"Such was the view taken by the famous psychologist, Dr. William Erb, of the University of Heidelberg. He said "Nervousness (meaning nervous excitement, nervous weakness) the growing malady of the day, the physiological feature of the age. Hysteria, hypochondria and neurasthenia are increasing with fearful rapidity among both sexes. They begin in childhood, if not indeed inherited. Minds are overburdened in school, with too much teaching or misdirected teaching. The pleasures of social life follow, overexciting the already enfeebled nervous system. Business life is made up of hurry and worry and shocks and excitements. Society, science, business, art, literature, are all pervaded by a spirit of unrest, and by a competitive zeal which urges its victims on remorselessly. No man knows repose. The result is, wreckage. The pharmacopceia is overcrowded with nerve tonics, nerve stimulants, nerve sedatives. The medical profession devotes its best energies to the treatment of neuropaths. And as a people we are, or are becoming, excitable, irritable, morbid, prone to sudden collapse through snapping of the overtense chord of the nervous vitality." Nowhere are the rush and hurry and overstrain of life more marked than in this much-achieving Nation. The comparative youth and freshness and vigor of the American people enable them to do and to endure what would be beyond the power of an older and more worn-out community. Yet there is no disguising the fact that the pace tells even here, and often tells to kill. True, all the tendencies of the age are in that direction. Inventions, discoveries, achievements of science, all add to the sum of that which is to be learned, and widen the field in which there is work to be done. What we need to learn is, however, that all these things are for man, not man for them. If knowledge has increased, we should take more time for acquiring it, knowing that, with the consequent increase of power, we shall be able to achieve as much afterward in the shorter time as our Predecessors did in the longer time their briefer study afforded."
The People's Common Sense Medical Adviser
- R V Pierce, MD