Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 20.djvu/118

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minds only too ready to take refuge in any excuse for inactivity. If the private asylums of the country were searched for the victims of "overwork," they would nearly all he found to have fallen a prey to "worry," or to that degeneracy which results from lack of purpose in life and steady employment. This is a grave assertion, but it points to an evil it is especially needful to expose. Weak minds drift into dementia with wondrous celerity when they are not carried forward to some goal, it matters little what, by the impulse of a strong motive. The bugbear of "overwork" is, it may be feared, deterring parents and friends from enforcing the need of sedulous industry on the young. The pernicious system of "cram" slays its thousands, because uneducated, undeveloped, inelastic intellects are burdened and strained with information adroitly deposited in the memory, as an expert valet packs a portmanteau, with the articles likely to be first wanted on the top. Desultory occupation, mere play with objects of which the true interest is not appreciated, ruins a still larger number; while worry, that bane of brain-work and mental energy, counts its victims by tens of thousands, a holocaust of minds sacrificed to the demon of discord, the foe of happiness, of morality, of success. The enemy takes many shapes and assumes bewildering disguises. Sometimes he comes in like a flood, hurrying everything before him; with heaps of work to be done in less than adequate time. Now the victim is hurried from task to task with a celerity fatal to sanity. Then he is chained like a galley-slave to some uncongenial labor without respite. Again, a buzz of distracting and irritating mental annoyances seem let loose to distress and distract him. Under each and all of these guises it is worry that molests, and, unless he be rescued, will ruin him. Meanwhile, the miseries of "overwork," pure and simple, are few and comparatively insignificant. Those who bewail their infliction most loudly are weak of mind or torpid of brain. Of such lame and maimed mortals we are not now thinking. Their lot may be humiliating or pitiable, as their condition is due to neglect or misfortune; but our concern is with the multitude of strong and able-minded workers who fail at their task. These are the victims not of overwork but of worry, a foe more treacherous and merciless than all besides. The mind-cure for the malady to which "worry" gives rise, and from which so many suffer, is not idleness, or "rest," in the ordinary sense of that term, but orderly and persistent work. The work by which they have been injured has not been excessive, but bad of its kind and badly done. The palsied faculties must be strengthened and incited to healthy nutrition by new activity, at first, perhaps, administered in the form of passive mental movement, and then induced by appropriate stimuli applied to the mind.—Nineteenth Century.