Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

Truth, and Ahriman denounced as the Liar and father of lying from the beginning. Their course of training would make our "coming race" better, nobler and more robust. "There are many things," says Xenophon, "which bear witness to the spare diet used among the Persians, and the carrying of it off by exercise; for it is even yet regarded by them as unbecoming to be seen either to spit, or blow the nose, or any such matter. Then things could not possibly be so, unless, they used a very temperate diet, and spent the moisture by exercise, making it pass from the body in some other way."

I would also extend the privileges, rights and benefits of mental and physical culture to girls. I am seriously of opinion that our boys and girls are unlike from diversity in training, rather than from anything in nature. Granted that I am extreme in this sentiment, it is a least certain that there is much actual truth in it. A sickly girl is a reproach to human nature. In the order of the universe, in the harmony of creation, in vital energy, and the power of endurance which transcends the more extraordinary physical efforts at which males excel, in the length of life itself, the female of every race is superior to the other sex. It is a fact, therefore, that she needs as much exercise and variety of motion, and should be as noisy and uproarious. The animal tribes enjoy this divine permission and are vigorous because of it; but human beings are subjected to conventionalities which are against nature, and accordingly they so often set aside the imperative conditions of robust health, and a useful and happy career in life.

Little can be said wisely in favor of walking, gymnastics, or any other form of exertion which is employed for the mere sake of physical exercise. It is a tedious, wearisome, torturous imposition, having little in it of wholesome occupation. There should be a collateral impulse, something enjoyable of itself, to make these things means of proper physical culture. Nature does her best work by the agency of inclination. The love of play should have its rightful place at the front. Children generally thrive best under what we would somewhat paradoxically term a salutary, watchful neglect. Away with.

cramped, artificial manners, that one may breathe freely and profoundly, move unfettered, and enjoy without stint. Let a laugh, a shout, and a romp be fashionable and be accounted proper and becoming. The world may not be comprised in a ground-plat, or an oak planted in a flower-pot.

Tha training and education of children during the formative period will be very certain to continue their influence and effects all through mature life. The most active and successful religious propagandists boast that if they can have the child during the first ten years, they are certain of him for life. The tale of John Inglesant was evidently written to illustrate this. What little I have learned from death-beds certainly appears to warrant this assertion. The old remember their childhood longest, and often repeat in their conduct, thoughts and sentiments what they were at that time in life. The adult period, with its experiences and ambitions, has frequently seemed to disguise the real individual rather than to change him radically.

The course of training, and especially the educational curriculum, should correspond with the arrangement of their mental organism and faculties, and the process of development. It is the period of life in which to become familiar with external facts, to comprehend their relations and to establish habits. It is, therefore, the duty of the educator to direct all endeavors in accordance with these facts. It will readily be perceived to be the natural order, and that training, instruction, and the unfolding of the powers, thus go on simultaneously and in harmony. As the senses are prior in evolution and function, their manifestations of pleasure and pain, love and dislike, first demand attention. Close upon them is the development of the understanding, the "geometric faculty" as the ancients have denominated it, which has the twofold office of shaping the course of the emotional nature and of acting upon its observations, so as to form the habit of generalisation. It determines the conditions of separate facts which have come within the apprehension, and then classifies them by the synthetic process. All scientific education as distinguished from philosophic, is included within these operations.

I have little partiality or even patience with the common methods of our modern primary and secondary schools. They often seem to me to impart but the mere effigy of learning. They are to a superlative degree a warfare against common sense. It is not a very high attainment to be able to spell and pronounce correctly, or even to compute numbers and read books. The learned pig can put letters together into words, and a cat will reckon up the number of her kittens. This sort of cramming, which makes the pupil the mimetic reproduction of teachers, is an evil which cannot be denounced too strongly. Academic instruction is no material improvement, but an extension of the pernicious methods. Routine attendance at a professional college, and closed-door examinations, written, not oral, conclude the curriculum, in which the fees seem to constitute the chief concern. Medical schools are no better, but frequently worse in these respects than the literary or scientific institutions. It is persistence in these methods which has emasculated the American mind, subordinating American thought, American scientific knowledge, and American opinion to European masters, and which is now steadily extinguishing the old American enthusiasm for freedom, and making our people the dupes and underlings of politicians and the men in power. The men who achieved American independence were not so taught or trained. To this day English writers treat us as half-taught provincials, and the publishers of a Cyclopædia now in press in Edinburgh and most largely sold in the United States, magisterially exclude due mention of invention, discovery and scientific views originating here.

