* * * * *
And now, one final word in conclusion, for the purpose of drawing together, as it were, the multiplicity of threads which constitute the complex skein of causes and effects, with their remedial measures which cover the wide range of human life’s vicissitudes—the interruptions of its would-be harmonies—which take the forms, all too common in these times of stress, of physical disturbance and of mental strain which come to us in the combined and threatening guise of suffering and disease.
That these forms are more pronounced, more virulent today than ever before in the records of the race, is surely great Nature’s manner, crude and masterful, of pressing her mandate home—right home upon the plastic film of evanescent shadows and ephemeral shades we proudly call our consciousness.
How many, let me ask, how many of us, in the absorbing round of life’s futilities, have paused to really recognize the sinister “hand writing on the wall?”
The phase of the world’s history through which we pass complacently is of no light portent, its happenings no casual concern, but, in point of crucial fact, a virtual “rending of the sphere”—a cosmic upheaval such as never yet before has racked the tense life sinews of the world, confounding the wisdom of the wise and wrecking in one fell climax of contempt the moral precepts of two thousand years.
The greatest human struggle the world has ever known synchronizes strangely, yet logically with the world’s greatest pestilence which has swept successive millions to their doom without exacting from the residue even the sentimental tribute of a tear.
The official brains of the entire globe are leagued in self-protective unison “to make the world safe for democracy;” but Demos dies, by violence and disease, ere yet salvation comes. It appeals to its old-time standards for relief,—they are gone; to its pastors—they are mute; to its masters—they are impotent; to its doctors—they are baffled, helpless and aghast, whilst vainly searching earth and air for some frail pretext of unreal enlightenment, some fragile figment of belief. And yet in hypnotized complacency the masses stand; for meanwhile commerce reaps its costly gains and labour draws in enhanced increment the wages of the living and the dead.
Less serious visitations have, in former times, left their eternal imprint on the age. They served to point the moral of widespread reform—to emphasize the practice of hygiene and sanity. For all such scourges are but signs of Nature’s trust betrayed, her sacred laws defied in the wild rush for gain, oblivious of the Law of Compensation’s cost, with its inevitable reckoning.
Thus, to the discoverer of the lost initiative, what prospect does the future hold in store?
Pandemics, such as this, repeat themselves; and other forms of dread disease are following the footsteps of mankind. Arterio sclerosis, (hardening of the arteries), with its kindred complaints, for instance, now threatens to become a standing feature of the race through ignorance of the physiological functions of the nerves, their tissue exhaustion and supply.