Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 10.djvu/356

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cacy of it by enforcing motives which will touch more keenly the springs of human conduct than those which they present. Now let me indicate very briefly, as must needs be, the method by which medical science is to advance to take possession of this higher ground.

Starting with the trite maxim that before we can act we must learn, it is obvious that, before we can teach men to act with more wisdom than they have done in the past, we must give them a better knowledge of their own nature and relations than they have had. This we propose to do by the patient and steadfast application of the method of observation and induction, which has served us so well in the subordinate branches of science, to the highest phenomena of man's being—his thoughts, feelings, and conduct. The problem is the same here, in fact, as in the lower sciences—to observe in order to foresee, and to foresee in order to modify and direct; and the method is the same. Admitting, as I see not how we can help doing scientifically, that a process of evolution has gone on in Nature, and that man, as he now is, is a product of the past carrying on this process in his progress to a higher purpose in the future, it is a natural conclusion that he must, as a part of Nature, be studied by the same method as the rest of Nature. We have to search back and find out how he came to be what he is by looking to the historical evolution of the race from its earliest known conditions, and by tracing in the development of the organism the operation of laws which we discover at work under less complex conditions in the rest of Nature. When we do that, we find the best reason to believe that the highest faculties of his mind, his intellect, and his moral feelings, have not been implanted ready-made in his nature at any period of its history, but have been the slowly-won results of the accumulated experiences of the race transmitted by hereditary action: that is the lesson which observation and induction, applied to the investigation of the origin and development of man's higher nature, teach with an authority which cannot be gainsaid from any standpoint of positive knowledge. I could have wished, had I had time, to have shown you how some phenomena of mental disease, which may be looked upon in this relation as instructive experiments of Nature made for us in a domain where we cannot make them for ourselves, confirm the induction which has been reached by observation of human development, both in the individual and in the race. But I must leave that unsaid, and restrict myself to the conclusion as regards conduct which results from the acknowledgment that the latest and best acquisitions of man have come to him by a process of ordinary development through the ages. For the problem of to-day is truly no longer the schoolmen's much-vexed question of the origin of evil, but the question of the origin and growth of good. Our plain duty is to find out the laws which have been at work in that process, and to continue it—to carry on, by deliberate method, with conscious purpose, the development