Arnold Lorand.

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soundest foundation of which is family life. Each family is a
little community in itself, with the father at the head as king, and
the mother as queen. And as the State wants subjects, so the
family wants children ; for the great pleasures connected with the
various stages of a child's growth from the cradle to the altar,
serve as the key to a lengthened and the longest possible existence.
Cornaro gives us a very instructive example in his saying "in
the society of the young we become young again ;" and so chil-
dren restore youth.

Not only because of the favorable mental influence exer-
cised by marriage must this be recommended as one of the most
efficient means for attaining a long life, but also because of vari-
ous other advantages induced by the improved hygienic condi-
tions of various organs. Thus, marriage is able to satisfy the
sexual desires, — ^the complete suppression of which is so injurious
to most healthy men and women, — ^without there being any risk
of contracting diseases of the sexual organs with their terrible
consequences. For this reason alone married persons have the
best chances for preserving their youth, provided they exercise
moderation and do not indulge in the pleasures of matrimonial
life beyond the physiological limits.

It is much easier to observe the rules of hygiene for the
various organs , as outlined previously, in married than in single
life ; for in the latter condition one is concerned for himself alone,
whereas in the former, four eyes instead of two are on the watch.

26



402 Old Age Deferred.



Thus the first symptoms of disease are often visible to the eyes
of a loving wife, and, as prevention is better than cure, such a
disease may then be checked by promptly applied treatment. Most
diseases could be cured if treatment could be administered at
the very beginning, whereas curable diseases often terminate
fatally from neglect of a sufficienctly early treatment. There can
be no doubt about it, but that as a rule, a married man is far
better nursed, in case of sickness, than is a single man ; and we
all know that a good nurse can often do just as much good,
sometimes even more, than the most skilful physician. It is
certain that the therapeutic results in the English and American
hospitals would be inferior to those obtained at present if there
were not such excellent nurses, of whom these countries may
indeed well be proud. Marriage, through the regular habits it
causes, can also favorably influence certain chronic diseases ; thus,
according to Renon, even heart affections can be favorably
influenced by married life.

As a rule married life also implies the possession of a home,
whereas a single man or woman most often have no real home.
They are obliged to frequent restaurants for their meals, where
there is great likelihood of their damaging their stomach or in-
testines by irregularities in food or drink — at least in the case of
men, who also have no reason to stay indoors in the evening, and
are thus more exposed to the life-shortening influences of an
irregular life.

As we have already seen, the best means for attaining a
very long life is moderation in everything; and there is no doubt
that this can be much better observed in married than in single
life.

For all the foregoing reasons we must emphatically advise
all who desire long life and the preservation of youthfulness
as long as possible, to marry, and if they become bereaved, to
marry again. Celibacy is a condition unknown to uncivilized
nations ; the ancient Hindoos considered it a crime that should be
punished ; and, according to Du Perron, the Parsees of the present



Married Life as Means for Prolonging Life. 403

time, who still follow the religion of Zoroaster, regard celibacy
as a deadly sin. According to Tsen-ki-tong,^ an old maid is a
phenomenal rarity in China.

The best proof of the supposition that marriage is conducive
to long life is the example given us by the long-lived patriarchs
mentioned in another chapter, nearly all of whom were married ;
for if they became widowers, even though over loo years in age,
they soon married again.

It is one of the saddest sights on earth to see an old bach-
elor alone in the world ; and we consider that the happiest beings
are those who, in their green old age, are surrounded by numer-
ous children and grandchildren. According to Schopenhauer,
such persons never die, for their flesh and blood survive in their
descendants. .

Being still a bachelor we may incur the reproach that we
speak of marriage as the blind man speaks of color, and par-
ticularly by seeming blind to the evils that may be present in the
married state. We cannot deny the fact that some people are
most unhappy ; but it is our firm belief that all the ills that befall
us on this earth are due to ourselves. If we select our nuptial
mate with care and sound judgment, paying more attention to
the internal rather than the external qualities, treating her with
the utmost consideration of character, first studying and then
adapting ourselves to them, we shall not find sharp edges but
smooth sides, and we shall never come into collision with them.
Everywhere and anywhere, everyone is the author of his own
luck.



