By E.E. Rogers, MD
Summary: This is an excerpt from the book The Philosophy and Science of Health published by the Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research. Dr. Rogers, in relating to the book’s overall discussion of the decline of health in America, discusses how ill health begins on the farm, with deficient soils. He then proposes some methods for revitalizing the soil, thus invigorating the entire food chain. From The Philosophy and Science of Health, 1949. Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research form LI-233.
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The Technique of Health Achievement
Consideration of the means of health achievement should properly begin at the soil. Though this has been too little understood, one of man’s most precious possessions is (or should be) a fertile and productive soil—a soil that should contain all the necessary elements to produce vigorous and disease-free vegetation. This asset, as is the case with man’s heritage of abundance and of health in general, is being gradually but certainly frittered away. It is not the function of this book to enter into the details of scientific farming or soil conservation, or to enumerate the errors of common, so-called scientific agricultural procedures—such would take a large book in itself. I shall, however, indicate a few of the fallacies and mistakes that are practiced under the name of science; and I shall inform the reader where he may obtain exact information upon the subject of gardening or farming, if he so desires. As always, I believe the student should investigate and dig out the facts for himself after obtaining the lead. The good student or patient is always glad, I have found, to do this, whereas the one who waits for knowledge (or health) to be thrust upon him is apt to be left waiting.
As anyone who reads knows, the farms of North America (and of most of the rest of the world) are becoming more and more infertile, subject also to more and more diseases and pests. The governments are well aware of this situation and vast sums have been and are being spent in the search for remedies. Apparently, however, the solution must be unnatural and complicated or it is not to be considered. The natural, comparatively inexpensive and quickly effective solution has been in use for thousands of years; is in use in parts of the world today, and could quickly be proven able to control and solve our problems of soil erosion and soil fertility. Unfortunately the method has never been applied on a large scale on this continent, nor could this ever be done under our present political system. In other words, huge financial enterprises based upon the sale of chemical fertilizers, sprays, poisons and all sorts of equipment, will not be forced out of business if they can avoid it, regardless of what detrimental effects their products and their methods may have upon the soil or the vegetation. These financial interests probably do not wish to do any harm to the soil of the country in which they live. Probably they do not even know or care whether their methods produce good or bad results. They are in a lucrative business, and intend to remain there. The radically new method, whatever its virtue, represents a threat to their business existence; therefore it is to be discouraged and suppressed, if possible. Such is our method, and the results speak for themselves. They certainly do; and nowhere do they speak more loudly than in the department of agriculture. The proper method would be too effective (like runless stockings or plastic automobiles); because of its effectiveness there would not be the turnover, the repair and replacement business. All this makes for bad business, as we practice business. Such is our organized “science,” in this “civilized” and “progressive” continent.
Having had the resources at our command, naturally we have been able to outstrip less fortunate countries. Nevertheless, with all our advantages, we have wasted most of our heritage; used very little of it to the best advantage. We must soon begin to use intelligence along with our resources, or we will be one of the “have nots,” as we deserve. Many of our resources are approaching the vanishing point. Soil, however, is one of our resources that can be built up again—if we do not wait too long.
I do not advocate a return to manpower, or to the era of the horse and buggy. I believe in more and more mechanization, less and less work, as such, by man. But we must first learn to use our mechanization, and our leisure, and our abundance. Mechanization, by the absence of mixed farming, absence of animals, the use of commercial fertilizers and sprays, and the failure to maintain a top soil with a sufficient humus content, are the factors chiefly responsible for the progressive increase of soil erosion and soil infertility. Nature, if the natural balance is not disturbed, produces an increasingly rich top soil, one which is often so rich (as in the case of our prairies) that, even with the most ignorant and brutal type of so-called farming, it produces good crops for ten or more years before giving out. The sad thing is that there could be people so ignorant, and so stupid as to expect good results from such methods. So man, with his get-rich-quick ideas, has destroyed this natural balance. Pestilence, disease, sterility and erosion have been the results. But as is the case with disease in the human body, if a return to natural principles is made before complete destruction has been accomplished, great progress may be made toward recovery. Indeed if man were able and willing to apply real knowledge and real science to agriculture and soil conservation, he would be able to develop and improve upon the best that nature has hitherto been able to produce. Thus far, in spite of statements to the contrary, this has not been done nor shall it ever be done except by those who work with nature. Nature can be made to work with and for us, but woe betide the fool who thinks he is able to improve upon nature or go contrary to her laws. Our present chaotic situation with respect to farming, health, production, distribution, and many other phases of our social economy, bears witness to the futility and stupidity of our past and present procedures. Must all the soil blow away, and all the people suffer and die from degenerative diseases (as indeed most of them are doing), before we wake up to the fact that something is wrong with our approach? That something is our lack of intelligent consideration and application of natural laws and principles to all problems—even if it hurts a few financiers and politicians. Such would be real science.
