Philosophy of Osteopathy
Andrew Taylor Still, D.O.




    The exact time when man's foot appeared on the earth, no record shows.  A knowledge of his advent might be profitable.  The unwritten history of the human races with the genius or lack of genius, might to us be an open book of knowledge.  As it is not supposable that the mind of man has just become observingly active in the last few centuries, absolute evidence of purer and deeper reason than we have been able to present, stand recorded on the faces of many valuable "lost arts" which we have never been able to equal.  Is it not very reasonable to suppose that the powers of mind have wonderfully degenerated from some cause?


    The stock raiser carefully preserves the best and most healthy of the males and females of his flocks and herds for breeding purposes, that their off-spring might be healthy and well developed, for the purposes for which he raises them.  As a result he raises stock from the poultry house up, with marked improvement in form, strength and usefulness.  Should he be foolish enough to kill off all the healthy and well developed males as they appear in his herds of cattle and other stock, for one or two centuries, would any one with average intelligence suppose that the standard of animals would or could be kept up, by breeding from the unfortunate stock, that had been pierced through the lungs while fighting with more powerful animals.  If for breeding purposes he would save calves, colts, lambs, pigs, goats or any other young males to breed from, that had had a leg frozen off, one or both eyes plucked out, necks and ears torn by panthers, what would you think of the man's sanity?

    On this line we would ask what has been the procedure of all nations?  Has it not been to select the strong and healthy males, drive them out to the field of battle, destroy a million or more of the strongest men, as our war of the sixties shows.  Since that war closed the fathers of our children are mainly the crippled, worn out, and degenerated physical wrecks, with the assistance of the refused, who for lack of physical ability were barred from entering the United States' service.  Such physical and mental wrecks are the fathers of the children born during the last thirty years.  Every healthy young lady who married and became a mother after the early sixties, had to select a husband from a war or hereditary wreck.  From that degenerated stock of human beings our asylums are filled, and the beams of the gallows pulled down by the weight of the bodies of those mental dwarfs.  Run this train of reason back for a few hundred or thousand of years, -- this degenerating force, bearing upon the offspring, and is it a wonder that we have physical and mental wrecks all over the country?


    Now if we have been mentally degenerating, killing our best men back for a few thousand years time, and still have a few left who are fairly good reasoners, what was their mental powers then, compared with now?  They could think from native ability; we only through acquired ability by our methods of education.  Should an original thinker occasionally appear from the crippled and maimed, he will have much that is unpleasant to contend with, unless he is generous enough to credit the cause to an effect produced by the lack of mental and physical forces in the sires just described.  A man or woman who is able to reason, cannot afford to wear out his or her physical and mental forces by spending time in tiresome discussions with such blank masses, who are very fortunate to have intelligence enough to make a living under the methods that require the least mental action.

    It would not be manly nor lady like to allow a feeling of combattiveness to arise and spend your forces on such persons.  Pre-natal causes have dropped them where they are, and a philosopher knows he must submit to the conditions, and he is sorrowful in place of vengeful and vindicative, and all that is left for him to do is to trim his lamps and let the lights defend themselves.


    On this line we have much to think of.  Anciently they did think: Great minds existed then, as is evidenced by the architecture displayed in constructing temples and pyramids.  As in philosophy, chemistry, and mathematics, they stand today as living facts of their intelligence.  In some ways we are equal and even surpass the ancients.  Before the establishment of religious and political governments, national and tribal creeds, to sustain which the powerful minds and bodies of thousands and millions have been slain and their wise councils prohibited by death.  Reason says under the circumstances we must kindly make and do the best we can in our day and time.  No doubt their religion was better than ours, before they began to fight about their gods and governments.


    Some evidence crops out now and then that their methods of healing were natural and wisely applied, and crowned with good results.  As far as history speaks of the ancient healing arts they were logical, philosophical, good in results and harmless.  It is true enough that we have great systems of chemistry that are useful in the mechanical arts, but very limited in their uses in the healing arts.  In fact, a very great per cent of the gray-haired philosophers of all medical schools, unhesitatingly assert that the world would be better off without them.  These conclusions are sent forth by competent and honest investigators, who have tested all known methods and medicines, and carefully observed the results from a quarter to a half a century.  Let us call it "a trade," as the use of drugs is not a science.

    The author will now say, the health hunter in a majority of cases, when he administers drugs, gives one dose for health and nine for the dollar.

    As it becomes necessary to throw off oppressive governments, it becomes just as necessary to throw off other useless customs, without which no substitute has ever been received.


