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December 7, 1901


JAMA. 1901;XXXVII(23):1540. doi:10.1001/jama.1901.02470490038011

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A prominent surgeon who holds certain eccentric opinions in regard to dietetics is reported to have said that "total depravity is often nothing more than total indigestion." There is less wisdom in this statement than some might think; it is one of those utterances that catch the vulgar and is consoling to those who have good digestions, but who do not feel otherwise safe as to their salvation. Dyspepsia may make a man unpleasant in some ways; it is apt to aggravate any existing sourness of disposition, but in its more pronounced forms it has, at least, a tendency that leads its victims to appreciate the vanity of earthly things. The Frenchman's recipe for happiness—"a good stomach and a bad heart"— agrees better on the whole with the natural depravity of mankind, as we see it in daily life. If we sum up and average human villainy, we will probably

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