Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 60.djvu/431

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WORK AND REST: GENIUS AND STUPIDITY.

out a like periodicity. Throughout European history especially there can be traced waves of activity and inactivity traversing every avenue of human thought and expression. For the race, as well as for the individual, the ‘magnum opus’ is performed in the ‘minimum tempus’—a year is often more than a century.

We have now considered in the life of the animal, the child, the woman, the genius, the criminal, the savage, the race, the theory that brief periods of work at the highest possible tension alternating with longer periods of rest or changed activity represent the best working conditions and have found not a little evidence to support it in every quarter. The experience of other than mere professional athletes, the methods of animal trainers, the results of half-time schools, the progressive reduction of the hours of labor for working-men and shop-employees will furnish many more data of the same kind. It has been argued that two hours physical labor per diem would suffice, were the product economically distributed, to keep the whole world well supplied, so great has been the advance in labor-saving machinery, methods of transportation, etc. Is it altogether unreasonable to suppose that two hours intellectual work, under right conditions and with economic distribution of the product, would suffice to keep the whole world supplied here also? Two hours of every one's best would be something worth achieving, physically and intellectually. An end something like this is the ideal to which things are bound to tend. Some poet of the future may be able to sing: 'Better the New World hour than the long European day.' The racial nervousness of the American people, non-pathological in reality, is perhaps the groundwork for this achievement.