Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 24.djvu/813

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weakly, as the lower animals commonly, but not universally, treat the sick and weakly of their own kind.[1]

There is, however, another view of this question which should not be overlooked. While human beings in civilized countries manifest, and always have manifested, more or less sympathy with the physically afflicted, their steadfast aim has been to get rid of physical evil in all its forms. No care that is taken of the sick has for its object the perpetuation of sickness, but rather its extirpation. We do not put idiots to death; but when an idiot dies there is a general feeling of relief that so imperfect an existence has come to an end. Were idiots permitted to marry, the sense of decency of the whole community would be outraged. Public opinion blames those who marry knowing that there is some serious taint in their blood; and commends, on the other hand, those who abstain from, or defer, marriage on that account. There is probably room for a further development of sentiment in this direction. We need to feel more strongly that all maladies and ailments are in their nature preventable, inasmuch as they all flow from definite physical antecedents. As long as our views on this subject are tinged in the smallest degree with supernaturalism, so long will our efforts to track disease to its lair and breeding-grounds be but half-hearted. How can we venture to check abruptly, or at all, the course of a sickness sent expressly for our chastisement? Is it for us to say when the rod has been sufficiently applied? How do we dare to fortify ourselves in advance against disease, as if to prevent the Almighty from dealing with us according to our deserts? We vaccinate for small-pox, we drain for malaria, we cleanse and purify for cholera, we ventilate and disinfect, we diet and we exercise—and all for what? Precisely to avoid the paternal chastenings which we have been taught are so good for us, and the origin of which has always been attributed by faith to the Divine pleasure. Evidently our views are undergoing a change. We all wish to be fit to survive, and all more or less believe that it is in our power to be so and to help others to be so. We believe in sanitary science, and, if we attribute any purpose in the matter to the Divine mind, it is that all men should come to the knowledge of the truth, as revealed by a study of Nature, and live.

By E. F. BRUSH, M. D.

UNTIL the beginning of this nineteenth century, the mind was considered as a unit. Early in the century, Gall, a distinguished German physician, noted the fact that those students whose super-

  1. See Romanes, "Animal Intelligence," pp. 471, 475, as to the sympathy exhibited by the monkey tribe toward their sick.
  2. Read at a meeting of the Mount Vernon Athenaeum, January 24, 1883.