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"Stop talking about Natural Hygiene and start living it."
| THE WAR AGAINST IGNORANCE
Irving Davidson: Beyond Personal Health
How the Natural Hygienist measures up in human relations
Because the Natural Hygienist is conditioned to keep his interests geared to essential things, which are socially motivated and humanitarian in outlook, he must either directly or indirectly play an important part in all the problems and moral issues of public life today. As a tried and tested warrior who has fought bravely on the battlefield of human rights, he has won many encounters in the war against ignorance of the laws of life and the laws of nature. Society should be fortunate for having the leaven of Natural Hygiene to contribute to its social growth, and many Hygienists have unselfishly contributed a considerable quantity of quickening knowledge to the flickering breath of life. The light of Hygienic doctrine and of Hygienic example are welcome torches in the darkness of error and uncertainty.
Torches in the darkness of error & uncertainty
Qualities of a Natural Hygienist
Many are the qualities that contribute to the making of a modern Hygienist. To be a Hygienist, one must have courage and determination, and one must be willing to be a nonconformist. Andrew Jackson said that "one man with courage is a majority." It also takes a pretty determined spirit to shine its way through the thick veils of convention, through the cramping walls of conformities, and through the rigidly fixed rules of narrow, self-determined opinions. Ralph Waldo Emerson cautioned that "if you would be a man, be a nonconformist." From the great teachings and philosophies, the universal truths and ageless wisdom of our Hygienic pioneers, we have learned how to awaken our minds, how to steer our own thinking, how to see for ourselves, and how to discern truth in every form and disguise.
Growth through learning
Because man is capable of great errors, and because he is capable of discovering the truth and of growing in wisdom, there is always time left for man to grow out of his confusions through reading. Man can learn, be influenced, and be caused to change. Man is capable of unlearning all the unsound things he has learned and substituting instead the sound ones. The freedom to believe what man chooses to believe carries with it the obligation to take the greatest pains, if necessary, to prove his beliefs sound; that they are measurable by verifiable standards.
The developed Hygienist makes himself acquainted with the best that has been done, written, and thought on the subject of Natural Hygiene, and then applies his knowledge in every possible way.
Experiencing true freedom
Freedom for the Hygienist does not mean the liberty to do what one likes, but rather the right to be able to do what one ought, because it is the right and healthiest thing to do. In time, what one ought to do tends to be perfectly compatible with doing what one likes.The fault lies not so much in ourselves, as in the values in which most of us are conditioned. Our values are traditionally determined, and we are socialized and conditioned in them long before, if ever, we are capable of taking an objective look at them. It is quite possible to go methodically wrong in a systematic manner with the greatest of ease in the attainment of clearly conceived goals which are both unsound and confusing.
The Hygienist realizes that external defenses are of no use, if our inner defenses break down. A plant's sickness cannot be corrected by lopping off the ailing leaves. Man carries within himself the seeds of his own destruction. A person being disordered in himself is likely to make disorder in the world. The understanding Hygienist knows that man creates his world according to the kingdom that is within him. If we are to make order in the world, we must first make order in human beings. If sufficient numbers of us were true and genuine Hygienists, there would be less fear for the future of humanity. A Chinese proverb puts it, "If every man would mend a man, the world would all be mended."
"The Hygienist makes himself acquainted with the best that has been done, written, and thought on the subject of Natural Hygiene.
The power of cooperation
Aggressiveness exists in nature, but there is also a simultaneous drive towards cooperation. Cooperation is stronger and biologically more important. Even the chimpanzees, kind and generous by nature, will give away part of their own food to hungry companions, by passing food to one another through the bars of their cages, and go to one another's aid when such help is needed, such as helping each other carry loads. One chimpanzee pulled a splinter out of a keeper's hand and made a very good job of it. [Charles] Darwin, by overemphasizing the importance of competition, neglected the factor of cooperation in the evolutionary process, and badly put the whole picture out of focus. The emphasis on inborn or instinctive features of hostility, aggression, death wishes, and the negative experiences have led our students of child psychology astray.
The less frustration children experience, the better balanced, less aggressive, and competitive they will be. Because America is made up of so many who try to get whatever they can out of life by whatever means, America has the highest standard of living in the world, but also the highest number of ulcers, nervous breakdowns, homicides, violent crimes, juvenile delinquencies, and the highest alcoholism and drug addiction rates in the entire world.
The importance of love
The authoritative anthropologist, Ashley Montagu, in his splendid volume, The Humanization of Man, stresses that "We live by a pure flame within usthe flame of lovethe source of which we draw and convey our warmth to others. It is the light which guides us in relation to our fellow men. It is a flame before which we warm the hands of life, and without which we remain cold all our lives. It is the light of the world. The light which it casts enables us to clearly and unequivocally see our relation to our fellowmen. It is up to us to keep that flame burning, for if we fail to do that, there is a very real danger that the light will go out of the world"
Teaching by example
Those among us who wish to teach and lead others into the ways of Natural Hygiene must learn how to be good Hygienists themselves before they can properly teach others. They should stop talking about Natural Hygiene and start living it. Performance and example will teach more than promise and theory. Rather than practice what they preach, Hygienists should rather preach only that which they practice.
The mature and evolved Hygienist truly possesses a rare capacity to contribute to the happiness and creativitv of human beings. He has learned how to share his unique knowledge and experience with others. He carries with ease his accelerated freedom of inquiry, and more often through analysis heads off impending paralysis. He emphasizes cooperation because he knows that competition usually puts men in opposition to each other. He customarily carries in his knapsack values that can contribute to the happiness and creativeness in human beings living together. He tries to minimize conflict, anxiety, insecurity. Altruism rather than egoism is the dominant motive of his behavior.
Because the biological nature of man is directed toward relatedness as a process of living, the Natural Hygienist knows that it is unnatural and unhealthy to be and feel alone. He has a deep sense of responsibility to man. He must become more neighborly. He must become increasingly less private and more public. He must ever remain entrenched in the fellowship of man.
This article first appeared In the program of the American Natural Hygiene Society's 1965 Conference, which was held at the Pick-Carter Hotel in Cleveland, Ohio. ANHS co-founder irving Davidson, Esq. (1904-1990) served as the president of the Society from 1974-75. Also printed in ANHS' Health Science 1998.
"Fight bravely in the war against ignorance of the laws of life and the laws of nature."