At present, in most of this country, the soil, is mined, not tilled. In most cases no humus is put into the soil. If any fertilization is done at all, it is usually done by means of chemical fertilizers. Consequently, plant diseases are increasing in number and variety, just as their human counterparts are increasing. Some wonderful “cure” is invented for this or that disease today; but a new and worse disease breaks out tomorrow. More sprays, more poisons, more drugs, more chemical fertilizers, more disease, less health; so the vicious circle goes. One would think that even a moron would realize, upon consideration (if a moron considers) of present results, that the proper approach, the functional approach, must have been missed. Our so-called scientists seem to have missed the fact that life is a balanced, natural process, not necessarily complicated, unless one makes it so, and not reducible to chemical equations and formulae. Chemistry is only a part of life—and life itself is lost in the performance of chemical analysis. No one understands life, no one is able to make or destroy life. I do not believe that any one on this earth will ever make or destroy life, any more than he will be able to make or destroy electricity. Neither, for our purposes, is it necessary for us to do so. We may use electricity, even if we are not able to understand it or to make it. We may also study and understand living. If we succeed in this study, thus discovering our true relationship to nature, and the proper methods of working with nature, we shall be able, for the first time in history, to enjoy the abundance of nature. We shall “make the desert blossom as the rose.” We shall have health. We shall have success in every department. All the tools we need are here now. They have always been here. It is only owing to our own stupidity, cupidity, and the persistent use of pseudo-scientific but incorrect methods, that we have been unable to achieve success before.
For those who wish to learn more concerning the reasons for the failure of past and present methods, and who wish to learn the proper methods of soil conservation and fertility, the best book available is An Agricultural Testament, by Sir Albert Howard, published by Oxford Press. Smaller books and magazines upon this important subject of humus and compost may be obtained from Organic Gardening, Emmaus, Pennsylvania, USA. Investigation of these sources of information will be profitable to those who apply the principles.
Humus and properly manufactured compost are of inestimable and almost unbelievable value in the growth of healthy plants. Moreover, just as in the case of humans, one finds that as plants become more healthy; pests and parasites become more and more scarce. To grow truly healthy plants is the sure (and the only sure) way to control pests. I am proving this scientifically on my farm. Humus, however, unless one were fortunate enough to obtain the materials from ideal sources, would be unlikely to contain all the necessary chemical elements for the best plant growth. Nevertheless, this is the best we can do under the circumstances and results will be found to be perfect in comparison with inorganic methods. A small percentage of natural kelp, if obtainable, does much to supplement depletion, if added to the compost. One should know that it takes seventeen to twenty elements to produce optimum growth. Some of these elements need to be present in only infinitely small amounts; nevertheless their absence constitutes a certain degree of malnutrition for the plants. Some plants require more of certain elements than others. The haphazard application of only three chemical elements, which is the basis of ordinary chemical fertilizer application, while it may produce plants for a time that look well, fails to give anything approaching best results achievable. It fails completely to give protection against pests and diseases in plants. Naturally, if the plants we eat are deficient in certain chemical elements, grown in soils without the proper humus content, and are therefore, defective or diseased (or poisoned with sprays), those of us who eat these foods must suffer as a consequence from malnutrition. That is why I advise the use of organic mineral and vitamin preparations. If our vegetables were grown properly, no additional vitamins or minerals would need to be taken.