1 Tsen-ki-tong: "China und die Chinesen," German translation from the
Chinese, Leipzig, 1875.



CHAPTER LI.

Hygiene of the Mini! — Emotions and Worry as Causes of

Old Age,

When the famous surgeon Vesalius was dissecting a
woman, he discovered that her heart was still feebly beating.
He was so overcome by mental distress at his discovery that
he suddenly dropped dead. Other instances, also showing that
strong emotions of the mind are able to kill people, are known,
and history also tells us of the case of Louis of Bourbon who
dropped dead from fright at witnessing the exhumation of his
father's bones. Not only can severe emotions caused by fear
or grief, but pleasing ones, when they exceed a certain limit,
are also able to produce instantaneous death. Thus it is said
that when Leibnitz's niece found a large amount of gold under
the bed of the famous philosopher, after his death, she had such
a powerful emotion of joy that she fell dead. The same sudden
end was the fate of Sophocles when he heard that one of his
tragedies had been awarded the highest prize.

Death is happily rather rare under such circumstances ; but
diseases of a serious kind, especially diabetes, can be caused
frequently from strong mental emotions of a depressing nature.
We have published two cases of young women who suddenly
contracted severe diabetes after a fright, while previously there
had been no symptoms of such; and in a third case glycosuria
was increased very considerably. This last case was one of mild
diabetes ; the sugar increased to a very great extent the day fol-
lowing the intelligence that he had lost half his fortune through
a coal mine accident. Professor Naunyn, in his book on dia-
betes, after quoting our own observations, also states the inter-
esting fact that after the bombardment of Strassburg in the
(404)



Emotions and Worry as Causes of Old Age. 405

war of 1870, many cases of diabetes developed in consequence
of the fear and anxiety brought about by it.

Strong emotions of the mind thus tend to shorten existence
by their fatal action on several of the most important organs,
such as the heart, and in particular the ductless glands : the ad-
renals, thyroid, pituitary, pancreas, liver, kidneys, and the sexual
glands. These are governed by the sympathetic and vagus, and
mental emotions, by acting on these nerves, produce alterations
in these important glands.

By acting on the adrenals mental emotions produce higher
blood-pressure, in consequence of the toxic action of the increased
adrenal secretion, and thus favor the development of diseases of
the heart and circulatory system, especially arteriosclerosis, which
so very frequently shortens life (see also Chapter XVI).

That mental emotions act upon the thyroid is shown by
the alteration of this gland in consequence, which can sometimes
go so far that often Graves's disease (hyperthyroidia) has been
observed, at times shortly, and at other times suddenly, after the
mental shock. The hyperactivity of the thyroid may eventually
be followed by its exhaustion; and so it happens that as one of
the causes of myxcedema mental depression is often mentioned.

That alterations of the pituitary body after mental emotions
can take place, is shown conclusively by the fact that competent
authorities, like Professor Pel and many others, have published
cases of acromegaly after such a cause. We personally observed
a case in which grief from incarceration caused the disease to
which also diabetes was added. Sajous has long urged that the
pituitary is the sensorium commune, i.e., the central organ upon
which all severe emotions react.

It is indeed tragical that diabetes mellitus so frequently
attacks those who suffer reverses in their life. Unlike death
in the cases above mentioned, it is only brought about in those
who have had mental emotion in consequence of disappointment,
loss of fortune, and, in some cases, a wife's infidelity, etc. Thus,
not satisfied with bringing misfortunes, Fate adds disease, so



406 Old Age Deferred.



that their lives are threatened with being shortened. We shall
insist, later on, that this disease, as most diseases generally,
only develops in consequence of our own fault or the fault of our
forefathers.

The alterations of the pancreas in consequence of mental
emotions can be best demonstrated by the frequency of diabetes
after such a cause, as just referred to above. Pawlow observed
a checking of the pancreatic juice after such an agency.

The action of mental emotions on the sexual glands is
shown by the sudden appearance of menstruation. We have
recently heard of a young lady who attempted suicide because of
disappointment in love; she threw herself into a river, which
fortunately was not deep at the moment, and this act caused the
sudden return of her menstrual period.