The aim of fitness should inspire our methods. There is one law in this matter in regard to sex, instruction and employment. Justice is the doing of the work which one is fitted to do, doing it as it should be done, and abstaining from that for which one is not fitted. The educational curriculum, therefore, should correspond with the faculties and their order of development. Study in due moderation is in every way beneficial, and will render most pupils scholarly; but excess is very sure to overpower and discourage them. Many of the

dull children in the school-room were not such naturally, but were made so by the inaptitude produced from unsuitable lessons and the resulting paralysis of the ambition to excel. Sagacious teachers have not unfrequently made good scholars of youths that had been thus mistreated. The girl as well as the boy should be cared for. It is the right, the province, the duty of each alike to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and so to become as gods in stable intelligence and true liberty of action. Plutarch, in the treatise which has been cited, has given the following summary as to the result of proper culture: "To worship the gods, to honor our parents, to yield due respect to older persons, to be submissive to the laws, to obey our governors, to use sobriety toward our wives, to be affectionate to our children, and not to treat servants and inferiors with insolence; and, more than these, not to be overjoyed in prosperity, nor too much dejected in adversity, not to be disorderly in pleasures, nor transported with brutish rage and fury when angry."

The real merit of early culture, mental and physical, consists in the rightness of the end and the sagacity with which it is promoted. In this category I accept the postulates of a recent author, "that a consequence of the violation of the natural law produced by ignorance of the law, is the state of society exhibited in the dividual category; that death before old age is abnormal; that sickness and disease are abnormal, and so are all the social inconveniences arising from wrong opinions, vicious habits and dishonest and criminal acts of whatever nature." The sickly and the vicious are alike blotches on the surface of society.

It should be the aim and endeavor of the educator, the physician and the publicist, in whatever capacity, to eliminate all such abnormalties. It is for such an end, to put a stop to what is wrong, and to establish permanently that which is as it should be, that the early tutorage and discipline of the young should be most careful, most diligent and efficient. Hygiene and lessons should go hand in hand. The entire system of faculties should be exercised, so that the body be whole and pure, and the mind in perfect integrity.

SUSPENDED ANIMATION AND DEATH;

THE MEANS WHEREBY WE MAY DISTINGUISH BETWEEN THEM. By ROBERT A. REID, M. D., Boston, Mass.

A few months since a clergyman, a warm personal friend, made a rather unusual request of me. His daughter had died a few days before, after a lingering and painful illness, dating back to an attack of acute rheumatism complicated with endocarditis, and resulting in a badly-damaged heart. The mother, herself a delicate person, and worn by constant and untiring devotion to the sick one, had spoken of persons being buried before life was extinct; and in order that there might be no possibility of such painful doubts being entertained afterward, he asked me to come and open the brachial artery.

Within a year there died a wealthy stock-broker of this city. In his will, made sixteen years before, he bequeathed a considerable sum of money to his physician, on condition that he sever his-the testator's-head from the body before burial. This however was not done, inasmuch as the will was not read till after the body had been interred.

These two instances but illustrate the wide-spread fear that exists, of being buried alive. The recorded cases, incontestably proved where the living have been buried are not very many in this country; and yet, beyond doubt, more or less such cases occur. In Europe, however, especially in those countries where the law requires speedy interment after death, many, very many, have been noted. Two have come within my own knowledge. The first occurred some years since in the vicinity of my old home. A man died, as was supposed, and was buried. After a time the widow, intending to return to her father's home, caused the body to be exhumed for removal. On opening the coffin the horrible fact was revealed that the unfortunate man had revived, and turning his head had gnawed and lacerated his right shoulder, indicating the horror and torture of his situation. In the second case a lady of wealth was buried with a valuable diamond upon her finger. The following night the sexton, lured by the costly jewel,

« ForrigeFortsæt »