Heredity





When we consider the accumulated possibilities for disorder which the

family tree of almost any one of us can show, the wonder is not that

there are so many nervous or insane, but rather that any come within

hailing distance of the normal. For multitudes are born of parents whose

bodies were food poisoned or alcohol or drug poisoned, and whose nervous

systems were tense and irritable, oversensitive, and suffering from the

effect of these same toxins on the brain. Others are of manic-depressive

parentage; some are possibly even of paranoic or dementia praecox

lineage; while many of our finest and best had psychopathic or

neuropathic heredity. Syphilis, itself, and the underpower bodies of

tuberculosis are heritages of many.



When we realize, too, that we are born with certain inherent tendencies

of temperament, which are too often of the melancholic or overcholeric

type, our wonder grows that we are not doomed to defeat at birth. Were

it not for the possibilities in the germ-plasm of choosing the much of

good also in our heredity, often enough to overbalance the bad, and for

the proved power of environment and training to modify or even

altogether overcome the harmful parts of our birthright, there would be

little hope for many.





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