Cases of sudden menstruation after various kinds of mental
emotion have often been observed ; and in men under similar cir-
cumstances impotency is not infrequently noted, though, in most
cases, it is only temporary.

The alterations of the liver are shown by jaundice, and of
the kidneys by an increased flow of urine in consequence of men-
tal emotions. According to Clifford AUbutt,^ strong, mental
emotions play an important part in the origin in many cases of
interstitial nephritis.

It is a well-known fact that persons, after strong mental
emotion of a distressing kind, have suddenly turned gray, as
is related of Marie Antoinette, Queen of France; and we our-
selves have seen a similar case in a young lady, one of our rela-
tives, who in one night had her jet-black hair turned white.

That care, worry, grief, and sorrow are able to bleach the
hair, although not so suddenly as above, is generally known;
and not only gray hair, but a haggard, worn appearance, and
all the other attributes of old age, with changes in the arteries, as
is so often the case in old age, have over and over again been
attributed to the above causes. It is a well-known fact that



1 Quoted after James Tyson. Loo. cit.



Emotions and Worry as Causes of Old Age. 407

premature old age is probably brought about more frequently
by the above agencies than by any of the other contributory
causes.

Not only premature old age, but also premature death, can
be caused by such agencies ; for there is no longer any doubt that,
in persons with mental depression, resistance against infections
and intoxications is reduced, and that such persons are thus at the
mercy of the microbes, which are to be found in billions every-
where. On the other hand, we can often observe that a merry
disposition may cause long-lasting youth and a very long life.
The celebrated English painter, Mr. Frithe, who died quite
recently at the age of 92, when asked the reasons for his vigor
and robustness used to answer: "No worries, and six cigars a
day." Having seen on the island of Capri an old boatswain of
80 years vigorously handling his oars, we inquired of him the
reasons for his robustness and received as his answer : "Sempre
allegre" (always merry). This "sempre allegre" should also be
our own motto for life, because of its efficacy in warding off old
age.

There are some admirable teachings in the Upanishads and
Vedanta of the Hindoos : never to seek for riches and fame, and
to give up ambition. Indeed this, more than anything else, would
assure a perfect tranquillity of the mind, as exemplified by the
image of Buddha ; but for the future of mankind and the progress
of scientific research, a certain amount of ambition is necessary.
We think the noblest aim is to do good for its own sake, and
not for the sake of honors ; but if honors are obtained, to accept
them calmly, going on in the usual way; for otherwise it hap-
pens, as we so often witness, that too much ambition, with its
wear and tear, exposes us to premature disease by arterioscle-
rosis, the most prevalent disease among men who have reached
fame, especially among statesmen, whose honors are, indeed,
dearly paid for.

It would lead us too far to enter into particulars as to how
the various organs, even the stomach, can possibly, even in a



408 Old Age Deferred.



powerful way, influence the conditions of the mind ; but we must
make an exception in the case of the ductless glands. If the
mind influences these, on the other hand they exercise a mar-
velous action on the mind, as already stated.

Degenerated conditions of the thyroid are always followed
by weakening of the mental powers, and they are also able to alter
the normal conditions of the mind. As a rule, as we so often see,
persons having such are low spirited and possess no will-power
or energy. The loss of will-power through extirpation of the
thyroid or by its degeneration has been already mentioned in
Chapter IV.

People with a weak thyroid, and especially if to this be
added a degenerated state of the testicles, or of the ovaries are
usually melancholy and despondent. They have exceedingly
often what the French call "idees noires" — they are always full of
"dark ideas." In everything they undertake they always foresee
a bad issue ; and it is not singular that this bad issue very often
really comes about, for it is caused with mathematical certainty
by their own incapability, absentmindedness, and entire want of
foresight. This is another illustration of our theory that most
of our want of success and our mishaps, if not all of them, we
bring upon ourselves by our own faults. We often notice that
such people lack the most elementary rules of foresight, precau-
tion and circumspection. They are horribly absentminded, a
fact we have noted especially in old spinsters, who may pass their
best friends a dozen times on the street without recognizing them.
Such persons may also easily fall victims to accidents, as being
run over by a carriage, etc.