    Allopathy, a school of medicine known and fostered by all nations, drove on with its exploring teams; gave up the search, went into camp and builded temples to the god who purged, puked, perspired, opiated, drank whiskey and other stimulants; destroyed its thousands, ruined nations, established whiskey saloons, opium dens, insane asylums, naked mothers and hungry babies, and still cries aloud, and says: "Come unto me and I will give you rest.  I have opium, morphine, and whiskey by the barrel.  I am the god of all healing knowledge, and want to be so recognized by people and statute.  I do not wish to be annoyed by Eclecticism, Homoeopathy, Christian science, massage, Swedish movements, nor Osteopathy.  I do not like Osteopathy any better than I do a tiger.  It scratches me and tears away all my disciples.  I cannot destroy it.  It uses neither
opium nor whiskey, and it is impossible to catch it asleep.  It scratches us, and has scratched our power out of four states during the last twelve months, with no telling where it will scratch next time.  We must prepare for more war, I have heard from my scouts that on its flag the inscription reads thus: "No quarters for allopathy in particular and none at all for any schools of medicine farther than surgery, and war to the hilt on three-fourths of that as practiced in the present day.  The use of the knife in everything and for everything must be stopped; not by statute law, but through a higher education of the masses, which will give them more confidence in nature's ability to heal."


    It is reasonable to suppose that the mind that constructed man was fully competent to undertake and complete the being to suit the purpose for which he was designed.  After giving him physical perfection in every limb, organ, or part of his body, it is reasonable to suppose, that at that time, he gave him all the mental powers needed for all purposes during the life of his race, and with that perfection in the physical, it is supposable he approached very nearly to intellectual perfection.  He was a mathematician, not by collegiate process, but by native ability.  He did not have to take a course in a university to study chemistry, because of the fact that he was a chemist when he was born.  Possibly he could speak or understand all languages spoken by the human tongue, from the powers of his mind, which occupied a pure and healthy physique.  In a word he was well made and fully endowed with all the physical and mental forces necessary to the whole journey of his life.  Now a question arises: "When did he begin to degenerate physically and mentally?" Let us reason some on this line, which seems to be a rather solid foundation, and as history is young itself, and has imperfectly recorded only such events as have transpired during a few centuries, with records imperfectly preserved.


    We see evidences all along the journey of pre-historic man's life, though the being and his bones have been mostly obliterated; we see close to his bony remains the stone axe, the flint-dart.  We find acres of ground in many places close to mounds and caves, with countless millions of slivers that have been scaled from flints and formed to suit war purposes; while the many bones that are found in caves, heaps and piles indicate that many thou-sands fell in mortal combat then and there.  Possibly they were old in the skilled arts of war at that day.  Their great and powerful men, who should have been parents of the coming generations, were slain and destroyed and the conquered became the captives and slaves of the more powerful, with all opportunities for mental development suppressed.  Other nations and tribes willingly entered the bloody fields of battle, with nothing to report but the death of the best physically formed men, and leaving the propagation of the race or races to be kept up by those who were left behind as unqualified to go into battle, for lack of strength of either body or mind.

    This process of destroying the mentally and physically great has been kept up to the limits of our history's record.  We have to go to schools about one-half of our time in order to cultivate and stimulate our mental energies sufficiently well, that we may follow the ordinary business pursuits of life.


    Without worrying the patience of the reader any further, we will ask him if it is not reasonable that during all the past thousands of years, that men have fought over their gods and governments, has it not produced the mental dwarfage from the causes he has had to face?  Our professional men are only imitators of one another.  They must spend years in school because of a lack of native ability.  This is our condition, and we must make the best we can of it.  Most of our learned men, so-called, at the present day, stand upon heaps of mental rubbish.  You seldom see in an editor's columns any evidence of mental greatness.

    He clips, quotes and sells his wisdom.  He takes up some hobby, religious or scientific.  He lauds his own religious views; his scientific ideas he wishes embalmed for the use of future generations.  His law is the law.  His medicine is God's pills, notwithstanding he is the laughing stock of all who know him.  I want to be good to them.  I expect to be good to them, as they are suffering from the effects of pre-natal causes, thrown upon them by their ancestors for thousands of years.  By those causes they have been possibly wounded worse than I have, and I do not expect to spend any time in combats with mental dwarfs; political, religious, or scientific bigots.  If I can successfully run my boat over the riffles of time, I shall credit it to good luck, not native ability, for I, too, feel what they should, -- the deep plowings of mental dwarfage, that is the result of killing all the great and good men for ages.