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Unformatted text preview: y. He then receives the credit that belonged to Nature. Medical men understand
this,--that many diseases are "self-limited" and pass through a cycle influenced but little by treatment. But
faith curists do not so understand, and neither does the mass of people, so that neither one nor the other CHAPTER I. 15 separates "post hoc" from "propter hoc." If the truth were told, most of the miracle and faith cures that are not
of hysterical origin are due to coincidence. Faith curists report in detail their successes, but we have no
statistics whatever of their failures.
If thought is a product of the brain activated by the rest of the organism, it would be perfectly natural to expect
that thought would influence the organism. That thought is intimately associated with impulses to action is
well known. This action largely takes place in the speech muscles but also it irradiates into the rest of the
organism. Especially is this true if the thought is associated with some emotion. Emotion, as we shall discuss
it later, is at least in large part a bodily reaction, a disturbance in heart, lungs, abdominal organs, blood
vessels, sympathetic nervous system, endocrines, etc. The effect of thought and emotion upon the body,
whether to heighten its activity or to lower its activity, is, from my point of view, merely the effect of one
function of the organism upon others. We are not surprised if digestion affects thinking and mood, and we
need not be surprised if thought and mood disturb or improve digestion. And we may substitute for digestion
any other organic function.
As a working basis, substantiated by the kind of proof we use in our daily lives in laboratories and machine
shops, we may state that mind, character and personality are organic in their origin and are functions of the
entire organism. What a man thinks, does and feels (or perhaps we should reverse this order) is the result of
environmental forces playing upon a marvelously intricate organism in which every part reacts on every other
part, in which nervous energy influences digestion and digestion influences nervous energy, in which
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- Spring '11