Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 19.djvu/571

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

in motion of contents of obstructed capillaries, and a general rise of all physical operations to the normal degree. Congestion is as certainly removed as water from a sponge under pressure of the hand.

Among these intermediate effects of transmitted energy, the most certain and striking in a therapeutic view are oxidation and what I will venture to call functional revulsion. The evidences of immediate and very great increase of oxidation in the living body superinduced by mechanical vibration are abundant and indisputable. The effect is, that the toxic principles incident to retained waste, in which the suffering nerves are bathed, are destroyed, certainly and quickly.

Functional revulsion is no less positive, and may be understood in this way. Like

normal feeling, pain is entirely dependent for its existence on nutritive support; in fact, is more dependent. Such support during pain is, of course, excessive. To abolish pain, nothing more is required than to withdraw its support.

Now, the muscular masses entering into the composition of the body are, say, forty times that of the nervous masses; the latter are normally the incentives of the former to action, and therefore to nutrition. When nutritive action is incited in the combined mass, as it certainly is by mechanical vibration, it follows that the muscular portion receives the benefit overwhelmingly, both because of its immensely greater mass, and because it is involuntary. The function of the nerves, therefore pain, is suspended.

George II. Taylor, M.D.




HE who said that the key to the government of mankind is given in the three words "hell and bayonets," made a compact formula for that system of external coercion by which human conduct in past times has been chiefly regulated. Men have been ruled, through their fears and by intimidation, the state threatening the penalties of this world, and the Church those of the next, to enforce conformity to the prescribed standards of right conduct.

And there must be external compulsion, if there is no other. Men have to be dealt with according to their natures, and where these are low and brutalized they must be coerced by coarse and brutal methods. But social experience slowly develops the better traits of character, so that men become amenable to the influence of higher motives. In what we call the progress of society, external constraint gradually gives way and men learn more and more to govern themselves. Evolution here as elsewhere is by substitution. The progress of human freedom consists not in escape from restraint, but in the exchange of lower for higher restraints—in the replacement of state-control by self-control.

Unquestionably this is the most fundamental and important change that is going on in society. It is the highest aspect of human progress. It is the growth of the voluntary system, at the expense of the involuntary or compulsory. It is the development of man-kind by discipline in the self-regulation of conduct. The transformation of men in this way is a great reality, and gives origin to whatever there is of free or liberal government in the world. All the humanizing influences by which men are ameliorated and improved take final effect in their liberation from external governing forces, so that they become responsible, self-determining agents, and in that sense free and independent.

How educational systems have been and are still related to this great tendency is a very interesting question. It can not be denied that they have had some share in promoting it, but their influence on the whole must be counted as powerfully adverse to it. In fact, school government has been generally modeled on the conception of monarchical government: the teacher has been