The fact that these "dark ideas" are frequent in people
with a degenerated thyroid has also been observed by Dr. Leo-
pold Levi, of Paris, and Dr. Baron Henry de Rothschild, who,
in their Annals on Children's Diseases, published by Dr. de
Rothschild's Hospital for Sick Children, give a detailed de-
scription of the alterations in the mind in cases of thyroid degen-
eration. That these dark ideas must be ascribed to degeneration



~^



Emotions and Worry as Causes of Old Age. 409

of the thyroid and of the sexual glands, besides the proof from the
observations mentioned in Chapter IV, is best shown by the
fact that, as we have seen in many cases, they may be much
improved and, not infrequently, may disappear through the use
of thyroid, testicular, and ovarian extracts. Courage, as was
shown in the same chapter, is a quality of the mind which is
entirely dependent upon the intact condition of the sexual glands ;
it is lacking in castrates, and seldom seen in persons with
degenerated sexual glands.

These persons are like a reed in the wind, waving backward
and forward without any energy ; the least untoward event may
beat them down. They are pained by circumstances and are
always governed by them, whereas a person with a healthy thy-
roid and healthy testicles, like the heroes sculptured by the Greek
artists, who have fire and courage in their eyes, faces all circum-
stances. Such as these control all circumstances, sometimes even
fate, and it is not fate that governs them. Sometimes we feel
inclined to think that there is no such thing as fate, at least for
such men. They mould their own destiny themselves, and always
succeed in pushing on with their iron will.

Will-power is, as repeatedly mentioned, essentially a product
of thyroid, and also probably of intact testicular or ovarian,
activity. It is always wanting in persons who have been cas-
trated, and is very often absent in those leading a life of sexual
debauchery.

According to the above, persons with weak thyroids or weak
and degenerated sexual glands are bound to fail in their under-
takings, and are thus more exposed to disappointments of all
kinds, reverses of fortune, etc. ; therefore, such people are the
most frequent subjects of mental depression.

Taking into consideration what has been said above, we
conclude that the source of disappointment lies, in many cases,
if not in most, in our own fault, because of loss of foresight or
some slight omission, which, indeed, is so often apt to overthrow
all our most beautiful plans. Often it is due to errors of judg-



no Old Age Deferred.



ment, and frequently also to want of perseverance, the conse-
quence of defective will-power.

We have already shown in Chapter IV, and above, that
degeneration of the thyroid and of the sexual glands is always
followed by similar alterations of the mind.

If we want rationally to prevent mental depression we must
first remove its cause. In many cases it is caused by alterations
of mental activity subsequent to changes in different ductless
glands, and also in other organs that influence the condition of
the mind. Logically, we must improve the functions of these
glands if we want to proceed rationally, and then our mental
activity will improve, and failures like disappointments may, in
all probability, be avoided. We can effect this by means of
extracts of certain animal organs.

It has been shown by the celebrated physiologist, Brown-
Sequard, by experiments on himself, that testicular extracts
were able to improve his mental vigor and enabled him to do
a much greater amount of work. We have made similar ob-
servations in several cases, especially when at the same time thy-
roid extracts were used, but also without them. Thus we think
that we do not go too far, on the basis of the observations of
Brown-Sequard and other authorities, including our own, when
we say that, through the improvement of our mental power by
therapeutic measures, like organic extracts, we may be able to
influence success to a favorable degree, and that everybody is, in-
deed, as already quoted, "the smith of his own luck," as the
German proverb says ; and thus we can protect ourselves against
failure, disappointment, and mental depression. We are thus
justified in saying that a man with healthy ductless glands in
perfect working condition, and thus of perfect mental power, is
the man who can face any emergency and, to a certain extent,
direct fate at his own pleasure. Such a man can get practically
everything he wants, and Napoleon probably was made of such
stuff. For such men there are no obstacles in the world.



2Browii-S6quard: Loo. cit.



Emotions and Worry as Causes of Old Age. 411

It is of great importance that not only the glands with
internal secretion, but also all the other organs of the body,
should be kept in hygienic condition, carrying out the rules laid
down in other parts of this book.

