SCHOPENHAUER was of opinion that this was the worst of all possible worlds. If we accept the conclusion of the great modern pessimist, we must admit with him that life is not worth living at all, and the wisest thing we can do is to quit it as soon as we conveniently can. But here's the rub. A philosopher once very sagely remarked that man is not a reasoning animal, but merely an animal capable of reasoning. That this is a truism -- though our pride often mistakes it for a paradox, nay more, a libel on the inherent superiority of the genus homo -- is in no case more clearly proved than in the theories and the conduct of the pessimists. If man were by nature a reasoning animal, he would not rest content with stating a premise, but would deduce the logical conclusion at once, there and then; and, consequently, pessimism would keep one half the world constantly engaged in burying the other half. Luckily, or unluckily, that is not so.
Undoubtedly the most comprehensive definition of man puts him down simply and solely as a "talking animal." First of all, and most important of all, he talks -- whether sense or nonsense is quite a secondary consideration. However loudly he decries life, it will take a great deal, a very great deal, to make him quit it. When it comes to the actual point, your pessimist loves life and the world quite as much as your optimist. Self-preservation is the first law of nature, and all the grumbling of the Schopenhauers, great or small, cannot alter it one whit.
The most amusing thing about the pessimists is that they are very careful to advise that, as the burden of existence cannot, somehow or other, be shirked, it had better be accepted with the best grace possible under the circumstances. Since one must live, say they, one might as well try to make oneself for the time being as comfortable as one can. That is sound philosophy. I only want to go just a step further, and say, Your life is exactly what you make it. You talk of the world, condemn it, praise it, sneer at it, laugh at it, and forget it is only yourself you are laughing or sneering at, condemning or praising.THE MICROCOSM
The individual is a whole world in himself. Wise men of old were fond of describing man as the microcosm -- the little world, which corresponded to, explained, and dominated the macrocosm -- the universal world. For all practical purposes, the microcosm, our own individual world, is the only world we are condemning or denouncing -- in fact, is the only world we have the slightest business to condemn or denounce.
Man is a very sociable creature, who delights in giving advice (purely disinterested, of course,) to his fellows, and still more disinterestedly damning them should this advice not be followed. He passes judgment on the whole world, and has no hesitation whatever in condemning it wholesale if it is not exactly to his liking.
But, honestly, is not this the height of impertinence? What right have I to judge, even if I had the power? However, the doctrine that might is right, which everybody instinctively acts upon, seems to nullify the force of this objection. The simple reason that we do judge and condemn the world every day of our lives and often get credit for wisdom when our flippant sentence is pronounced, seems to argue the right.
Abandoning, therefore, as impracticable the question as to our right, let us consider whether we have the power to judge, not the world as a whole, but any other individual whatsoever, in the world beside ourselves. Should it be shown that we have not the power, common sense will soon teach us that we had better leave off passing judgments which can have, in the nature of things, no weight or consequence of any kind. Barren sentences are waste of energy and time.WE ONLY SEE OURSELVES
Facts are stronger than all theories and arguments. If it is shown to be the fact that we are always dealing with ourselves and our inseparable shadows, not with a foreign world, my case is won without further contention. Calm reflection alone will convince us of this. Look at two typical cases -- a young man in love, and a disappointed man of the world the wrong side of fifty. Worldly wisdom, taking it in the narrow sense in which it is commonly used, would perhaps consider the bliss of the former as an illusion destined to be shattered by the reality of life, and the bitterness of the latter as the inevitable result of experience of the world. Whether that is the truth has nothing whatever to do with my present contention, the whole point of which is this: that our own state of mind for the time being is strong enough to tinge the whole of the world with its colours. If we are sad, it is a sad world; if we are happy, it is a happy world; if we are hopeful, it is a hopeful world; if we are despairing, it is a despairing world.
