Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 19.djvu/643

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
625
MODERN BASIS OF LIFE INSURANCE.

wrote like the Shemites, from the light toward the shadow, and consequently from left to right? If I insist so much on the primitive sanctity of the action of writing, it must not be forgotten that a close connection exists, even in our day, between the great religious domains and the method of writing. Buddhism, with all the Oriental religions of Asia which have preceded or followed it, writes from the top down; Islamism, the real continuation of Shemitism, writes from right to left; and Christianity, the emigrant product of Shemitism, which has left its father to settle among the Aryans, is scattering writing from left to right over nearly the whole world. Each of the three great religious groups has, then, a direction of writing peculiar to it.

I am far from meaning to pretend that all the questions are solved, and that the series of proofs I have presented is continuous. If I publish the results so far obtained, it is to excite interest and awaken discussion. But it seems to me to follow, from what I have said, that the direction of writing, the order of the letters and the lines, are in no way the forced consequence of a physiological cause, of a particular structure of the brain. I believe that I have proved, on the other hand, that the order of writing was primarily dictated by exterior causes, which, in many cases, may have wholly disappeared, but the result of which has been retained by habit and hereditary transmission. Our organization permits us to write with equal facility from the top down, from right to left, from left to right; no physiological condition has compelled us to choose a particular direction. If we select a determined order and drop the others, it is because we have learned to do so from our ancestors; and this order has been imposed on our ancestors in consequence of different external circumstances.

 
Rule Segment - Span - 40px.svg Rule Segment - Span - 40px.svg Rule Segment - Flare Left - 12px.svg Rule Segment - Span - 5px.svg Rule Segment - Circle - 6px.svg Rule Segment - Span - 5px.svg Rule Segment - Flare Right - 12px.svg Rule Segment - Span - 40px.svg Rule Segment - Span - 40px.svg

MODERN BASIS OF LIFE INSURANCE.
By THEODORE WEHLE.

WITH the year 1839 a new phase is reached in the first effort to tabulate the actual experience of insurance companies. Heretofore the average life of towns had furnished the data for mortality tables; now a table was to be deduced from observations of insured lives. Seventeen leading offices appointed a committee, to whom copies of their records were to be intrusted, which, owing to jealousies, were not as perfect as desirable. In 1843, after years of labor, a table was published, now known as "Actuaries' Experience Table No. 1." It was based on 18,282 policies, of which 7,372 had been discontinued, 4,786 had terminated by death, and 6,124 were still in force. The average duration of the policies under observation was eight and a half years,