DIETETIC RULES, ETC.
Extracts from Bernhard Schuchardt’s “Letters of Hahnemann to a Patient, from the year 1703-1805.” Tubingen, 1886. Publisher, H Laupp. (Page 6I ff; the following letter was written in the year 1800. approx.)
Man (the delicate human machine) is not constituted for overwork. If he does so from ambition, love of gain, or other praiseworthy or blameworthy motive, he sets himself in opposition to the order of nature, and his body suffers injury or destruction. The more so if his body is already in a weakened condition; then what you cannot accomplish in a week, you can do in two weeks. Your customers may not be willing to wait, but they cannot reasonably expect that you will make yourself ill and work yourself to the grave for their sake, leaving your wife a widow and your children orphans. It is not only the greater bodily exertion that injures you, but even more the attendant strain on the mind; the overwrought mind in its turn affects the body injuriously. If you do not assume an attitude of calm indifference, adopting the principle of living first for yourself and only secondly for others, then there is small chance of your recovery. When you are in your grave, men will still be clothed, perhaps not so tastefully, but still tolerably well.
If you are a philosopher you may become healthy, you may even attain to old age.
If anything annoys you, ignore it; if anything is too much for you, have nothing to do with it; if others seek to drive you, go slowly and laugh at the fools who wish to worry you. What you can do comfortably, that do; what you cannot accomplish, do not bother yourself about, for our temporal circumstances are not improved by over-pressure of work. You only spend proportionately more on your domestic affairs, and so nothing is gained. Economy, limitation of superfluities ( of which the hard worker has often very few) place us in a position to live with greater comfort-that is to say, more rationally, more intelligently, more in accordance with nature, more cheerfully, more quietly and more healthily. thus we shall act more commendably, more wisely and more prudently than by working in a breathless hurry, with our nerves constantly overstrung, to the destruction of the most precious treasures of life, a peaceful mind and good health. Be more prudent, consider yourself first, let everything else be only of secondary importance to you; and should they venture to assert that you are in honour bound to do more than is good for your mental and physical powers, even then do not, for God’s sake, allow yourself to be driven to do what is contrary to your own welfare. Remain deaf to the bribery of praise, remain cold and pursue your own course slowly and quietly like a wise and sensible man. To enjoy with tranquil mind and body that is what man is in the world for, and to do only as much work as will procure him the means of enjoyment-certainly not to let himself be harassed and worn out with work.
The everlasting pushing and striving of short-sighted mortals in order to gain so and so much, to secure some honour or other, to do a service to this or that great personage-this is generally fatal to our welfare, this is a common cause of young people ageing and dying before their time.
The calm cool-headed man, who lets things glide softly, attains the same object, lives more tranquilly, and healthily, and reaches a good old age; and this leisurely man sometimes lights upon a lucky idea, the fruit of serious original thought, which will give much more profitable impetus to his temporal affairs than can ever be gained by the overwrought man who can never find time to collect his thoughts.
In order to win the race, speed alone will not suffice. Strive to remain a little indifferent, to be cool and calm, then you will be what I wish you to be. You will see marvellous things; you will see how healthy you will become by following my advice. Then shall your course through your veins calmly and sedately, without effort and without heat. No horrible dreams disturb the sleep of him who lies down to rest with calm nerves, and the man who is free from care wakes in the morning without anxiety about the multifarious occupations of the day. What does he care? The happiness of life concerns him more than anything else. With fresh vigour he sets about his moderate work, and at his meals nothing, no ebullitions of blood, no cares, no solicitude of mind, hinders him from relishing what the beneficent Preserver of Life sets before him; and so one day follows another in quiet until finally advanced age brings him to the termination of a well-spent life, and he rests serenely in another world, as he has calmly lived in this one.