As we have observed above [Nota de rodapé 2: Pp. 447, 448], the agreeable sensations that accompany the exercise of a function of the body are parts of the economy of the life-process. Satisfaction incidental to eating and drinking is a factor in the order of nature that insures well-fed and well-toned bodies. The most intimate question concerned when we ask whether our dinner shall include caviar, and terrapin, and paté de foie gras, and champagne, is (the cost item being disregarded in our illustration): Will these things build up our bodies? Assuming that an article of food or drink has nutritive value, directly or indirectly, the questions primarily concerned are, first, as to the relative food-value of this and other material, and, second, as to the quantity of the material in question that will best promote the vital processes. What we shall eat and drink, and how much of it, is primarily a question of physiology. If arsenic is the substance that my body needs at the present moment, it is good for me to swallow arsenic. If there are any pleasurable sensations connected with consumption of arsenic under those conditions, I should enjoy them to the limit, and thank God for them. (Small 1905:698)
There may be occasions when the best conduct discoverable is use of alcohol, or arsenic, or morphine, or chloral. It is temperance, physiologically measured, to use the means at a given time demanded by the real interests of the body. An ethical code that grants plenary indulgence for use of ice-water, and decrees absolute excommunication of alcohol, is as superstitious at one extreme as at the other. The use of either means is a question of circumstances. (Small 1905:699)
SMALL, Albion. 1905. General Sociology. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.