Popular Science Monthly/Volume 53/October 1898/Some Psychical Aspects of Muscular Exercise

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SOME PSYCHICAL ASPECTS OF MUSCULAR EXERCISE.
By LUTHER GULICK, M. D.

IN the studies that have been made in physical training in this country, the standpoint taken has been almost exclusively physiological. It is my conviction that, while physiological considerations must have a prominent place, psychical considerations will prove more definite, tangible, and important guides as to the nature of the physical training that should be given to children.

The subject under discussion is rather a new one. I have chosen, therefore, to treat one division of it at greater length than the others. A complete statement of any one of the six heads of my paper would involve extended investigations that have not yet been made. All that I hope to do now, even upon the one subject to which I shall give most space, is to indicate the importance of the problems, the directions in which solutions may be sought, their relations to physical education of children, and the kinds of material that will give us the larger notion of physical education. I shall leave till the last the discussion of the play instinct to which your chief attention is called.

1. What is the nature of muscular force? What relation does this have to psychical force? The modern view of physiology demands that we shall interpret the beginnings of every activity of the individual in terms of protoplasm. It is difficult at first sight to understand the relation between the muscle cell and the gray cell of the brain. It is not so difficult, however, when we remember that both were originally undifferentiated protoplasm, having common properties: both were able to contract, and both to co-ordinate. Gradually the one cell specialized so that this contracting function superseded and dominated all the others, while in the other case it was the co-ordinating or directing or automatic function that was given the first place. Whatever of vigor there was in the original protoplasm we find in the specialized cell of the adult body. Vigor is at bottom one thing, and we find that vigorous psychical force tends to be found in the same individuals in which vigorous physical force is found. When an undifferentiated bit of protoplasm contracts—as, for example, an amoeba—what happens? This is the simplest term of muscular contraction. All we can now say is that the mass does not change, the total volume remains constant, the ultimate particles rearrange themselves. This may be done so as to overcome resistance, and thus becomes work. That these particles should be able to arrange themselves, in opposition to mechanical force exerted upon them from the outside, indicates that there is something besides mechanical force within the cell, something besides physical force. It can hardly be regarded as mere chemical force, for in the case of many of the lower forms of even single-celled organisms there is a high degree of adaptation of means to ends, indicating psychical activity. To work out this relation of muscular to psychical force would, I think, throw light upon some of the interesting questions as to why some races are fitted to survive and others are not; as to why weak-minded individuals are so often those with flabby muscles; and as to why there is such a close connection between vigorous doing and strong willing. These matters are related not merely to the individual, but to the whole race, and, indeed, to the whole series of which the human race is but a part.

2. Of how much importance is physical exercise in the development of the brain? The modern school of psychologists tell us that from one third to one half of the brain surface has muscular functions; that this great fraction of the brain is concerned with making muscles contract, each little spot being concerned with its own muscle or group of muscles. This does not prevent these parts of the brain being also used in other ways. This we know less about. We do know, however, that it is necessary to have muscular exercise of any group of muscles, if the corresponding nerve center is to be developed. Careful examinations have been made of the brains of those who had very early lost a limb, and it has been shown that those brain centers that normally would be active in the management of the muscles of this limb were never developed. In order, then, to the full development of the whole motor area of the brain, there must be a rich and full exercise of the muscular functions of the body. Not merely must each muscle become powerful, but the faculties of co-ordination and control must be developed. These appear to be even more related to the finer organization of the nerve structure than does the exhibition of power. We are accustomed to speak of the hind brain as largely co-ordinating, the mid-brain as largely motor, and the front brain as probably inhibitory. I am inclined to think that investigation will show that not only the hind brain and the mid-brain, but the inhibitory brain as well, are related to muscular control; that the lath toward perfect control, including inhibition, is the path of perfect control of muscle, the inhibitory centers themselves are related to the control of the muscular centers, or the muscles themselves. There are some nerve centers having to do with muscular contraction that ripen without ever having the muscles concerned in active operation. For instance, the respiratory center: the newly born baby finds both his neural and muscular respiratory apparatus in perfect condition for operation. It may be that when a sufficient number of thousands of years have passed, the whole brain will be in the condition that the respiratory and a few of the other brain centers are now. Physical education then will be nil, and we shall look to physical exercise merely as a hygienic measure to insure health, all the neuro-muscular mechanisms ripening and coming into perfect function, through the inherited discipline furnished by countless generations of ancestors. In the present day, however, varied muscular exercise is an absolutely necessary element for the development of the brain, and upon the right development of the brain is dependent the large bulk of our psychical activities.

