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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 70.djvu/145

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stood in the streets of Los Angeles, each to take his turn in buying its town lots. And the people who bought these lots were guided in one way or another by what they termed their 'common sense.' The sense of great wealth was in the air, and even the wisest were carried away by it. 'The millionaire of a day' takes the breath of his brother millionaires.

"At Denver not long ago a man insisted that he had the gift of healing. A wild hermit from the plains; some called him crazy and some called him a prophet. But the gift he had, or seemed to have, and thousands of sick people and well crowded around him to be touched and healed. He could not touch them all so he blessed their handkerchiefs, and his power passed over to them. Men and women whose ills gallons of patent medicines had failed to assuage were healed at once by these pieces of soiled cloth. And testimonials such as they had once written for these same patent medicines, they now freely wrote for him.

"But, after all, is there such a thing as disease? Surely man 'made in the image of God' is made in the image of perfection, and what is perfect can not be marred or destroyed. May not disease be the greatest of illusions? May not all pain be a nightmare dream from which we should escape if we were once awakened?

"Many a school of healing has been based in one way or another on these propositions. In a hundred different ways at a hundred different times men and women have found that they could heal pain by the suggestion that pain does not exist. If pain is disease, then shall we not heal all diseases in this way? But some say that pain is not a disease, only a warning that disease is present or coming. Pain is the signal that something is going wrong in the mechanism of the human body. The signal may be unnoticed it is claimed. We then feel no pain but the injury remains, for it is the cause of the pain and not the pain itself. By persistently turning the mind away from these signals of distress sent up by the bodily organs, we may come at last to be incapable of receiving them. We are then free from pain, and our minds may be filled with a sweet serenity very satisfactory to ourselves. Now, which of these is true? Are we ill when we feel pain, well when we do not? Or do we feel pain because we are ill and does the illness pass when our feeling is gone? May it not be true that this is a dangerous and selfish serenity? If it does not mean the checking of disease, but only the closing of our eyes to its ravages, then have we really gained anything? To turn from pain is to turn from all outside impressions. To close the mind to the information given by the senses is to destroy reality, to make activity impossible, to cease to do our duty in the world. This is to cease to grow and to become a burden to our friends and a cumberer of society. There is nothing more