Personal Reactions

What will decide whether a human being can resist, successfully, bad

tendencies in heredity, or in environment, or in both, and keep a

reasonably balanced mind? It demands insight, ambition, will; and if

these remain the body can be forced to saving ways of health, and body

and mind can largely make their own environment. But with heavy

handicaps of heredity or environment, or both, and poor insight, or lack

of desire,
or weak will, nothing can save the mind from neurotic taint

or worse--nothing but obedience to some one strong enough to control the

habits of that life, until self-control is born. And there is a hope

that it can be born in the most neurotic or neurasthenic, so long as

the mind is sane.

But after all, a large number of people whose mental processes are not

normal, have only themselves, their poor emotions, their lazy wills,

their hazy thinking to blame. We except what are called the heredity

insanities--dementia praecox and the other dementias and the

manic-depressive groups and paranoia and psychasthenia--for in

these cases, possibly with the exception of the manic depressives,

even the most perfect environment could probably not prevent the

disorder from asserting itself. Many neurotics, neurasthenics, and

hysterics are curable if they will seriously undertake to fulfil the

laws of physical and mental health--simple laws, but ones which demand a

strengthened will to carry out.