3. The subject of fatigue must interest all physical trainers. Muscular fatigue, as we usually speak of it, is our consciousness of the partial exhaustion of the motor centers of the muscles that have been worked. It is thought that we do not often experience in ordinary life genuine fatigue of the muscle cell. This is not the only form of fatigue. When certain brain centers are fatigued, we can then turn to other centers, centers concerned with the operation of other muscular groups, and operate them. When these are fatigued we can turn to still others, but, long before there comes the exhaustion of the motor elements for all the muscles, there is another fatigue that supervenes, so that muscles that have not been concerned in the activity can not be operated with either power or accuracy. I do not believe that it can be shown that this is due merely to the presence in the circulation of the fatigue stuff produced by the exhausted muscles, or other nerve centers, although this is undoubtedly an element. If we call this will fatigue, it then becomes of importance to find the point in the training of the muscular system at which the maximum benefit to the physical organism can be secured without appreciably lessening the power of the individual, as shown by his willing ability. To use a less technical illustration: I may direct my mind to mathematics until it is fatigued; I may then turn to philosophy, and then to music, and so forth, but before all the abilities of the mind have been exhausted there is the fatigue of something that is back of all this. One may call it fatigue of the attention, or of the will, or, with Marie de Manaceine, a fatigue of the consciousness.

Most of us know in a practical way that there is such a thing as fatigue of the emotions. The relationships of these forms of fatigue to neuro-muscular fatigue will give us important light upon the subject of educational gymnastics. We have one evidence that these forms of fatigue are cerebral, even if not psychical—the fact that when muscles are operated by automatic centers the amount of expenditure can be vastly increased without fatigue—but when the consciousness must come in and either enforce or inhibit or alter in any way the automatic process, fatigue is greatly accelerated.

4. Muscular exercise is definitely related to the hygiene of the brain. That part of the nervous system that has to do with the control of the circulation of blood—the vaso-motor system—has been characterized as "the hub about which organic life revolves." It is certainly true that whether in the domain of intellect, feelings, or will, alterations in the circulation of the blood in the brain as a whole or as parts, and in the circulation of the blood in the viscera, are made. Our higher faculties appear to be related, not only to the brain, but to the sympathetic nervous system, having to do with the vaso-motor apparatus. The facts have been established that it is only in connection with exercise that the whole circulatory apparatus, as well as the vaso-motor system, comes to its full development. The balanced distribution of the blood to the body is definitely related to the power and regularity of the heart, and to that vaso-motor education that comes in connection with varied muscular contraction. In this field, empirical knowledge has gone far ahead of scientific investigations.

There are, however, simpler aspects of the relation of muscular exercise to the brain hygiene. The quality of the blood is directly affected by exercise and breathing. Deep breathing is promoted by exercise. The demand for oxygen and its supply in the system are both increased by oxygen. The power of the heart, and the healthy tone of the venous system, are both related to a moderate amount of muscular exercise, and these are all largely facts in the hygiene of the brain.