"The wine of life is low with me, and therefore 'tis that I, an old man, think the world is on the lees." The old are fond of talking of the illusions of youth, as if old age, forsooth, were freed from all illusions and at last contemplated the naked reality. Now the greatest of all illusions is to remain ignorant of the mighty fact that we only see ourselves, deal only with a world which we create and govern incessantly from day to day, from year to year, from birth to death.THE GREAT THINKERS
The aim of all the literature in the world, from the sacred books of the ancients to the newest romance of the present day, is to teach this great fact, turn it over and over, throw sidelights upon it, illustrate it by endless combinations of words, so that at last the most ordinary mind may get a glimpse of it and act upon it in the routine of his daily life. The best books are those which teach this truth in the simplest and plainest manner. The greatest men are those who, on the one side, by their writings explain it to others, as Plato, Shakespeare, Goethe, and Emerson, and those who, on the other side, act upon it directly in their own lives, as Caesar and Napoleon. Even Schopenhauer is at such pains to show that everything at last depends upon the individual himself for weal and for woe, that it is surprising that this great writer did not make the discovery that the only world we are dealing with is the inner world of self. The writings of Goethe and Emerson -- the two greatest thinkers of the nineteenth century -- can be described as long commentaries on this text.
Goethe is continually dwelling upon the thought that "man's highest merit always is, as much as possible, to rule external circumstances, and, as little as possible, to let himself be ruled by them. Life lies before us a a huge quarry lies before the architect. All things without us are mere elements, while within us lies the Creative Force, which out of these can fashion what they were meant to be."
Emerson expresses the same idea in a different way. "The hero sees that the event is ancillary; it must follow him. All things exist in the man tinged with the manners of his soul. With what quality is in him he infuses all nature that he can reach, nor does he tend to lose himself in vastness, but, at how long a curve soever, all his regards return into his own good at last. He animates all he can, and sees only what he animates. He encloses the world as a material basis for his character and a theatre for action."OPTIMIST AND PESSIMIST
Bearing constantly in view this fact, then, that the world we are judging is our own individual world, or our own thoughts, feelings, passions, sufferings, aspirations, we can account for pessimism in a perfectly natural manner. "This is the worst of all possible worlds," says the pessimist. We accept the verdict he deliberately pronounces, not upon the world as a whole -- for of that he has neither the right nor the power to judge -- but upon himself. It is quite admissible that life, as he leads it, is not worth living, and the wisest thing he can do is to mend it or end it. The natural outcome of his existence can be nothing but pessimism. A life of ill-health, a life of pain, a life of grinding poverty, a life of utter wretchedness -- surely that is not worth living! The individual has both the power and the right to pronounce sentence upon such a life, and say, "My world is the worst possible of all worlds." Extremes meet. The optimist, or he who thinks this the best of all possible worlds, can join hands with the pessimist, or the man who thinks this the worst of all possible worlds, provided the latter has sense enough to see what he is condemning.
I want to make it quite clear that I am not taking up the cudgels in defence of that terrible bugbear "Idealism," nor doing battle with what the Philosophy of Common Sense prides itself upon denominating "Realism." My sole object is to emphasise a fact which we are very apt to ignore, and which it is of the utmost importance to remember. The world we are condemning or praising is not the world at large, but the world within ourselves.
To enlarge further upon this point would be to go beyond the scope of the present work, and I will therefore content myself with having at the outset laid stress on what appears to the reflecting mind a self-evident proposition.KNOWLEDGE IS POWER
Well, then, since our own individual world is the only world of real importance to us, and since our happiness depends entirely upon the state of this individual inner world, it behoves us to try to get some knowledge about this little world of ours -- the microcosm, in alchemical phrase.
Man, it has been said, is arrogant in proportion to his ignorance. As he begins to feel his feet, he looks about him fearlessly. He sees the great world around him, begets an invincible tendency to interfere by advice and action, finds fault with things in general, and comes to the conclusion that if he had had a hand in the making of the universe he would have produced a much better article. Bit by bit he learns a thing or two, but not till he gets repeated raps on the knuckles. The curious thing is that the more raps he gets the more knowing he becomes. Gradually he admits, very grudgingly, however, that the world is not quite such a stupid thing as he took it to be, and that perhaps it is much better than he thought it was. This feeling grows upon him more and more. After repeated lessons, he at length begins to mind his own business. The more he does this, the more astonished he is at what happens. He sees that the world within is, like the world without, subject to the operation of cause and effect. He discovers that the globe he inhabits is pierced through and through by laws, which by obeying he controls for his benefit, and which if ignored or disobeyed revenge themselves upon him without the slightest pity. At first he thinks such a proceeding unnecessarily cruel. At last he attains wisdom, and sees that the very thing he aims at all along -- power -- consists in the fact that he is not dealing with a capricious universe, but with a world where everything is subject to law, and where everything he really wants can be had at a fair price. Nay, further, he knows that Universal Power resides within himself. By obeying the law, he elevates himself to an independent world, in which he is the supreme ruler and judge. His own verdict is sufficient for him, his own condemnation more than enough.
