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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/660

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

being: to which he should seek to raise him. In the address to which reference has already been made, Professor Huxley says: "A scorner of physic once said that Nature and disease may be compared to two men fighting, the doctor to a blind man with a club who strikes into the mêlée, sometimes hitting the disease and sometimes hitting Nature. The matter is not mended if you suppose the blind man's hearing to be so acute that he can register every stage of the struggle, and pretty clearly predict how it will end. He had better not meddle at all till his eyes are opened." This predicament of the blind man is probably not unfamiliar to every doctor, for at best human skill and knowledge often reach their limit before the disease does, but certainly every physician should be ready to exert himself to the full extent of his power to open his eyes as far as possible, to be as little blind and as seldom as may be. And as a blind man may be able to prevent a conflict which, once begun, he can not control, so the doctor may have sufficient knowledge to prevent disease which he can not heal. He may often be more certain of his position as a preventer than as a healer of sickness.

Although man stands at the head of creation, it does not necessarily follow that he has reached his highest possible position. It seems entirely reasonable to believe that a more thorough dissemination of sanitary knowledge and its more complete application in common, every-day life would develop a race of men longer-lived, more vigorous, happier, and better than any yet seen. It may be too late to do very much with this generation, but may there not be hope for the next, and the next after that? What might not a few, generations of right living, right feeling, right thinking men do for the race? Here, then, are opportunities within the grasp of the physician of the future such as await no one else—opportunities for useful, helpful work such as never before inspired the mind or stirred the heart of the professional student; such a privilege of effectually aiding in the advancement of the human race, of making it nobler and better.

Such opportunities well used must bring upon those to whom they are given a glorious benediction.

It should not escape the notice of the physician that this golden future will not inevitably be his to whom by right it belongs. By right, if he seizes it and holds it; but, if he does not, it must slip from him, as it should. Already many of the leaders in sanitary movements are not from among medical men. These, many of them, fail to appreciate their privilege; they do not see what is before them, but are so busily engaged in search of some pill or potion which may or which may not cure some disease, that they can not see the treasure which lies just within reach. The whole work of medicine is important, and the search after remedies should not be abandoned as useless, neither should it take the place of greater and more important labors. It is a noble thing to give time and strength to the discovery of means