5. Muscular contraction appears to be closely related to the genesis of all forms of psychic activity. Not only do the vaso-motor and muscular systems express the thinking, feeling, and willing of the individual, but the muscular apparatus itself appears to be a fundamental part of the apparatus for these psychical states. Without the muscular system, material for psychic activity can not be secured. All three of these processes—thinking, feeling, willing—are more or less remotely connected with a rehearsal in the body, both neural and muscular, of the acts by which the original material for the mental process came in. As President Hall puts it, we think in terms of muscular action, more or less remote, and all the parts that were concerned in the original activities are more or less active in the thought. Nerve currents are constantly going to muscles and coming from sense organs, all being a part of the thinking apparatus. If this is true, the fullness of the neuro-muscular experiences during early life would appear to be related to the opportunity of later psychic range. This is borne out by the fact that both in animals and in men, taken at large, the scale of intelligence corresponds to the scale of wideness of range in muscular co-ordinations. The more complicated the neuro-muscular apparatus, the higher the intelligence. It is true that in the individual life we profit mainly by our racial inheritance of all these complicated mechanisms, but even here we may expect to find that the individuals who live a rich psychic life have been, on the whole, those who during early life have had the rich and full experience in regard to muscular co-ordinations. It is not, however, merely in terms of intellect that the muscular system is important. The sensibilities, or feelings, or emotions, are definitely related both to muscular and to visceral states. We are accustomed to think of the expression of the body, particularly the expression of the face, as merely the outward manifestation of the inward state. The modern psychology, however, is telling us that this muscular contraction is a necessary part of the feeling itself, and that where the muscular expression of the feeling can be inhibited, the feeling itself is not the same. Rage is not rage until it expresses itself in muscular action of some form. It may be merely in the stiffening of the whole body, the clinching of the hands, or holding the jaws firmly together. Here, again, do we find the richness of feeling associated without exception in races with a fine development of the neuro-muscular and vaso-motor systems. This is related to muscular exercise. When we come to the regal faculty, the will, our modern psychology again tells us that will must express itself in terms of muscular activity, and that power of the will in its origin bears a relation to firmness of muscle, to power of muscular contraction.

In passing rapidly over these large subjects, I am aware that I can do nothing more than to suggest the larger outlines upon which we must work for years before securing satisfaction and final results. My immediate attempt is to put in these terms of physical training the conclusions and inferences that the modern psychology has already laid at our doors.

Your attention is particularly called to my next subject. I believe that we shall find in the play instinct a clew that shall lead us to a rational plan of physical education—a plan that will fit in as an integral part of the present-day educational movement.

6. The play instinct. By the play instinct, I mean that which prompts the young child or animal to its chief activities for the first part of its active life, as well as to those activities to which adults turn for recreation. Play is associated in the child's mind with fun, and with independent activities. The more the play is controlled and demanded of the child, the less is it play and the more is it work. It is the child's self-activity; it is the free operation of his own will or fancy; it may demand all the muscular and mental qualities of work, but it is not work so long as the child is free. The reactions of the individual vary much in free activity from what they do in enforced activity. My father used to remark upon the quick fatigue that would overtake me when laboring with a hoe, and the endurance that I had when operating with a baseball bat. This problem has been too much for most parents. The voluntary control of the will in the one case is an entirely different matter from the free play of both will and attention in the other. As soon as activities are done for profit they are no longer play, although they may be enjoyable. When an adult exercises for health, he is not playing unless there is the spontaneous enjoyment in it that is characteristic of play, and which makes it appear worth while for its own sake.

Let us ask first in regard to the facts of play. What are the plays of childhood and youth? Do they form a logical and coherent whole? Is there any orderly progression? If so, whence do they start, and to what do they lead? The facts which I shall give under these heads are drawn, first, from an observation of my own five children; second, from my own experience as a boy; third, from observation of the children of Springfield; fourth, from a study of the plays of English preparatory schools; fifth, from an examination of boys' books; sixth, reports of child study, in regard to infant activity.

For convenience, I shall divide the life of the child into periods. Hard-and-fast divisions can not be made, not only because they do not exist, but because children vary so much—some are precocious, others are slow. All that is attempted is to have years in which it is possible to recognize certain great groups of activities. In this classification, it must be remembered that each group includes all the preceding. The individual loses nothing as he grows. Everything that he has acquired remains to him as a joy and a recreation if it is in the right relations. The baby will play with sand for hours, making marks with his fingers, picking up a handful and letting it trickle out. Such simple plays as these never lose their interest. I have watched individuals sitting on the seashore playing with the sand for an hour at a time; so that when I shall attempt to define the plays of adolescents, let me not be understood as meaning that these are the only plays of adolescents, for adolescents do all that the preceding groups have done. That which I shall attempt to describe will be the plays that the adolescents have that are not found to any particular extent before adolescence, and which may thus be called characteristics of adolescence.