"The mind which is immortal makes itself.
Requital for its good or evil thoughts --
Is its own origin of ill and end --
And its own place and time. Its innate sense,
When stripp'd of this mortality, derives
No colour from the fleeting things without;
But is absorb'd in sufferance or in joy
Born from the knowledge of its own desert."
"Take a hair of the dog that bit you," says the homely adage. Man does this with Nature. The very necessity that hooped him in is the kind mother that pronounces his freedom.IMPORTANCE OF HEALTH
Having now, I trust, sufficiently cleared the ground of misconceptions and misrepresentations of the nature of the problem every individual is called upon to solve, let us look a little more closely into this inner world, and inquire what is the state most favourable for the well-being of the individual who holds the reins of government. And herein a very obvious comparison presents itself. A country torn with civil war cannot be in a flourishing condition. For the development of industry and the wellbeing of the community as a whole there must be internal peace. In the same manner the individual world must maintain internal peace before it can give a good account of itself. The value of health, bodily and mental, at the present time is simply incalculable. Well did Emerson say: "The first wealth is health. Sickness is poor-spirited, and cannot serve anyone; it must husband its resources to live. But health or fulness answers its own ends, and has to spare, runs over and inundates the neighbourhoods and creeks of other men's necessities ... Health is the first muse, comprising the magical benefits of air, landscape, and bodily exercise on the mind.... Get health; no labour, pains, temperance, poverty, nor exercise, that can gain it must be grudged. Sickness is a cannibal which eats up all the life and youth it can lay hold of, and absorbs its own sons and daughters. I figure it as a pale, wailing, distracted phantom, absolutely selfish, and afflicting other souls with meanness and mopings, and with ministration to its voracity of trifles. Dr. Johnson said severely, 'Every man is a rascal as soon as he is sick.' The best part of health is fine disposition. To make knowledge valuable you must have the cheerfulness of wisdom."
The paramount importance assigned to health by the great American writer is amply justified by the practical experience of every individual. Other great writers and thinkers, such as Pythagoras, Solomon, Plato, Descartes, Goethe, Schopenhauer, etc., have attached equal importance to the maintenance of health. The celebrated Pythagorean school of Crotona, established about 500 B.C., inculcated practical rules of health as well as taught philosophy, whilst the proverbs of Solomon contain excellent suggestions for health.
In the immense majority of instances, health is the indispensable condition even of a bare existence, whilst the difference between happiness and misery is often represented solely by the presence or absence of health.THE DRUG HABIT
No more eloquent testimony can be given to the paramount importance of health than the enormous sum of money spent every year upon "doctoring" in some shape or other. In addition to the regular army of medical men, there is the corps of "irregulars" -- the patent medicine vendors, many of whom make large fortunes by the skilful and persistent advertisement of their "specialities." One looks after the stomach, another takes the liver in charge, another the kidneys, another the lungs, another the bowels -- seemingly with such astounding results that the wonder is a single invalid exists throughout the length and breadth of the land.
As soon, however, as one understands the action of drugs of all kinds on the organism, one perceives that it is impossible to secure sound health by resort to drug-stimulation any more than it is possible to maintain a sound financial position by constantly patronising the pawnbroker. The two cases are precisely alike. It is very easy to get ready money by pledging or selling the furniture in your house, provided it is well stocked. But this cannot be done indefinitely. And if you want to get back to the financial condition you were in previous to this transaction, you must redeem your furniture and pay heavy interest into the bargain. If you cannot get legitimate possession of money in some other way than by selling your furniture and personal belongings, your affairs are in an awkward state. Thus it is with vitality. Drug-medication uses up your reserve energy at a frightful rate. Occasionally, very occasionally, it may serve your purpose; but make a habit of it, and you will very soon exhaust your stock of nerve-force and become a chronic invalid. The craving for excitement and stimulants shows a diseased nerve condition which generally goes from bad to worse, as is known to those who are acquainted with the undercurrents of modern life.
Within the last few years the drug-habit has developed into a curse of civilisation. The following extracts are from a fashionable ladies' paper and a morning daily: --
OPINIONS OF EMINENT MEDICAL MEN
Even the Arab does not lie so persistently as does the morphia victim. All sense of honour deserts her. Whereas, perhaps, formerly she was scrupulous in money matters, she rapidly becomes little less than a thief. If she is hard-up, in order to buy drugs she will invent the most elaborate and plausible stories, and screw money out of the unsuspecting. There is no doubt whatever that drug-taking is enormously on the increase. No one who has ever witnessed the rapid deterioration, both in appearance and in character, which inevitably follows from it can hesitate to call it one of the most frightful curses of modern days."