Plowman’s Folly, by Edward H. Faulkner, is another educational and illuminating book, one that gives a valuable analysis of the failure of current methods. The procedures recommended by Mr. Faulkner are valuable inasmuch as they succeed in putting more and more humus into the ground. The method may be applied in many cases with advantage, particularly on the large farm, where the use of compost throughout might be impossible or prohibitive in cost. The book however does not tell the complete story. While sheer composting or green manuring in the Faulkner manner is of great benefit, it should be enhanced by the use of scientifically prepared compost wherever possible. I have been asked, “Does it pay to use all this compost and minerals—can we afford it?” My answer is that nobody is able not to afford that which his body requires. If financial and political considerations make difficult or impossible the use or acquisition of essential knowledge or materials (as they do), it becomes necessary to change the modus operandi—or suffer the consequences. Nobody is responsible for the continuation of enforced scarcities except the people. Every intelligent person must investigate and use the method that gives better results, regardless of cost, regardless of the opinions of others.
Over a period of years I have applied, on farm and garden, the methods I have recommended. Results have been demonstrated from the first. Flavor and keeping quality of fruits and vegetables has improved. Parasites and pests have diminished in number. Trees and plants afflicted with disease may be cured without sprays, as indeed they have not been able to be cured with sprays. Organic gardening proves the correctness, applied to the vegetable kingdom, of the principle taught in this book, as applied to man. The principles of life explained in this book, with appropriate modification with respect to species requirements, resulted in my being able to raise chickens by means of scientific nutritional and other factors, for a period of three years without disease or death. Mortality in pseudo-scientific circles, including universities and commercial poultry growers, is 20 to 30 percent a year. To raise healthy, disease-free chickens is not so cheap, but this should not be the criterion. In any case—it can be done. Disease and parasite infestation, bacterial or otherwise, are always the result primarily of malnutrition and impaired vitality. These effects may be treated in many ways, but they may be removed or cured only if nutritional faults are corrected. Other factors may be and are involved in the production of disease, both in plants and in humans. The factor of malnutrition, however, is always present if disease exists. This factor must be corrected, else all other procedures will be rendered, to a greater or lesser degree, ineffective in the permanent conquest of disease.
By E.E. Rogers, MD, CM. Reprinted by the Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research from The Philosophy and Science of Health, Third Edition, Chapter IV, pp. 65–68.[Table of contents of The Philosophy and Science of Health:]
Chapter I: Preliminary Considerations…Page 19
—Evidence as to the unsoundness of many past and current theories and practices. The need for a new approach.
Chapter II: The Synthesis of Health…Page 30
—Heredity, habits, and environment.
Chapter III: Habits Which Produce Health…Page 42
—Correct thinking. Correct nutrition. Correct exercise. Correct breathing. Correct emotional life.
Chapter IV: The Technique of Health Achievement…Page 65
—Soil improvement and conservation. Vitamins. Minerals. Enzymes. Polarity. Nutritional technique. Foods that must not be used. Foods that may be used, subject to circumstances or to instruction. Daily Regime for average individuals, subject to modification in illness. Symptoms may increase. Removal of foods during acute symptoms. Constituents of cleansing diet. Nutrition of infants and children. Individual instruction best, though not always essential. Daily regime after weaning. Classification table for food combinations. Recipes. Soybeans. Typical meals. Use of fruits. The starch meal.
Chapter V: The Management of Disease…Page 120
—Reduction or removal of food. Working when ill. All cases not able to recover. Acute illness. Chronic disease. Elimination regime in treating chronic. Allergic conditions. Arthritis. Cancers. Diabetes. Heart diseases. Hypertension. Nervous diseases. Cataracts. Sensory perceptions.
Chapter VI: Summary…Page 146
Chapter VII: Conclusion…Page 154
Reference Index…Page 155
Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research
Milwaukee 3, Wisconsin