The divisions that I have made are: (1) Babyhood, approximately from birth to three; (2) early childhood, three to seven; (3) childhood, seven to twelve; (4) early adolescence, twelve to seventeen; (5) later adolescence, seventeen to twenty-three.

It is evident by this time that I am using the word play in a broad sense, including games, but not limited by games. I do not care to discuss the whole subject of games, but am concerned with those that involve muscular activity and co-ordination.

How do babies play? They love to rattle paper, to take hold of things, to muss paper up, to pick things up and drop them, watching the result, to roll a ball, to push and pull things around with their hands; they delight in playing with sand and dirt, and stones, and bugs, toddling after the hens; they delight to splash water, and many other such simple activities. They all seem to care for anything involving accurate muscular co-ordination.

During early childhood—three to seven—children enjoy building with blocks. At first the buildings are simple and regular—the blocks stood up in rows more or less equidistant The idea of regularity appears to be definite, but little idea of symmetry until the latter part of this period, and then I suspect that it is the copying of older children. Children enjoy swinging, are fond of climbing, will climb low trees, will climb chairs, will climb banisters, experiment with jumping from chairs, with jumping from steps. All our children have gone through a stage of wishing to cut things. The attachment for dolls comes in the latter part of this period among girls. We started with the idea that, until puberty, boys' and girls' minds were just alike except so far as they were trained differently by their parents. Wishing our children to have vigorous, robust bodies, we endeavored to have them live the kind of free life lived by boys, and gave them no dolls, but the instinct of the girl turned to dolls like a needle to the pole. There is nothing so fascinating to them as dolls. The doll life during this period is not complex. Such simple plays as "patty-cake" come soon after three, dissecting maps and such things a little later, "drop the handkerchief" later yet. The child is immensely inquisitive, and wishes to find things out. Its play is much influenced apparently by this feeling. I do not think that the destructive play of boys at this period is merely destructive; it is related to the acquisition of knowledge and the construction of other things. Children are interested in but not sympathetic with animals and bugs by Nature. They will play with flies, pulling the wings off to make them tame, and many other things, indicating a total lack of appreciation of the suffering of animals. Children before seven rarely play games spontaneously. They do so sometimes under the stimulus of older children or of adults. The same fact may be stated in regard to competition. The plays before seven are almost exclusively noncompetitive. Comparing the plays of this period with those of babyhood, I would say that they were far more constructive, far greater in range; that the muscular movements involved were larger, more powerful, more sustained, but still of much the same character. Unless influenced by adults, there is but little fine work with the fingers and wrists, not very much of delicate co-ordination. The movements are the larger movements of the trunk, shoulders, and elbows. It is a time of great activity. There is but little sitting still, or keeping still, when awake.

During what I have called later childhood—from seven to twelve in girls—we have the height of the doll plays, elaborate housekeeping arrangements. Two of our children are now in this stage. They have secured all of the broken dishes, bits of tin, and other things that can be used for housekeeping, and in old boxes, in imaginary houses, or whatever is available, are going through with these elementary housekeeping arrangements. At about ten the interest in dolls seems to wane, but taking its place there is an interest in babies. It is a common thing to see girls at this age asking to borrow neighbors' babies to wheel them round in baby-carriages, to play with them, to swing them. Every one of our babies has been borrowed by neighbors' children of about this age. Boys do not borrow our babies; it is distinctly a feminine instinct to play with babies. Boys want knives, to whittle, all sorts of plays with strings, flying kites. The ball games are played, "one old cat," an elementary baseball game, swimming and rowing. Boys delight in the use of tools during this period, and in building all sorts of things; making little streams and dams, paddle-wheels and boats, simple machinery of all kinds. Many games are now played: "duck on the rock," "black man," "blindman's buff," "crokinole," "croquet," "leapfrog"; simple feats of all kinds, turning somersaults, rolling over backward, marbles, "mumble the peg," "prisoner's base," "puss in the corner," "tiddledywinks," "touch wood." Girls play some of these games: hunt the handkerchief, many games in which the circle is used, one individual running inside or outside, hide and go seek. These games are almost exclusively individualistic and competitive, forming a strong contrast to the plays of early childhood. The distinction between girls and boys in the plays of this period is marked. Boys play games in which competition is more intense, muscular co-ordinations more accurate, and the constructive work more definite and logical.