THE GROWING DRUG HABIT.
"'AEsculapius' writes: -- 'I am a chemist in a fashionable part of London, and I can say that the extent of drug-taking to-day is simply appalling. Every day I get numerous requests for morphia, cocaine, chloroform, and ether, and I know that hundreds of society men and women carry the tiny syringe with them wherever they go. They take numerous doses of their particular drug every day. One extremely sad case has just come to my notice. A brilliantly clever young man quite recently died as a result of excessive drug-taking, and it was then found that scarcely an inch of skin surface on his body was left unmarked by the punctures of the morphia-needle.'
"Recent tragic events have revealed something of the growth of the most deadly form of narcotism known -- the cocaine habit. Not long since this was quite unknown here. To-day every busy West-end chemist can tell stories of its victims who flock to him.
"The first alarm of the growth of the cocaine habit came from New York about fourteen years ago.
"Now cocaine injection has firmly established itself in London, not among the common people, but among the cleverest men and women. It can be carried on so secretly that for a time even the nearest friends of the drunkard have no suspicion of it. It has none of the repulsiveness of ordinary intoxication. Doctors are its chief victims, writers and politicians come next, and the more artistic the temperament the greater the peril this new habit presents.
"Cocaine injection is, without question, the most dangerous and subtle form of inebriety known. Compared with it, even morphinomania is comparatively harmless. It grows on one with amazing rapidity, and gives little or no warning of the harm it is doing until the evil is accomplished almost beyond recall.
"The first harmful result seen is often enough not physical but moral. Cocaine, even more than morphine destroys the moral sense. This is no figure of speech, but a plain statement of an observed and undeniable fact. The cocaine fiend does not become violent or brutal. On the contrary, he seems more gentle and more refined than ever before. His artistic perceptions are in every way quickened. But though he has hitherto been scrupulously honest, he will now often steal without shame. He often seems to forget the meaning of truth. It is yet a moot point with psychologists how and why this destruction of the moral sense is accomplished. But that it is accomplished admits of no denial.
"Many of the cases of kleptomania which excite so much surprise, and many of the unaccountable crimes among well-to-do people are solely due to this. As one chemist put it somewhat bluntly to me: 'When a person comes in here and asks for cocaine or morphia or chloral, I, of course, fill in the doctor's prescription. This is my business. But I take care to keep a close eye on that customer's fingers all the time she is in the shop. The cocaine fiend will steal anything if she thinks she can do it unobserved. If you let her get into your debt she will never pay you. Among my regular customers some come with a story that they have left their purses behind, or something like that, and wish me to trust them. I never do that with a cocaine or chloral taker now. I have been bitten too often. Every other chemist will tell you the same.
"This is only the beginning. The moral effects are after a time followed by very decided physical ones. First comes indescribable depression of spirits, sleeplessness, distaste for food. This is often enough followed by complete mental breakdown, sometimes by suicide. So much has the habit grown that a new industry has sprung up in England during the past few years, the establishment of 'homes ' for well-to-do narcotists. These homes are not usually registered under any Act. Many of them do not advertise, but are supplied with patients by their private connection of doctors. Others advertise as regularly in medical papers as great hotels do in ordinary organs.
"But so long as these drugs go under their own names their harm is to a certain extent limited. A greater danger is when they are disguised by greedy sellers as harmless preparations. Some delightful French tonics largely used by ladies who would scorn whisky, and who look on brandy as an abomination, are nothing but pure spirits of wine flavoured. Many 'bitters,' soothing syrups, and cough syrups, largely sold under fancy names, contain great proportions of opium. Worst of all, are many so-called 'cures for the drug habit.'
"The cocaine habit inevitably means death if persevered in. If the victim tries to conquer it him or herself, failure is the most likely result. But by placing himself under the absolute control of a stronger will cure can be had."
