Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 78.djvu/64

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toward the reorganization of the curriculum in our higher institutions of learning. The number and grouping of subjects in the different courses of study now generally followed in most of our schools and colleges represent the selection brought about by the natural development of an educational system in which the chief aim has been to impart information rather than to supply the means for bringing the functional capacity of each individual brain to its greatest efficiency. To those who have had experience in studying the mental phenomena of individuals, it is apparent that the great number of subjects now crowded into university courses, can only result in giving many of the students mental indigestion. This is one of the reasons why so many young men leave college or the university without, apparently at least, having gained any real intellectual pleasure from the work which they have undertaken. There is an apparent indifference to higher ideals, while the feeling of pleasure which should be associated with normal mental activity is quite lacking, as a result of the surfeiting during the school and college days. The constant effort made by the student to readjust his mental focus upon first one and then another subject dissipates energy, destroys initiative and gives rise to a certain ennui which is one of the first symptoms of fatigue.

The apparent but not real lack of originality in American students, and their inability to work out problems which require long-continued effort in one direction are referable not to any inefficiency on the part of the student, but are the result of the system of education to which they have unfortunately been subjected and that is quite lacking in discipline. The physiologist early appreciates that under the present curriculum of study in our universities so many subjects are introduced that it is only possible for an individual to acquire information in regard to the great variety of topics, but no time remains for him to be drilled in the mental discipline essential to the formation of good mental habits. Few students are ever given time, even if they have the inclination, to follow Newton's precept of thinking long upon one subject or to imitate Darwin's example of keeping a subject in mind for a number of years without ever losing sight of it. Modern education is undoubtedly defective in depriving the student of the time and the incentive to prolonged meditation, an absolute essential to great achievement.

In connection with the work of the department referred to, advice could be given in individual cases with the view of correcting functional disturbances of the mental activities, such as inattention, anomalies of the will, and other impediments to education.

The important part played by slight physical deformities in the development of the personality was clearly shown by a French throat specialist, who years ago made the interesting observation that when-