During early adolescence—from twelve to seventeen—is preeminently the group game period: baseball, football, hare-and-hounds, hockey, lacrosse, basket-ball, all sorts of tournaments. It seems to be the age for the formation of gangs. Boys love to play Indian; they have their "pals"; play robber, and sometimes act it. The predatory instinct develops early in this period. Most boys steal apples or watermelons, or something of the kind, not because they want them, but because of an inherent demand. It is a special period for the love of outdoor life; camping out appeals to the boy strongly; to build fires. He now enjoys fishing. He is possessed with a great desire to hunt, to fight Indians, and to discover the north pole. Adventure of all kinds fascinates him. His spontaneous reading reflects these same plays. Stories of chivalry, of adventure, of discovery, fascinate him. He loves animals often—some particular dog, or cat, or horse. He favors strange pets. If he has the opportunity, he will probably have the "hen fever," or something analogous, and a garden that he will take care of with great diligence for a little while. This is a large group of plays. Two elements seem to predominate: (1) that the plays are predominantly team games, in which the individual is more or less sacrificed for the whole, in which there is obedience to a captain, in which there is co-operation among a number for a given end, in which the play has a programme and plan. The second characteristic is, the period, with reference to its place, seems to be all of savage outdoor life—hunting, fishing, stealing, fighting, hero-worship, adventure, love of animals, etc. This characterization obtains more with reference to boys than to girls. I have not studied the plays of girls for this period.

During later adolescence—seventeen to twenty-three—there is a development of these same plays and games, but they are sufficiently different, so as, I think, to warrant making a separate group of them. The plays are pushed to the limit of endurance and strength, as they are not during the earlier adolescent period; they correspond more to organized savage warfare—for instance, college football. There is a depth and intensity about it that older people can hardly realize, unless they have themselves been through it. It seems to be a real thing, and not merely a game. Wrestling, fencing, and boxing have their chief attraction during this period. The whole nervous and muscular apparatus having been fairly well constructed during later childhood and early adolescence, is now tested and knitted together with vigor and given endurance and staying power.

Comparing now the three major groups—early childhood, later childhood, and adolescence—it appears that the plays of early childhood are individualistic, noncompetitive, and for the accomplishment and observation of objective results. The plays of later childhood are individualistic, competitive, involve active muscular co-ordinations and sense judgments. The plays of adolescence are socialistic, demanding the heathen virtues of courage, endurance, self-control, bravery, loyalty, enthusiasm, and the savage occupations of hunting, fishing, swimming, rowing, sailing.

