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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 57.djvu/482

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

torical experience of the race, that the inherent rational tendencies develop into established logical habits and principles of belief. For many this development remains stunted or arrested; and they continue as children of a larger growth, leaning much on others, rarely venturing abroad alone and wisely confining their excursions to familiar ground. When they unfortunately become possessed with the desire to travel, their lack of appreciation of the sights which their journeys bring before them gives to their reports the same degree of reliability and value as attaches to the much ridiculed comments of the philistine nouveaux riches.

For these sufficient reasons it is Utopian to look forward to the day when the occult shall have disappeared, and the lion and the lamb shall feed and grow strong on the same nourishment. Doubtless new forms and phases of the occult will arise to take the place of the old as their popularity declines; and the world will be the more interesting and more characteristically a human dwelling-place for containing all sorts and conditions of minds. None the less it is the plain duty and privilege of each generation to utilize every opportunity to dispel error and superstition, and to oppose the dissemination of irrational beliefs. It is particularly the obligation of the torch-bearers of science to illuminate the path of progress and to transmit the light to their successors with undiminished power and brilliancy; this flame must burn both as a beacon-light to guide the wayfarer along the highways of advance and as a warning against the will-of-the-wisps that shine seductively in the bye-ways. The safest and most efficient antidote to the spread of the pernicious tendencies inherent in the occult lies in the cultivation of a wholesome and whole-souled interest in the genuine and profitable problems of nature and of life, and in the cultivation with it of a steadfast adherence to common sense and to a true logical perspective of the significance and value of things. These qualities, fortunately for our forefathers, are not the prerogative of the modern; and, fortunately for posterity, are likely to remain characteristic of the scientific and antagonistic to the occult.