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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 26.djvu/751

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THE NERVOUS SYSTEM AND CONSCIOUSNESS.

it interests and fits the faculties, is a better thing for discipline than the serfdom of drudgery in a subject which excites no spontaneous response, and stirs an unwilling effort. And this is true, also, without any thought of undervaluing other branches of study. We must all admit that some minds are better fitted for one thing than for another, and that we can not do all things equally well. There is, therefore, a place for different studies so long as human abilities remain of a varied kind, and room should not be denied to any branch of learning which, apart from its "usefulness," is effective for mental discipline.

A warning, however, should be given at the outset which may save later disappointment in some cases. No one would think of becoming an accomplished chemist or geologist in one course pursued for one year; but many persons conceive that they can easily know all of political economy that is necessary for a sound judgment on passing questions in a less time than that. It is true that they can read over the statement of principles in a less time, but they can not become economists so easily. To have been trained until these principles become familiar as the alphabet requires time—time not merely for the intellectual efforts of applying the principles, but time for the mind to mature under the exertion and to digest its food slowly; since only by growth and experience does there come any development of the economic intuition, and a power to call readily upon any part of one's acquisitions for instant use at any moment. An elementary course will serve a distinct purpose as part of a liberal education for every citizen, but it will not make an economist "teres atque rotundus" at once; although honest work in a course for a year will give students no small advantage over those who have not had it. A brief course in chemistry may not enable the student to contribute at once to a new theory of heat, but it may give him a highly useful knowledge of the chemistry of every-day things. We must not, therefore, expect more from political economy than we do from other serious studies.

 

THE NERVOUS SYSTEM AND CONSCIOUSNESS.
By W. R. BENEDICT,

PROFESSOR OF PSYCHOLOGY AND LOGIC IN THE UNIVERSITY OF CINCINNATI.

IT is the design of these papers to consider some of the more recent experiments and opinions as to the relations between nerve-matter and consciousness. The subject has been much be-written; the final word, however, is not in print, or likely to make its appearance there for some time to come. This is plain enough to anatomist and physiologist, and the general reader may assure himself to the same effect by reference to the proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research.