How do we account for this group of phenomena, this orderly, progressive, intense series of activities of children? There appear to be four theories: (1) That of Spencer. He says that play is the superfluous activity of the cells of the body; that it represents the expenditure of that force that is not demanded by either growth or by labor. This, it appears to me, is insufficient, because feeble, exhausted, or sick children play. Children will play often when the muscles involved are so nearly exhausted that they can hardly be made to contract, when there is evidently no superfluous energy present. This theory will not account for the definite, progressive character of the plays of childhood. (2) Professor Lazarus says that play is the aversion to idleness. The question is at once suggested, Why should we object to being idle? This, like the preceding, may be true, still it is insufficient to explain the facts. (3) Mr. Karl Gross, in an eloboratestudy of the plays of animals, advances the theory that plays are prophetic—that is, that the young rehearses the performances that it must do when full grown. He accounts for the strength of the play instinct by the fact that those animals that have played in this particular way, rehearsing the activities of adult life, have been better fitted to perform these actions during adult life, and have thus survived the others. The theory appears to me incomplete. In civilized man the plays of adolescents and children rehearse the activities of savage man, not of the adult civilized man. This theory would fail to account for the orderly progression of the plays throughout child life. It would not explain the enjoyment of the adult in play. It does not attempt to explain the reason why play is fun. The theory itself appears to be at variance with our modern thought of psychology. (4) There is a special group of plays, particularly among adults, that Professor James claims as being a development of the aesthetic feelings. They consist of ceremony, of the dance, of gorgeous rites and festivities. It is the individual's share in the collective life, as James puts it. We find these both in animals and men, but they are hardly the side of play that we are discussing. (5) Different writers on psychology, particularly James, have advanced the idea that plays are genetic. We are familiar with the thought that the body, in reaching the adult stage, must briefly rehearse the history of the race. The body starts from a single cell, and with greater or less faithfulness travels the road to adult life that the race has traveled. I do not know of any scheme of physical training that has been deliberately founded upon this conception of the genetic psychology. It appears to be not only true that the body rehearses the life of the race; it appears to be true that the mind must do so also, and that the plays of children are the rehearsal of the activities of the race during forgotten ages—not necessarily the selfsame activities, but activities involving the same bodily and mental qualities. Putting it exactly, play is the ontogenetic rehearsal of the phylogenetic series. It could not be true that our savage ancestors should have depended for their livelihood upon such a game as "one old cat," that boys play during later childhood, but it is true that their lives depended upon the quick-sense judgments, the ability to strike with rapidity and vigor, the accurate muscular co-ordinations, the spirit of individualistic competition that characterizes the child play during this period. Many of the plays of adolescence, on the other hand, certainly represent the identical occupations of our far-removed ancestors, and the play of adult life when fulfilling most perfectly the conditions of play, expresses itself in these elementary forms: hunting, fishing, sailing, swimming, mountain-climbing, and the like.

Why should there be fun in connection with play? We are accustomed to associate pleasure, partly at least, with the discharge of the highest function of which the individual is then capable. I believe that upon this ground the fun of play can be explained. It represents the deeply founded functions of the race. During play the child experiences the deep satisfaction of living through and satisfying these elemental, racial functions.

Plays are progressive, and that which is the greatest fun at one period is not the greatest fun at another, because the life itself is progressive, and, while play is interesting to adults, normally developed individuals should find their chief enjoyment not in play, but in the discharge of the higher functions of present-day living. Recreation will be found by reverting to the more perfectly organized centers that have to do with the simpler occupations of preceding generations.

How important, then, is play! I attach to it great importance, for in order to live out the fullest life it is necessary that the individual go through the life of the race; without play it is not possible to achieve full-orbed manhood and womanhood. It is an interesting fact—of which, however, I do not know any scholarly investigation having been made—that the plays of the children of any given race are related to the complexity of the life of the race—that the children in highly civilized races have a far higher play life than do those of savage life. The plays in civilized lands certainly last during a greater number of years; there is more to rehearse than there is in the savage life. Not only is the period of infancy prolonged in civilized life, but we have already crowded back into comparative youth those plays that do not come to savage children till later.

Adults who never played as children are woefully handicapped in many directions—handicapped by the inability not only for recreation, but for many of the psychical activities that enrich life. My own father played but little as a boy. During later life he tried to play, but it was work. It was pathetic to see him try to play lawn tennis. It was easier and more agreeable for him to study Sanscrit than to bat a ball over a net. His hands were never trained to all the nice adjustments involved in the use of tools. He never understood mechanical things, and this I believe was somewhat related at least to his not having, from the years of seven to twelve, the kind of plays that I have spoken of as belonging to this period.

Play during childhood and adolescence represents the form of activity that alone can secure a whole-souled later life. Play is spontaneous, whole-hearted, from inner not from outer causes. It is the poetic or creative in the individual at work. Duty can never secure the same work that play can from a child. This spirit is the true spirit for life. So long as one is driven by outside forces, by the consciousness of duty, the whole self is not engaged. But when one's work is done in the play spirit, with the enthusiasm and delight of the plays of childhood, then we have the fullest development of and product from the adult. The capacity for this appears to be related to the play life of childhood and youth. To love one's work better than any other occupation, to go into it with all the play spirit, is indeed to be a poet in one's own line. What relation do the facts of which we have been speaking bear to the physical education of children?

The development of the brain may be assisted and helped much by such manual training as is now being done in some public schools. Quick sense perceptions and rapid co-ordinations demand plays and games and places for them. The child is going through the {{hws|out-of-|centers that have to do with the simpler occupations of preceding generations.

