Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Good Air

It is most strange that persons who spend the day in the open air are likely to bottle themselves up at night. I suppose that the fear of fresh air is in part expressive of our general philosophy of life, whereby we unconsciously carry the idea that man is in warfare with nature. We shut our doors to nature. Our windows are small and cramped, as if we only grudgingly let in the out-of-doors. Before we knew the nature of contagious disease, it was very natural that we should consider the atmosphere to be responsible for all kinds of insidious enemies. Disease was supposed to be due to some effluence or miasma, and we shut our doors to it. Now that we are able to distinguish the effects of air from mosquitoes, flies, and germs, we should begin to discriminate in our habits. The best civilization will come when we put ourselves in sympathetic attitude toward nature, rather than when we antagonize it; and we shall learn what things are noxious and take means to avoid them. The spread of tuberculosis in northern regions in former time was due not so much to the fact that winters were cold as to the battening up of doors and windows. Sometime we shall learn how to warm our houses and at the same time supply them with clean air. - L.H. Bailey, The Training of Farmers, 1909
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