The power to assimilate crude inorganic matter as it is found in the soil, and convert it into living protoplasm and other organic substances, or to use such substances in performing physiological function, does not belong to the animal organism. It is the office of plant life or vegetation to convert the primary elements from their crude inorganic state into the organic state. This conversion cannot be accomplished by any synthetic process known to the laboratory. After the plant has raised the crude inorganic matter of the soil into plant protoplasm, the animal may take these and raise them to a still higher plane—that of animal protoplasm. But the animal cannot do the work of the plant. He must get his food either directly or indirectly from the plant kingdom. That is, the animal must either eat the plant or its fruits, or he must eat the animal that has eaten the plant. Food must be in the organic form. Air and water form the only exceptions to this rule.
Nature, ... in order to carry out the marvelous operations [that occur] in animals and plants has been pleased to construct their organized bodies with a very large number of machines, which are of necessity made up of extremely minute parts so shaped and situated as to form a marvelous organ, the structure and composition of which are usually invisible to the naked eye without the aid of a microscope. ... Just as Nature deserves praise and admiration for making machines so small, so too the physician who observes them to the best of his ability is worthy of praise, not blame, for he must also correct and repair these machines as well as he can every time they get out of order.
In the beginning - in the early days - they said, "We are making the world better. When we came to this place there was nothing except forest and wild animals and people who ran around naked. We have ended this. We have cut down trees and planted gardens. We have made meadows where we can raise the kind of animals we like. We have taught the naked people how to wear clothing. All this is good! And look at the other things we've done! We have dug rivers and brought water into our gardens. We have turned dry canyons into lakes. Now there is more food. Now there can be more people. Now our villages can grow large and rich!"'After a while they began to notice that the world did not seem to be a better place. Everything seemed smaller and dirtier. Everything was wearing out - the soil, the hills, the rivers and lakes. The people said, "There is nothing new in this. There have always been places where the land is thin and useless. There have always been rivers where the water is not fit to drink. There is no problem."'Things kept getting worse. Now the people said, "For everything that is gained, something must be lost. Look at what we have gained! Look at our villages full of big houses! Look at our houses full of many gifts! The forests that are gone have come back to us in gold. The rivers we cannot drink from have become jars full of bara."'Finally everything became so bad that no one could come up with anything comforting to say. Then the people said, "Change is impossible. It's already too late. Anyway, we don't really mind the way things are."' I paused. 'Those are the four kinds of lie the people told. "We are making things better." "There is no problem." "There are no real gifts." "It is too late to change.