A very large percentage of those who confess themselves helpless victims of the drug-habit will tell you that they took to it at first strictly "under doctor's orders," and at length found themselves utterly unable to do without it. The modern doctor is the descendant of the leech and the apothecary of the Middle Ages, whose main ideas of treating the sick were to bleed him within an inch of his life, and then pour into him delightful concoctions like lizard's eyes, pig's gall, toad's liver, snake's juice, etc., flavoured with a variety of ingredients from the mineral kingdom. The drug practitioners of to-day would, of course, laugh such treatment to scorn, and point with pride to the remedies of the pharmacopaeia. But it is only just a few years ago when a method of "rejuvenescence" was proposed by a well-known French medical man and scientist of great repute that would have delighted the heart of the leech and apothecary of three and four hundred years ago.
Undeterred by failure upon failure, the drug practitioner makes frantic efforts to discover new "cures."
Some of the most eminent members of the medical profession, however, have seen the folly of the practice, and have given free vent to their scorn and contempt. In fact, the most damaging criticisms on medicine have been made by members of the profession themselves. And surely they ought to know.
Abernethy, one of the best known of English medical men of the last century, didn't seem to favour the idea of "the more medical men the better." "There has been," he said, "a great increase of medical men of late years; but, upon my life, diseases have increased in proportion." Dr. James Johnson wrote: "I declare it to be my most conscientious opinion that if there were not a single physician, or surgeon, or apothecary, or man-midwife, or chemist, or druggist or drug in the world, there would be less mortality amongst mankind than there is now." Dr. Billing said: "I visited the different schools of medicine, and the students of each hinted, if they did not assert, that the other sects killed their patients." Dr. Reid thought that "more infantile subjects are perhaps diurnally destroyed by the mortar and pestle than in the ancient Bethlehem fell victims in one day to the Herodian massacre." Sir Astley Cooper, the famous surgeon, said that "the science of medicine was founded on conjecture and improved by murder." Dr. Knighton thought "medicine one of those ill-fated arts whose improvement bears no proportion to its antiquity." Dr. Gregory considered "medical doctrines little better than stark, staring absurdities." Dr. Dickson wrote that "the ancients endeavoured to elevate physic to the dignity of a science. The moderns have reduced it to the level of a trade."
What do the distinguished medical men of America think?
Professor J. W. Carson, M.D., said: "The same uncertainty exists in medicine that the law is so noted for. We do not know whether our patients recover because we give them medicine, or because Nature cures them." Professor Stevens declared that "notwithstanding all our boasted improvements, patients suffer as they did forty years ago." Professor Clark thought that, "in their zeal to do good, physicians have done much harm. They have hurried thousands to the grave who would have recovered if left to Nature." Professor Parker thought that "as we place more confidence in Nature, and less in preparations of the apothecary, mortality diminishes." Professor Gillman said that "the things which are administered for the cure of scarlet fever and measles kill far more than those diseases do. Many of the chronic diseases of adults are caused by the maltreatment of infantile diseases."
If we turn to the medical schools of the Continent, the admissions of the leading medical men and professors are equally frank. Let the following quotation from Professor Majendie -- one of the foremost physiologists of his time -- suffice. In a preliminary lecture to his class, he said: "I know medicine is called a science. It is nothing like a science. It is a great humbug! Doctors are great empirics when they are not charlatans. We are as ignorant as men can be. Who knows anything in the world about medicine? Gentlemen, you have done me the honour to come here to attend my lectures, and I must tell you, frankly, in the beginning, that I know nothing about medicine, nor do I know anyone who knows nothing about it. Nature does a great deal, imagination does a great deal, doctors do devilish little when they don't do harm. Sick people always feel they are neglected unless they are well drugged -- the fools!"NAPOLEON, CARLYLE, RUSKIN
If we ascertain the opinion of the foremost men of thought or action, we find them equally strong in their condemnation of the drug-habit. We shall take three typical men -- Napoleon, Carlyle, and Ruskin.