How important, then, is playl I attach to it great importance, for in order to live out the fullest life it is necessary that the individual go through the life of the race; without play it is not possible to achieve full-orbed manhood and womanhood. It is an interesting fact—of which, however, I do not know any scholarly investigation having been made—that the plays of the children of any given race are related to the complexity of the life of the race—that the children in highly civilized races have a far higher play life than do those of savage life. The plays in civilized lands certainly last during a greater number of years; there is more to rehearse than there is in the savage life. Not only is the period of infancy prolonged in civilized life, but we have already crowded back into comparative youth those plays that do not come to savage children till later.

Adults who never played as children are woefully handicapped in many directions—handicapped by the inability not only for recreation, but for many of the psychical activities that enrich life. My own father played but little as a boy. During later life he tried to play, but it was work. It was pathetic to see him try to play lawn tennis. It was easier and more agreeable for him to study Sanscrit than to bat a ball over a net. His hands were never trained to all the nice adjustments involved in the use of tools. He never understood mechanical things, and this I believe was somewhat related at least to his not having, from the years of seven to twelve, the kind of plays that I have spoken of as belonging to this period.

Play during childhood and adolescence represents the form of activity that alone can secure a whole-souled later life. Play is spontaneous, whole-hearted, from inner not from outer causes. It is the poetic or creative in the individual at work. Duty can never secure the same work that play can from a child. This spirit is the true spirit for life. So long as one is driven by outside forces, by the consciousness of duty, the whole self is not engaged. But when one's work is done in the play spirit, with the enthusiasm and delight of the plays of childhood, then we have the fullest development of and product from the adult. The capacity for this appears to be related to the play life of childhood and youth. To love one's work better than any other occupation, to go into it with all the play spirit, is indeed to be a poet in one's own line. What relation do the facts of which we have been speaking bear to the physical education of children?

The development of the brain may be assisted and helped much by such manual training as is now being done in some public schools. Quick sense perceptions and rapid co-ordinations demand plays and games and places for them. The child is going through the out-of-door stages of the race. The sedentary life does not call for the development of muscle, heart, lungs, bones, viscera, and brain. This must come to the individual as they come to the race. The rational system of public-school physical training will provide not only for the physical development that comes through formal gymnastics, but it will put in the foreground the development of the play instinct. We shall see that the right of natural order is adhered to in the gradual unfolding of the individual in its plays and games.

With speech and writing we have means of perpetuating and communicating knowledge that enables the race to progress far faster than was possible when each achievement was won only when it became incorporated into the neural structure of the race. With the increasing sum of knowledge that seems necessary for the adult, it is becoming increasingly difficult properly to fit the youth for life. We must crowd the studies back into earlier and earlier years. This education we may call organic. I plead for the old organic education, somatic development. This superorganic education is of no avail unless the individual has those inheritances from the race that fit him to live. Muscular activity and play form the fundamental basis of the psychical nature; and yet both of these we seem to be trying to crowd out. Our beautiful cities are growing up without playgrounds, and yet there is nothing in all the world more dear to us than the wholesome development of our children. We demand that children shall sit still in school; this seems necessary, but it would be quite possible to secure all the results of the superorganic education, and to have at the same time children who have their right and full development, through play and muscular training.

It seems to me that this matter of play is related to the deeper problems not only of education and psychology, but to religion and sociology as well. Our schools may train the intellect, but the great bulk of the training of the will and feelings, both of which are higher than the intellect, receive their chief development through play.

Muscular activity may not be so important for adults, but it is fundamental in youth and childhood. Civilization—city life—is taking away both muscular work and play.

What will America do for her children? How much are wholesome, wholly developed children worth?

 


 
A French ecclesiastic recently, in one of his sermons, told what he said was an authentic story of Le Verrier, that when one of his friends, congratulating him after the discovery of Neptune, remarked, "You are very near the stars, my dear friend," "I hope," replied Le Verrier, "to get farther than that; I expect to go to heaven." Le Verrier was an earnest Christian and profoundly spiritually minded. He is said to have had a large crucifix placed in the instrument room of the observatory.