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Building human intelligence (1917) by Arnold Lorand

Building human intelligence, Translated by Philipp Fischelis

Building human intelligence


Excerpt
It may seem rather daring at first blush to write a book on such a topic. If, however, human intelligence, as nobody can deny, depends on the normal function of the brain, there can be no reason why the latter could not just as well be influenced by a number of hygienic and therapeutic means, as, for instance, the functions of the heart or of the kidney. 

In continuation of my books on a hygienic mode of living and correct feeding, I now have made an attempt to suggest a number of means for the health of the mind based upon a hygienic-physiologic foundation, as even very distinguished scholars sin against the simplest requirements of hygiene and carry on such a destructive wasting of their mental faculties that they become used up prematurely. Being engaged with many complex questions, these gentlemen sin against a sensible mode of living, and the consequence is a premature breakdown. It is, therefore, no wonder that so many great scholars and naturalists manifest signs of arteriosclerosis of the blood vessels of the brain too soon, and become mentally diseased. 

Still, worse is it that, through an entirely wrong and unhygienic way of education and instruction, which violate the laws of the most elementary hygiene and reason, destruction of the mental faculties of children is carried on under the protection and sanction of the State authorities. Everything is taught in our school but plain human common sense! By over-taxing the delicate organism of the children with dry, scholastic knowledge, without taking into consideration practical demonstration and the exercising of the senses, the foundation is often laid for serious nervous diseases; and, in cases where there is a hereditary disposition, even to mental diseases.

 Such diseases may develop slowly without being recognized, and medical (iii) iv Preface. aid is principally sought when it is too late; insanity has broken out or violent deeds, murder, etc., have been committed. Indeed, there is no other branch of medicine in which the condition of prophylaxis is in such a deficient state. The first signs of insanity are generally ignored or mistaken, and, therefore, it is no wonder that the therapeutics of mental diseases, particularly of the sequel disease of syphilis — progressive paralysis — is so little advanced, since help is sought only when irreparable injuries have already taken place. And still, this disease, as well as many other serious mental and nervous diseases, in all probability, could be prevented and perhaps healed by rational care of the nervous system, and by maintaining physical and mental health; and by attending to it very early many a case of neurasthenia could be improved, and some, perhaps, cured.
Arnold Lorand (1865–1943) was an Austrian physician and longevity researcher.

 
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