Chapter 12 – Mind and Microbes

Chapter XII
MIND AND MICROBES
W. John Murray
The Realm of Reality
Divine Science Publishing Assoc.
New York, 1922.

“The Lord shall preserve thy going and thy coming in, from this time forth, and even for evermore.”
–Psalm 121:8

[133] Some months ago there came to my hand a paper which will show that my views are not altogether personal, or antagonistic to a theory that has become such a bugaboo to many that everywhere and in everything they see lurking death. There are some physicians who seem to be obsessed with it, so much so that if we would escape danger we must perforce absent ourselves from the objective world; that is, we must actually die in order to escape death itself, since everything, from the dust on the window curtain to the smell of the sweet mown hay, is a menace to health.

The Standard Allopathic Journal of Canada says:

The reasons for questioning the germ theory are mainly three, viz:1st. The divergent views of bacteriologists as to which germ caused the disease.[134] 2nd. The stronger claim of the biochemic theory.

3rd. The absense of germs at the onset of the disease, as the following sample cases show:

(a) A man crossing a river broke through the ice, was rescued, later became ill, and the doctor, fearing pneumonia, tested for pneumo-cocci. There were none present; when pneumonia developed they appeared.
(b) After an oyster supper some men had cramps–no Eberth bacilli were present but were present later.
(c) Hurrying, a girl arrived at her shop, sweating; as the shop was cold, she became chilly; next day complained of sore throat, but no Klebs-Loffler bacilli were found. Later, when a diphtheria patch appeared, the bacilli were present.

Here, in each case, the bacilli followed the onset of the disease.

Believing that the above germs were the result and not the cause of the disease, tests on the germs of diphtheria, typhoid and pneumonia were made. The first test was whether the Klebs-Loffler bacilli would cause diphtheria and about 5,000 were swallowed without any result; later, 100,000, 500,000 and a million more were swallowed, and in no case did they cause any ill-effect.

The second series of tests was to decide whether the Eberth bacillus would cause typhoid, but each test was negative, even when millions were swallowed.

The third series of tests showed that one could swallow a million (and over) pneumo-cocci without causing pneumonia or any disturbance.

The investigations covered about two years, and forty-five (45) different tests were made, giving an average of fifteen tests each. Each germ culture was tested and six persons (three male and three female) knowingly took part in these tests, and in no case did any symptoms of the disease follow. The germs were swallowed in each case, and were given in milk, water, bread, cheese, meat, head-cheese, fish and apples–also tested on the tongue.

[135] In the face of these tests, when the medical profession is in a quandary, it is only natural that the ordinary layman should wonder what it is all about. We have much experimentation and some cures, but whether these cures are due to the serums so extensively advertised, or to the faith in them, remains to be seen. It is a well known fact that, “As long as a medicine is powerful in psychic (mental) qualities it cures readily; when it falls into disrepute or out of fashion, and the halo goes, it loses much of its value.” As far back as 1771 Unzer remarked: “The expectation of the action of a remedy often causes us to experience its operation beforehand.” This is why “New remedies have thus a greater effect when first introduced than afterwards.”

The history of medicine furnishes us with some remarkable proofs of the uncertainty of its practices. It is said that in the ancient practice of medicine everything under the sun was utilized as a remedy for disease. “The more out of the way and the less suitable for a remedy a substance seemed to be, the more likely it was to be chosen by the old practitioner in the healing art. Thus they made use of gold, silver, precious stones and pearls. But the most loathsome substances were quite as readily employed. Excretions from living and dead bodies and powders of human bones were made lavish use of.” These facts are all narrated in order to show what great strides medicine has made in the last fifteen hundred years.

[136] But what shall we say of the various vaccines employed by the modern medico who laughs at these ancient practices? Vaccination is the science (?) by which a mild form of a disease is produced in a perfectly healthy person to prevent a worse form from developing. A healthy animal is inoculated in order to make it unhealthy, and, when it is so diseased that a foul virus has been developed in its system, this is extracted and then injected into the system of a pure-blooded child, on the presumption that this child may one day have smallpox, if he does not first take cowpox. It would never do to inject into the system of a healthy child some healthy substance, for then, says the vaccinationist, “It would not take.” It would never do to let the poor cow become half sick; the more diseased she becomes the better for the child.

We have vaccines for everything. Drugs have gone out of fashion, thanks to the New Thought of things, and so we must have substitutes. The other day I heard of blackleg vaccine. Blackleg is an infectious disease, and the supposed cure for it in man is a powder prepared from the diseased muscles of animals that have died of blackleg. If the ancient schools of medicine could beat this for filthy ingenuity they must have been either a very clever or a very rascally lot. It might astonish some fastidious persons who are addicted to medicine to learn just what they are taking. If the medical profession cannot compel us to eat germs, as in the case of the Canadians [137] cited, it will get them into us hypodermically or otherwise.