It has been shown by noted historians that great men, such
as Napoleon, had to blame their downfall indirectly to faulty
hygiene — for instance, of the digestive organs. That the con-
dition of the stomach — this too often ill-used organ — influences
the mind in a powerful way, is borne out by many interesting
examples.

There can be no doubt, however, that there are causes of
ill-luck which we cannot avoid, as, for instance, loss of near
relatives by death, such as parents or children, or disappointment
in nuptial affection or love — although here, to a great extent,
omissions, lack of sound judgment, and last, but not least, lack
of perseverance can be imputed.

If then, in spite of all our precaution, an accident or death
of a dear relative occurs, we must use every endeavor to control
our grief and sorrow. Fortunately the human frame is so won-
derfully built that there is self-defense not only against disease,
but also against affections of the mind. Thus we have the gift
of forgetfulness, and if this sometimes be a drawback, in most
cases it is a divine blessing. We must endeavor to obliterate the
remembrance of our disappointments. We must remember that
mourning for a great number of years will not restore life for
one minute to the dear departed, but that a day of it is sufficient
to run down our own health and create deep furrows in our face.
Happily, average man is so constituted that, as time goes on,
he must naturally lose his sorrow ; time heals all grief, and here
also will-power has its effects; and these who lack it, examples
of whom we have referred to above, are easily subject to suicide.

It would also be necessary to change such of our habits
as are allied to superstition and prejudice. As in many things,
the Chinese are more rational in their customs ; at their times of
mourning every one is dressed in shining and beautiful white;



412 Old Age Deferred.



they use a white coffin, which is much more pleasing to the sight,
and certainly much more cheerful, than our depressing dark
ones ; and when the whole house and church are draped in black
our depression, with its terrible consequences to our health and
vitality, is so much the more increased. Thus the dead often
shorten the lives of the living.

Then, living in total seclusion, garbed in deep black, with
long black veil, remaining away from all places where the mind
can be cheered, not even allowed to attend a concert, how can
a poor widow forget, especially if her will-power from causes
mentioned, is diminished? Shall we then be greatly surprised
if, as occurs occasionally, such a widow or widower commits
suicide, to which such irrational prejudices are simply impelling
them?

And yet it will certainly not be impossible to ameliorate
such a state. With a strong will-power systematically trained
from childhood, we can accustom ourselves to drive out dis-
agreeable thoughts of bereavement, fear, anxiety, etc. Realizing
that what is irreparably lost can never be recovered, notwith-
standing oceans of tears and the deepest sorrow, we must suc-
ceed in understanding the uselessness of it and make up our
mind to eradicate entirely from our recollections things that can
never be altered. Not to worry about anything is the surest
and most successful way to attain long life and a green old age,
and by the exercise of some will-power and consistent training
such a mental condition can be obtained.

There are certain external agencies which can powerfully
assist to bring about f orgetf ulness. Such are nrnisic, the arts, litera-
ture, and above all scientific occupations. Where is there a grief
that cannot be soothed by one of the beautiful symphonies of Bee-
thoven, or by the works of Mozart, or by other classics : Haydn,
Haendel, Bach, Schubert, Chopin, Wagner, Grieg; or by the
paintings of Velasquez, Rembrandt or Van Dyck; or by the
pictures of the beautiful women painted by the great English
masters Gainsborough, Reynolds, Romney, and Lawrence; and



Emotions and Worry as Causes of Old Age. 413

which of the saddest faces will not turn to a smile when reading
Mark Twain ? The pursuit of scientific research is also a mighty-
weapon, and we kno-w a famous savant who passed the remainder
of the day in his laboratory after he had accompanied the hearse
of his wife to the cemetery.

When we are deeply depressed over a severe loss if we pay a
visit to a museum, where we can see the manifestations of life
that existed hundreds or thousands of years ago, it may give
us some comfort. Considering the bodies in the British Museum



Online LibraryArnold LorandOld age deferred; the causes of old age and its postponement by hygienic and therapeutic measures .. → online text (page 34 of 40)