Problem 1: How To Increase The Human Mass
THE BURNING OF ATMOSPHERIC NITROGEN
There are 2 general ways to increase the mass of mankind:
By aiding and maintaining those forces and conditions which tend to increase it
By opposing and reducing those which tend to diminish it.
The mass will be increased by careful attention to health, by substantial food, by moderation, by regularity of habits, by promotion of marriage, by conscientious attention to children, and, generally stated, by the observance of all the many precepts and laws of religion and hygiene.
But in adding new mass to the old, 3 cases again present themselves. Either the mass added is of the same velocity as the old, or it is of a smaller or of a higher velocity.
To gain an idea of the relative importance of these cases, imagine a train composed of, say, one hundred locomotives running on a track, and suppose that, to increase the energy of the moving mass, four more locomotives are added to the train. If these four move at the same velocity at which the train is going, the total energy will be increased four per cent.; if they are moving at only one half of that velocity, the increase will amount to only 1%
If they are moving at twice that velocity, the increase of energy will be sixteen per cent. This simple illustration shows that it is of greatest importance to add mass of a higher velocity. Stated more to the point, if, for example, the children be of the same degree of enlightenment as the parents,—that is, mass of the “same velocity,"—the energy will simply increase proportionately to the number added.
If they are less intelligent or advanced, or mass of “smaller velocity,” there will be a very slight gain in the energy; but if they are further advanced, or mass of “higher velocity,” then the new generation will add very considerably to the sum total of human energy. any addition of mass of “smaller velocity,” beyond that indispensable amount required by the law expressed in the proverb, “Mens sana in corpore sano,” should be strenuously opposed.
For instance, the mere development of muscle, as aimed at in some of our colleges, I consider equivalent to adding mass of “smaller velocity”.
I would not commend it, although my views were different when I was a student myself.
Moderate exercise ensures the right balance between mind and body, and the highest efficiency of performance, is, of course, a prime requirement.
The above example shows that the most important result to be attained is the education, or the increase of the “velocity,” of the mass newly added.
Conversely, everything that is against the teachings of religion and the laws of hygiene tends to decrease the mass.
Whisky, wine, tea coffee, tobacco, and other such stimulants are responsible for the shortening of the lives of many. These should be used with moderation.
But I do not think that rigorous measures of suppression of habits followed through many generations are commendable.
It is wiser to preach moderation than abstinence.
We have become accustomed to these stimulants, and if such reforms are to be effected, they must be slow and gradual. Those who are devoting their energies to such ends could make themselves far more useful by turning their efforts in other directions, as, for instance, toward providing pure water.
For every person who perishes from the effects of a stimulant, at least 1,000 die from drinking impure water.
- daily infuses new life into us
- is the chief vehicle through which disease and death enter our bodies.
The germs of destruction it conveys are enemies all the more terrible as they perform their fatal work unperceived.
They seal our doom while we live and enjoy.
The majority of people are so ignorant or careless in drinking water, and the consequences of this are so disastrous, that a philanthropist can scarcely use his efforts better than by endeavoring to enlighten those who are thus injuring themselves. By systematic purification and sterilization of the drinking water the human mass would be very considerably increased.
It should be made a rigid rule—which might be enforced by law—to boil or to sterilize otherwise the drinking water in every household and public place.
The mere filtering does not afford sufficient security against infection. All ice for internal uses should be artificially prepared from water thoroughly sterilized.
The importance of eliminating germs of disease from the city water is generally recognized, but little is being done to improve the existing conditions, as no satisfactory method of sterilizing great quantities of water has yet been brought forward. By improved electrical appliances we are now enabled to produce ozone cheaply and in large amounts, and this ideal disinfectant seems to offer a happy solution of the important question.
Gambling, business rush, and excitement, particularly on the exchanges, are causes of much mass reduction, all the more so because the individuals concerned represent units of higher value.
Incapacity of observing the first symptoms of an illness, and careless neglect of the same, are important factors of mortality. In noting carefully every new sign of approaching danger, and making conscientiously every possible effort to avert it, we are not only following wise laws of hygiene in the interest of our well-being and the success of our labors, but we are also complying with a higher moral duty. Everyone should consider his body as a priceless gift from one whom he loves above all, as a marvelous work of art, of indescribable beauty and mastery beyond human conception, and so delicate and frail that a word, a breath, a look, nay, a thought, may injure it. Uncleanliness, which breeds disease and death, is not only a self destructive but highly immoral habit.
In keeping our bodies free from infection, healthful, and pure, we are expressing our reverence for the high principle with which they are endowed. He who follows the precepts of hygiene in this spirit is proving himself, so far, truly religious. Laxity of morals is a terrible evil, which poisons both mind and body, and which is responsible for a great reduction of the human mass in some countries. Many of the present customs and tendencies are productive of similar hurtful results. For example, the society life, modern education and pursuits of women, tending to draw them away from their household duties and make men out of them, must needs detract from the elevating ideal they represent, diminish the artistic creative power, and cause sterility and a general weakening of the race.
A thousand other evils might be mentioned, but all put together, in their bearing upon the problem under discussion, they could not equal a single one, the want of food, brought on by poverty, destitution, and famine. Millions of individuals die yearly for want of food, thus keeping down the mass. Even in our enlightened communities, and not withstanding the many charitable efforts, this is still, in all probability, the chief evil. I do not mean here absolute want of food, but want of healthful nutriment.
The most important question of the day is how to provide good and plentiful food.
On the general principles, the raising of cattle for food is objectionable because it tends to add mass of a “smaller velocity”.
It is better to raise vegetables. Therefore, vegetarianism is a commendable departure from the established barbarous habit.
That we can subsist on plant food and perform our work even to advantage is not a theory, but a well-demonstrated fact.
Many races living almost exclusively on vegetables are of superior physique and strength.
Some plant food, such as oatmeal:
- is more economical than meat
- is superior to meat in regard to both mechanical and mental performance.
- taxes our digestive organs less
- makes us more contented and sociable, producing an amount of good difficult to estimate.
Every effort should be made to stop the wanton and cruel slaughter of animals, which must be destructive to our morals.
To free ourselves from animal instincts and appetites, which keep us down, we should begin at the very root from which we spring: we should effect a radical reform in the character of the food.
There seems to be no philosophical necessity for food.
We can conceive of organized beings living without nourishment, and deriving all the energy they need for the performance of their life functions from the ambient medium.
In a crystal, we have the clear evidence of the existence of a formative life-principle. We cannot understand the life of a crystal, but it is nonetheless a living being.
There may be, besides crystals, other such individualized, material systems of beings, perhaps of gaseous constitution, or composed of substance still more tenuous.
In view of this probability, we cannot apodictically deny the existence of organized beings on a planet merely because the conditions on the same are unsuitable for the existence of life as we conceive it.
We cannot even, with positive assurance, assert that some of them might not be present here, in this our world, in the very midst of us, for their constitution and life-manifestation may be such that we are unable to perceive them.