Already a reaction has set in against compulsory vaccination, so that one day a physician may arise who will write against the superstitions of the medicine of today, as there are those who are exposing the superstitions of the medicine of yesterday. Not long since, in the Oranges, some parents won a victory over the local Board of Health. They had held an indignation meeting against compulsory vaccination, and the Board of Health declared that their children should not go to school until this vaccination requirement was complied with, and since non-attendance of children at school is punishable by fine or imprisonment, the parents faced a serious situation, but they did so unflinchingly. There were so many of those benighted fathers and mothers who could not see that the injection of a filthy virus was essential to their children’s happiness, that their very numbers prevailed over the more enlightened Health Board. The race has made many changes in the manner of treating itself against disease, and it may be that vaccination will one day be as obsolete as the practise of removing the eye from a live crab–it must be a live crab–and then using it as a cure for photophobia. If we could wake up, as did Rip Van Winkle, after a twenty years’ sleep, we might discover that all our textbooks on Materia Medica were out of date and that our germ theories of today were a form of bacteriological insanity.

[138] In the days when physicians prescribed powders made from the entrails of frogs (extracted while the frogs were still alive) there were some ignorant persons who refused to take such prescriptions after they discovered their ingredients, and by degrees frogs’ entrails became unpopular and now almost any frog may keep his entrails without any fear of being mutilated in the name of science. I am wondering if the popularity of the germ will presently wane through the fearlessness of those of us who scorn it. If it does, of course we shall have to devise some other means of terrorizing humanity; meanwhile the germ must be worked for all it is worth.

In March 1920, The Journal of the National Dental Association of Chicago had a leading editorial entitled, “The Slaughter of the Teeth.” Dr. O.M. King says in part:”Slaughter implies ruthlessness, unnecessary destruction,” and apparently the term is correctly descriptive of what has happened. Voices are being raised against the procedure. The fault-finding voice is from the medical profession:

“Teeth out, no results.” No count has been made of the number of times teeth have been removed with the best of motives and, following quite far-reaching promises in some instances, with no results at all. Quick to accept the findings of the leaders in bacteriological and pathological research, the great parent profession was as quick to put the findings to effect, with the result that daily patients were sent to the radiographer, and thence to the dentist, with orders for extraction. It was a good beginning; the beginning was [139] made where it was the easiest and the patient was most duly impressed with the up-to-date intelligence of the physician. There was no palliative consideration for the teeth, for what is a mere tooth? And the dentist, desiring to be no whit behind the physician, extracted. In this combination the dentist was to blame. The dentist is supposed to know something about teeth, while the average physician knows nothing about them. What the schools give medical students about dental tissues and diseases is a travesty.Dentists must realize that no substitute they can make, can take the place of the teeth they extract. They must learn that the patient sent by the physician for extractions has other possible sources of infection besides the mouth, and that sanitation might be attempted, to show whether the mouth is the contributing cause or whether there is some other. The dentist who extracts without giving the case the most complete examination before extracting, commits a crime.

About a year ago there were appearing in the medical journals, and also in some of the daily papers, very well written articles setting forth the theory that many of the worst ills known to man were directly attributable to diseased teeth, and this in cases where the teeth showed no sign of disease. X-rays were ordered by physicians who believed this theory, with the result that in some cases pus formations were found at the roots of teeth, and this, in the estimation of the physician who believed so strongly in this theory, was sufficient to account for the symptoms which they declared would never yield so long as this condition of the teeth prevailed. Teeth were ordered extracted, and they were extracted with what one doctor called “ruthless abandon and a [140] forcepts.” I know one lady who had five apparently good teeth extracted because the specialist persuaded her that they were the cause of a spinal disease which had defied the best medical skill she could find, here or elsewhere. That she was not relieved by this painful operation, and that she did not get better, does not prove the teeth faddists to be all wrong; it simply proves that human judgment is supposed to be based on scientific observation.

These experiments interested me greatly for I did not wish to treat against insanity, if the real malady were bad teeth, and the insanity, or rheumatism, or what not, was only a symptom. As much as any man in the world, I am convinced that it is much quicker and much more effective to strike at cause than at effects. That I employ one method, and the physician another, does not change the fact that I must employ this method intelligently. I made many inquiries both among physicians and patients with the result that I found the opinion to be that the cure was worse than the disease, in most cases.

It was while I was asking these questions that I spoke to a surgeon-dentist who is considered most successful. As soon as I asked him the question which has set the dental world thinking, as well as that part of the metaphysical world with which I am identified, he just laughed. I soon discovered it was not my question at which he was laughing but at an incident of which he [141] was reminded. A dear old lady client, whom he had not seen in years, had been in his office a few days before, in great distress. She had been ailing all winter and her physicians, and good ones they were, had not been able to relieve her at all; indeed she had steadily grown worse. Finally her latest physician, quite in despair, suggested that she call upon her dentist, as he felt that the whole trouble must lie there, since he had handled the case from every other standpoint without success. My good friend, the surgeon-dentist, listened to her story of great suffering and then asked her to take a seat in the dental chair. He wanted to see if there was any infection in the mouth which might justify her physicians surmises, but all he found was a full set of upper and lower teeth which he himself had made for her years previously! He did not ridicule the idea advanced by the teeth faddists, but he did say that he considered it so negligible that it was hardly worth being taken seriously.

