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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/130

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

vidual sustains to it, as shall at least tend to give a right purpose and direction to the individual life. "The world is very evil," is a pious utterance; but it is equally pious for each of us to ask how much of evil is lurking in ourselves. We conceive of a scientific education in the full sense as one which, while it imparts true ideas in regard to the physical history of the globe and the chemical elements that compose it, aims no less at unfolding the true constitution of society, the springs of human action, the strength and weakness of human character, the possibilities of good and evil that reside in every individual, the misery that waits on wrongdoing, and the happiness that flows from just and pure deeds. There is a way, we are persuaded, of presenting the world of humanity to the minds of the young which would tend to create in most—in the vast majority—a strong desire to take a helpful part in the work of their age and generation, and not to concentrate all their efforts on the business of self-advancement. It is merely a question of seeing the facts in a broadly human, which is after all the only true, light.

Let us have in education literature and analytical studies and science with its grand constructions and sanifying discipline—all the useful elements—but let the true goal of education be kept ever in view, which is, not to enable this individual or that to shoot to a preeminence over his fellows, but to place the individual in right relations with his fellows, to give to each a career of useful activity, and to prevent that dreary disappointment with life and all its works which overtakes so many in their declining years. Life has its burdens, but it is not vanity; and the normal action of human beings on one another should be to give to each separate existence a higher value and deeper sources of happiness.

 

 

A DOUBTFUL APPENDIX TO SCIENCE.

It was perhaps to be expected that Sir William Crookes, as president of the British Association, would, whatever else he touched upon in his presidential address, say something in regard to the special views which have now for many years been associated with his name. In point of fact he did do so. Beginning with a survey of the world's resources in the matter of wheat production, and an inquiry as to how the fertility of the soil may in future be kept up, he passed to the constitution of matter and molecular action as illustrated by the phenomena of Röntgen rays, and finally referred to "experiments tending to show that, outside our scientific knowledge, there exists a force exercised by intelligence differing from the ordinary intelligence common to mortals." These experiments were made, we are told, more than thirty years ago. It does not appear that any substantial or indubitable addition has been made to the evidence which these experiments afforded, or were supposed to afford; but Professor Crookes "thinks" he can "see a little further now." "I have glimpses," he says, "of something like coherence among the strange, elusive phenomena." That undoubtedly is a good thing to get glimpses of; but there is perhaps room for question whether the extreme interest of the professor in the "strange elusive phenomena" has not led him to make a little more of the "glimpses" than strict scientific method would warrant.

It is really only necessary to read the concluding portion of Professor Crookes's address to see that he is dealing not with science but with crude imaginations. He says that