Human beings are unable to devote themselves to constructive and creative tasks because of six corrosives which deplete vitality. They are malnutrition, ill health (physical, mental, emotional), worry, anger, fear, and hatred. Each one of the six is present, to a greater or less degree, in every human life.
Food intake is one of the chief sources of human energy. The human organism, like any other functional apparatus, can operate only so long as it is adequately supplied with the necessary nourishment. Perhaps three-fifths of mankind attempts to survive on a diet that is insufficient in quantity. Many among the other two-fifths consume stale, processed, devitalized food which is lacking in nutritive value. Comparatively few people are aware of the need for correct food combinations. A rapidly increasing proportion of mankind is being actively poisoned by pollution of the water supply, by the use of chemicals in food processing, and by spraying and dusting foods with high-power poisons aimed at the prevention of food deterioration and at the destruction of harmful micro-organisms and vermin.
Resulting malnutrition leads to a crippling failure of energy. Continued over long periods it lowers vitality, impairs the efficiency of body tissues and organs and becomes a major factor in physical degeneration. Malnutrition is one of the chief causes of physical, mental and emotional disability. There is a direct relation between nutritional deficiencies and the mal-functioning of the human organism.
Ill health also can be caused by natal influences, by accidents, by contagions and infections, by the disintegration of the organism. Where these causes are sufficiently severe, they result in premature death; otherwise they use up vital energy, and force their victims to drag themselves about, suffering constant pain or to spend their days in wheel chairs or in bed.
Worry is hard to measure. There are chronic worriers who devote their lives to this futile practice. There are victims of occasional worry spells. Under stress, most people worry-devoting their attention and consuming their energies upon some imaginary situation which seldom or never actually arises.
Anger, fear and hatred are widely prevalent in the daily lives of human beings. All consume energy, lower vitality and detract attention from constructive and creative endeavors.
Corrosive factors which deplete human vitality should be avoided with the same care that one takes in avoiding collision with a tree, a wall or a moving vehicle. All detract from health and well-being. The normal, healthy individual attempts to avoid them as a matter of course. But mass poverty, mass infection and mass unemployment cannot be dealt with by individuals acting singly. They are social mal-adjustments. As such they can be handled effectively only by social plans and action programs aimed to revive the victims of social maladjustment and to make the changes necessary to remove the causes that undermine individual health and fitness and thus lower the levels of community well-being.
(from Chapter III, The Conscience of a Radical, Scott Nearing, Harborside, Maine: Social Science Institute, 1965)
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