It is a very grave question in the minds of some of the most intelligent medical men if the real danger lies as much in microbes as it does in mind. When General Grant died, his death was given great publicity, but the worst feature of these accounts was the minute description of the malady which had hastened his end. It was smoker’s cancer, and for weeks the doctors were besieged by patients who were certain they had the same disease. Some time ago a man was dying from hydrophobia in Brooklyn, and each [142] day there was published an account of his condition as each phase presented itself. So impressive was all this that the Pasteur Institute had a stream of people calling there every day to be inoculated against hydrophobia–some had been bitten years before by perfectly harmless little dogs, while others had never been bitten at all.

Now, it must be inferred from what we say and from what we quote that we are trying to explode the whole germ theory. We believe in germs, but we also believe there are benign ones, and we believe they are greatly in the majority, and we believe these are infinitely more potent to build up than the others are to tear down, and we are also convinced that this very belief is itself a safeguard against the fears which come from the opposite belief. It is possible to make friends of the germs, even helpful allies, instead of enemies. As we see it, it is a mooted question, even with bacteriologists, whether germs create disease or whether disease creates germs. There are those who believe that certain emotions, such as fear and anger, create germs peculiar to themselves which they call fear germs and anger germs. Others affirm that these emotions do not actually create germs, but that they liberate them from those obscure corners in the system where they always are and where they would do no particular harm. Now, whichever of these opinions is correct, it would seem the better part of wisdom is to avoid such emotions as are described, for if they create germs it were folly to go into the creating [143] business for such small profit; while if they merely liberate them, it were still the better part of wisdom to let sleeping germs lie.

Professor Elmer Gates, of the Laboratory of Psychurgy at Washington, has proved, by the chemistry of a drop of perspiration, the state of a man at the time when that drop of perspiration was taken. Sometimes it was the sweat of anger, again the sweat of fear, but always it contained its own peculiar poison. Now, if that can produce ptomaines, and ptomaines can produce bacteria, and bacteria can produce disease and death, it were well for us to consider the prevention of all this, for prevention is better than cure as much in metaphysics as in physics. When a reputable physician states that all the germs in the world cannot injure us if our vitality is high, he furnishes us with two important points to consider. The first is that germs are not such terrible things as some would have us believe, and the second is that we should aim to keep our vitality so high that none of these things (germs) shall hurt us.

Let us then consider some of the causes which tend to lower the vitality and see if we cannot find a remedy for them. Work does not tend to lower our vitality–if we are in love with our work–whether that work is mental or physical, but worry does. A man may work never so hard without losing his vitality if he does not worry; but let a man worry and he will lose appetite, sleep and ambition, although he never works an hour. There is an antidote for worry, but it is [144] not to be found in the drug store. It is trust, trust in the living God, such trust as does not neutralize itself by allowing doubt to enter if things do not come about as speedily as we desire them.

There is another condition to which we are all more or less subject to which makes for lowered vitality, and this is anger, which runs all the way from suppressed impatience to downright uncontrolled passion. There is an antidote for this, but it is not to be taken out of the bottle. Love is the antidote for anger in all its phases.

In the heart of every man there are the germs of Trust and Love which need only to be cultivated in order to grow in number and in power so that they will first hold all other germs in their place and then destroy them. Then there is that something higher from which Trust and Love take their rise, that Something which is more protective than anything else in the world. It is Understanding, and by Understanding I mean that sublime conviction that, despite all germs, there is God; and when it becomes a question of which is stronger, God or germs, we ought not to have any difficulty in deciding.

In those tests in Canada where a million germs were swallowed without any ill-effect, there was a literal fulfillment of those words of Jesus, “Ye shall drink any deadly thing, and it shall not hurt you.” We have said that worry and anger lower the vitality, but fear is perhaps one of the most [145] deadly germs in the world, and just as diphtheria, typhoid and pneumonia germs could not fasten themselves upon those healthy constitutions of the Canadian experimenters, so the germs of fear, worry and anger cannot embed themselves in the mental or physical constitution of that man who understands that in a universe that is filled with the presence of God there is nothing to fear. Such a man will go forth in the consciousness that the Lord shall preserve his going out and his coming in forevermore.

He will maintain a sound constitution first by maintaining his trust in God, and then by temperance in eating. He will bathe and exercise because he likes to do these things, but he will not feel that these are all that is necessary, for they are but the external correspondences of that mental bath, by means of which he shall cleanse his thought from all fear, worry and anger. In addition to his physical exercises he will exercise his mind in the direction of developing a fuller reliance on the Spirit, so that no matter what epidemic arises he will be able to say within himself, “In this will I be confident,” for “God has given his angels charge concerning me.” “He is a shelter for me and a place of refuge.” “No evil shall befall me, neither shall any plague come nigh my dwelling,” “for I dwell in Him in Whom is no imperfection and no impurity. Divine Mind rules supreme in Its own universe and I shall not be afraid, for where it is a question of Mind or microbes, my faith is in Mind.”

Chapter 13

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