Napoleon, at St. Helena, was being continually pestered by his physician, Antonomarchi, to take the medicine in vogue at the time, but declined with thanks. "Believe me," he argued steadfastly, "we had better leave off all these remedies. Life is a fortress which neither you nor I know anything about. Why throw obstacles in the way of its defence? Its own means are superior to all the apparatus of your laboratories. Corvisart candidly agreed with me, that all your filthy mixtures are good for nothing. Medicine is a collection of uncertain prescriptions, the results of which, taken collectively, are more fatal than useful to mankind." Carlyle consulted a physician of the West End, and uttered his opinion of the consultation with the directness and force characteristic of the Sage of Chelsea. Ruskin's opinion was equally pronounced.THE SCIENCE OF HEALING
In this state of things there must be something wrong somewhere. And that "something wrong" is not far to seek. The "doctor" with his "medicine" has been, is, and will be a necessary and inevitable failure. The view he takes of his patient is so restricted that nothing short of a perpetual miracle could possibly make his system a success. Man is a trinity of Spirit, Soul, and Body, and the outer shell is the least important to deal with. Through him flow incessantly the forces of Heaven and Hell -- forces which must be kept nicely balanced, the least disturbance of which entails far-reaching consequences. The medicine habit degrades this centre of force -- an emanation of the Infinite and Eternal -- to the base level of a mechanical and chemical mass, the predominant feature of which is a stomach that must be irritated, goaded, and poisoned by crude mineral and earthy compounds. Against this degradation the instinct of man revolts.
There is a very sound maxim to the effect that knowledge of the cause of disease is half its cure. The maintenance of health involves factors not dreamt of by the medical profession, and requires in the man who assists others in the cure of disease a far wider range of knowledge than is taught in the medical schools.  The all-important influence of Mind upon Body, the effect of the passions, the power of the will, the creative force of the imagination -- these are factors of paramount importance in the consideration of the well-being of the individual world. Health is the effect produced by the harmonious co-operation of these and other powers under the dominant influence of the Spirit silently working within. This is what is meant by the Rabbinical saying, "Great is Peace, for all other blessings are comprehended in it." It was the constant text of the Hebrew writers that the work of righteousness shall be peace -- health of mind and body, tranquillity, harmony, the height of internal bliss.
Taken in its true signification, then, the word "Health" expresses far more than is generally meant when medicine is referred to. To look for a "specific," a "cure," for this or that malady is to travel on the wrong road -- a road that leads only to bitter disappointment, a road already strewn with the dead bodies of misleading and misled. Nature points the way to health and vigour, and holds in her hand prizes of incalculable value. Her wealth, unexhausted and inexhaustible, is designed to enrich man; but she will open the door of her treasure-house only to the wise. To ignorance, to folly, to wilful perversity, her face is stern, her curse is terrible. "Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets: How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity, and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge? Turn you at my reproof. Behold, I will pour out my spirit upon you, will make known my words unto you. Because I have called, and ye refused; and have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: I also, will laugh at your calamity: I will mock when your fear cometh. Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer. They shall eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices."THE SUPREME ART
Health is not a matter of chance, but a question of understanding of the law. And in this lies the safety of the individual. "This do, and thou shalt live." But this do not do, and thou shalt suffer pain and disease, no matter thou art millionaire or pauper. Living is an art that must be learnt and practised. It is the art of arts. A fine life is a much better object to contemplate than a fine picture or a fine statue. It requires infinitely greater skill to live properly than to draw properly. And yet how few have ever given this a single thought! With no more backbone than the jelly-fish, human beings float on the tide of circumstances, never dreaming that, as Goethe said, "In this sea of time the rudder is given into the hands of man in his frail skiff, not that he may be at the mercy of the waves, but that he may follow the dictates of a will directed by intelligence." The immense majority not only start life with wrong ideas, but go to their graves intellectually blind and deaf, bungling hopelessly, blaming everybody and everything but the right ones, not even suspecting that they have only themselves to find fault with. In passing judgment upon the world they condemn their own life-long perversity. In every instance of ill-health -- accidents, of course, being out of the question -- the individual himself is chiefly, if not entirely to blame. There are laws of health which if he transgresses he pays the corresponding penalty. In proportion as he learns and obeys these laws, he becomes healthy and wise, and as he neglects or disobeys them, foolish and weak and diseased.
To sum up the present chapter. We are dealing only with our own individual world. Of this world we are the creators and rulers. With us it rests whether to be weak or strong, diseased or healthy. But we must set to work intelligently and manfully to ascertain what is to be done, and to learn how to do it. The two great factors in our lives are the Understanding and the Will -- Knowing and Doing -- the union of which constitutes Wisdom -- symbolised by the Sphinx. First of all, there must be an intelligent grasp of the principles of health and of the forces at work; and then there must be the will to master these forces, instead of being mastered by them.
The following chapters contain not only sound theory, but the fruit of a long experience, and are designed to form a thoroughly practical guide to lead the individual from a condition of weakness, pain and ill-health, to a state of bodily and mental strength.
1. I am not referring to the surgeon. Surgery is an art and requires skilled training.