Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 41.djvu/752

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mately, unless there are considerable interruptions, the individual or the family is stamped out, as is every individual or family which pursues a too restricted, too artificial, or too one-sided career.



WHEN any great truth begins to receive public recognition it is always first welcomed by the credulous and visionary enthusiast, who surrounds it with the most extravagant expectations. This brings out the charlatan and empiric who studies to turn all such facts and conditions to his own personal profit. In this way the credulity of the one and the charlatanism of the other envelop the truth with a confusion and mystery that often conceal it for a long time. Only the student and the scientist realize that behind this glamour and illusion there is a uniform evolutionary movement along different lines from that suggested to the popular mind.

The growth of truth may be compared to that of plants—first seen in the seed, then the stalk, the shrub, and finally the tree, always following a distinct and fixed line of march through separate periods and stages. The first stage is that of indifference, neglect, and denial. Then follows the credulous period, in which the truth is partially recognized and accepted, with extravagant conceptions, associated with wild empirical efforts to incorporate it into practical life. Finally, the truth is fully understood, studied, and accepted, and becomes a part of the world's great possessions. This is the natural history of every new fact of science and every new discovery concerning the evolution of humanity. Often these stages extend over long periods of time and are unrecognized except by a few persons; or they follow each other rapidly, but always along the same lines.

The dawning truth that the drink evil is a disease, and curable as other diseases are, has passed the first period of neglect, indifference, and denial, and has come to the second stage of partial recognition and acceptance. The same army of the credulous, the enthusiasts, and marvel-hunters are welcoming this fact, and the same wild expectations of its practical possibilities fill the air. This is followed by the same old charlatanism and empiric efforts to make personal profit out of these truths by the use of the same old quackish means and methods.

These efforts are prominent by the same assumption of superior knowledge of discovery of new facts, of new remedies, and new methods, all of which are concealed. Then follow claims of