Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 78.djvu/74

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and physiology, when he suggested that physicians and not philosophers should be considered to be authorities upon educational subjects.

Thinking and behavior are phenomena dependent upon the existence of a brain and nervous system. The greatest advance in our educational system will begin when the universities require that those who assume to speak with the voice of authority upon these two important topics, shall have as thorough a knowledge as can now be obtained of the functions of the organ the development of which has alone placed us on a higher plane than that attained by our remote ancestors, the anthropoid apes. If we are sincere and earnest in our solicitations as to the hastening of the millennium where wisdom and culture shall be a common possession, let us see to it that every opportunity and encouragement is extended by the universities for the study of the methods of developing the delicate mechanism and fine balance of mind expressed in the mental qualities indicative of culture and learning. It is safe to predict that in the near future those universities will be considered the most advanced and those nations the most intelligent where the greatest encouragement is given to the study of the organ on the functional efficiency of which the advance of the human race towards a higher civilization depends. Anatole France has said the periods in which little intelligent interest has been taken in the study of the structure of the human body have corresponded with the ebbs in the advancing tide of civilization. It is no exaggeration to affirm that to-day the measure of our civilization is to be estimated by the effort made to gain a clearer and more comprehensive knowledge of the brain and its functions, with the purpose of maintaining the thinking-power of the race at its point of maximum efficiency.

The first duty of a university, we are told, is to engage in active warfare with ignorance. Over the portals of many an American institution is carved the figure of the eagle as symbolic of the spirit of the attacking forces. In too many instances, however, conditions would be better symbolized by another bird which closes its eyes to its enemies and buries its head in the sands of the deserts.

If the brain is the only organ to be used effectively in the fight against the foul fiend of ignorance, it is not creditable to American universities that they have thus far given so little attention to the proper study of the weapons to be used.