Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 24.djvu/226

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than others. The rejection of a natural cause is unfortunate, because it is one form of the belief that an imagined relation is objective. It is assuming that an event will necessarily conform to a prophecy made entirely without reasonable data. George Eliot pointed out this absence of reason by saying, in effect, that some people are surprised at the presence of an evil which they have done everything to produce, and at the absence of a wished-for result which they have done nothing to attain.


THERE are a good many reasons why physicians should have opinions about the education of youth rather different from those held by most of the public and of the professional educators. Their whole art is founded on the study of the human being—his beginning, his development, his course, his decay, and his death. All his structures and all his functions are carefully inquired into. A doctor must nowadays be a physiologist, and a physiologist includes the mental as well as the bodily functions of man in his range of inquiry. In fact, it is one of the peculiarities of the physiological mode of studying human nature that man is looked on as a whole—body and mind together—a unity, in which they can not be studied apart from each other. Then the practical aims of modern medicine, founded on this enlarged study of man, are getting to be more and more concentrated on measures for the prevention of diseases, and not merely for their cure. To prevent disease one must control the conditions of life. Especially in youth, when the human being is most amenable to influences for good and evil that affect the whole future life, must one regulate the conditions of life, if health is to be preserved. The doctor finds that health means far more than a good digestion. It means a conscious sense of well-being all over, contentment, power of work, capacity to resist evil influences, and, to some extent, good morality. It means a sound mind in a sound body. The process and the method of education undoubtedly influence health strongly. If the educator has damaged the health, the doctor is expected to put it right. An important part of the physician's duty is to study the sum-total of a man's hereditary tendencies, and his bodily weak or strong points, what is commonly called his constitution. He finds that education in many of its modern forms may be either a most helpful or a most dangerous process to many constitutions. In fact, the modern physician is rather

  1. Lecture delivered at the Philosophical Institution of Edinburgh, November, 1882.