Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 23.djvu/118

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cise of the whole system, I may glance at the lessons to be gathered from the experience of exploring expeditions in unhealthy countries. The first to succumb are porters, guides, muleteers, private soldiers and sailors, etc. Next come military and naval officers, while the doctor, the botanist, the geologist, etc., hold out to the last, their sole advantage being a more thorough exercise of the whole system, muscle and brain alike.

Dr. Beard gives another reason for the longevity of the clergy—their comparative freedom from anxiety. This is the critical point to decide whether brain-work shall be healthful or harmful. Let a man work knowing that his livelihood is secure—that it is indifferent whether he completes any given task this month or this time six months—and no amount of study will harm him. But tell him that he must complete some task by a given date under penalty of dismissal, or that his prospects in life depend on his passing an examination better than a score of competitors, and the probability is that his studies will bring on softening of the brain, heart-diseases, or perhaps Bright's disease.

Dr. Beard formally admits that "worry is the one great shortener of life under civilization, and, of all forms of worry, financial is the most frequent and the most distressing." Hence the differences between his views and mine are very much smoothed over, and we must take in a "Pickwickian sense" his declaration elsewhere that "brainwork is the highest of all antidotes to worry."

He brings forward yet another reason for the longevity of clergymen "their superior temperance and morality." That such superiority, if it exists, will have an influence in favor of health and long life, I readily admit. But it is very doubtful whether they are in this respect superior to other brain-workers. In the career of the scientist mutinous passions are simply crowded out. For him the struggles with temptation, of which the ethicists tell us, have simply no existence. How it may be among those brain-workers who move in a more emotional sphere, I can not presume to say.

Dr. Beard's contention that the brain-worker is, as a class, happier than the muscle-worker, is very questionable. He asks: "Where is the hod-carrier that finds joy in going up and down a ladder; and, from the foundation of the world until now, how many have been known to persevere in ditch-digging or sewer-laying, or in any mechanical or manual calling whatsoever, after the attainment of independence?" Such persons, I think, might be found. Many of these manual occupations would, as far as I can judge, seem happier than a life spent at the merchant's desk or at the exchange. If the man of business "continues to work in his special calling long after the necessity has ceased," it is because he has been trained to believe that accumulation of wealth is the whole duty of man. "Nearly all the money of the world," says Dr. Beard, "is in the hands of brain-workers." This may be true; yet, at the same time, many of the hardest and most capable brain--