house has become almost universal. Many babies are sickened and even killed by the unintelligent practice of fathers and mothers filling the house with the poisonous fumes of burning tobacco.
We are not left unwarned by our first effort to develop alcoholism. The first drink of beer is obnoxious. Wine both smells and tastes fermented, and it is. The first drink of brandy or whiskey burns and bites, it smarts and stings as it goes down, there is protest every inch of the way. But we ignore these protests, we disregard these warnings, we are determined to “grow up,” and the only way this can be done in our society is to become an addict of one or more kinds.
Bad Practices Produce Human Wrecks
Coffee and tea are reproaches to both our sense of smell and to our sense of taste. They produce a “high” state that shouldnot be mistaken for vigor and well-being; they interfere with sleep, keeping us awake for hours. But we ignore these warnings of the faithful sentinels of life. We suppress the urge to flee from such poisons. We are determined to belong. We want to be “one of the gang” even if we have to wreck ourselves in the process.
We have learned to take the miserable fragments of natural-foods with which the food processors and refiners have flooded the market, fragments that lack all appeal to our gustatory sense, and to add sweetening, colorings, flavorings, etc. to them to make them appeal to the senses of sight, smell and taste in spite of their unfitness to serve the needs of human nutrition. We eat them, little thinking that they do not represent true foods or that they may prove to be actually hurtful. We have found ways to get unfit substances by the guards that stand at the entrance to the alvine canal. We have found ways to deceive ourselves and to wreck ourselves without knowing that we are doing it.
Disciplined Correct Life Practices Will Restore Pristine Perfection
For the evils of ignorance the remedy is knowledge—for the evils of false ideas the remedy is truth. For the source of truth and knowledge we have nature—especially human nature. Only when truth and knowledge are universal can we expect men and women to cease injuring and destroying themselves in riotous indulgence in tobacco, alcohol, and foodless food. In the spread of Natural Hygiene lies the hope of the future.
- 1. What Is Life Science?
- 2. An Introduction To Life Science
- 3. An Inquiry Into The Philosophy, Principles, And Practices Of Life Science
- 4. Discussion Of The Medical Approach To Health And Disease
- 5. What Health Really Is
- 6. Questions & Answers
- Article #1: The Return To Perfection By Dr. Herbert M. Shelton
- Article #2: What is health?