메인 American Journal of Psychiatry The Gospel according to Darwin. By Woods Hutchinhson, A. M., M. D. The Open Court...
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1899] BOOK REVIEWS schools for nurses and for students of medicine. and useful. 543 It is clear, practical The Gospel according to Darwin. By WOODS HUrciuNsoN, A. M., M. D. The Open Court Publishing Company, Chicago, 5898. It is safe to say that a man’s view of the value of life is determined more by his temperament than his formal beliefs. Dr. Hutchinson’s mood is expressed in the closing words of his first chapter: “Life is a brave, red-blooded, warm-hearted, joyous thing, which needs no sickly phantasmic ‘after-world’ to render it worth the living.” Approaching the subject in this frame of mind, it is not surprising that he finds glad tidings of great joy in what has seemed to many a message of utter despair. He sees, in the doctrine of evolution, all and more, in motives for right living, in grounds of happiness in the present and of hope for the future, than was given in the old beliefs which, in his mind, it has superseded. That pain and distress,bodily and mental, have, to an immense extent, been the motive power in the progress of the race, the necessary conditions of all that is most admirable in the physical, mental and moral world; that it is the struggle to escape from pain and evil, rather than patient submission to it, which makes for man’s welfare; that joy and happiness are goods in themselves to be honestly sought and accepted without misgiving; that man’s natural appetites, passions and propensities all have their uses, and are to be indulged in their proper time and place; that morality is the natural and necessary expression of man’s nature, and that the natural tendencies to good are, in the long run, stronger than those to evil; that death has been a most potent factor in progress, and, when it comes by disease, is,at the last,neither dreaded nor painful; all these are important and cheering truths, which Dr. Hutchinson tells in a style which sometimes rises to eloquence, sometimes verges perilously on flippancy, but is always forcible. Especially noteworthy is the chapter in wh; ich the author shows that, contrary to the charge often made against the evolutionary theory, that the selfishand cruel would be the fittestto survive, in fact,affection, sympathy and mutual helpfulness have been the most potent factors in human progress and the sources of tribal and national strength. We will quote only one passage out of many which are worthy of it: “No one sees more of the sorrowful side of lifethan the family physician. And yet no one will more unhesitatingly affirm that in ninetynine cases out of a hundred, even after the most terrible destruction of limbs, of senses, of usefulness, after the crushing bereavement of those dearer than life itself, in a brief period the balance of life adjusts itself again in favor of, first tolerability, then of joy. Not that the beam rises to the same angle as before, by any means, though it does this in a surprisingly large proportion, but that it does reach the level and a little more. No man who faces the situation bravely and works hard and honestly at the task which lies within hi powers need fear permanent unhappiness.” 544 BOOK REVIEWS On the other hand, Dr. Hutchinson temperament. He does not exaggerate survival of of the case the fittest, that the but it would extermination [Jan. shows the hardly be of the unfit some of the defects of his benefits derived from the gathered is apt from his to be, both statement to them and to all whose sympathies are very sensitive,a painful process. There are multitudes to whom life is not and can never be made what he has described it, and to whom the feeling that they are only fit to be “swept as rubbish to the void” will bring scant consolation. Although he admits that vices are only virtues out of place, he falls into the mistake of supposing that the virtues to which he is most prone are more virtuous and their contrary chapter vices more to enforcing says that cowardice vicious than others. He the statement that courage is the only unpardonable devotes an entire is the chief virtue, and sin, both in the sense of favoring survival. As a matter of fact,cowardice is no more mischievous than foolhardiness, and its allied virtue, caution, is as important as courage. He has a chapter on “The Benefits of Over-population,” in which he falls foul of the Malthusian theory in the most savage manner-rather an ungrateful proceeding in a disciple of Darwin, of whose doctrine it is one of the prime foundations. prosperity accompanying He instances England as an example of density of population. He might as well have taken the city of London as his example. Cut off England from the supplies obtained from more sparsely populated regions and her population would be starving in a month. Another illustrationis still worse for his view of the case: “The intrinsic value to the race of the noble horse is far greater than that of the cow or sheep, and although no check is ever placed on his increase by slaughter, we have no fear of being ‘over-populated’ by him or of his becoming a drug in the market, and why should we of his infinitelynobler, more perfect, and more useful brother man.” The reason there is no equine over-population is that the Maithusian measure of limitation of reproduction is applied to the horse with more rigor than to any other of our domestic animals. Modern facilitiesof transportation enable manufacturing centres to support a much larger population than they can feed, but if one really wants great to study every the short benefits of harvest over-population eliminates he the unfit should to survive strongly to look by to the India, where hundred thou- sand. It would be putting has never a good dently considers are to be admitted valor,” And he would yet nothing the too say that probably can be repudiate more certain with than all the this alone Dr. Hutchinson that he eviif they part of energy of his nature. it is to his superiority over the brutes. Even man owes his pre-eminence in war, courage without judgment is about as useless possibly be. It was not due to superior valor that our that of Spain with less casualties than those of a football Kitchener’s Egyptians slaughtered the dervishes by the almost perfect safety. in that matter word to say for prudence and forethought, but them to rank rather low in the scale of virtues, as such at all. That “discretion is the better as anything navy season, ten can annihilated or that thousand in 1899] BOOK 545 REVIEWS In fact, judging from what seems to us the exaggerated estimate which the author puts upon fighting as the highest and noblest of all possible pleasures, we are inclined to wonder if he does not feel out of his element in saving rather than destroying life, in healing, instead of inflicting wounds and broken bones. We can hardly wish him opportunity to gratify his tastes to the full in this respect, but if he can retain the overflowing vitality which is manifested in every page of his book, he will be likely to have far more than the average share of enjoyment, even if he is obliged to put up with tamer pleasures. We suspect it may be precisely those who stand most in need of cheer who will derive least encouragement from Dr. Hutchinson’s book. “The whole need not a physician, but they that are sick,” and the many who, as a matter of fact, find life only tolerable, as well as the smaller number to whom its pains outweigh its pleasures, may be inclined to react against a mood so unlike their own. The strength of Christianity in all ages has lain largely in the hopes it holds out to those who are destitute of happiness and hope in this life. The Gospel according to Darwin contains no such message tidings: “Come unto will give you rest.” The Mental WILLIAM intendent Children. This book as was brought me, all ye that long ago by another bearer of good labor and are heavy laden, and I Affections of Children-Idiocy, Imbecility and Insanity. By W. IRELAND, M. D., Edinburgh, formerly Medical Superof the Scottish Institution for the Education of Imbecile J. and A. Churchill, London, i8g8. is, to a large extent, according to the author’s statement, a of his former work on Idiocy and Imbecility. Additions reproduction bave been made treating of the Development of the Brain in Childhood, the Pathology in Genetous and Paralytic Idiocy, Sclerotic and Syphilitic Idiocy, and the Insanity of Children. The recent literature of the subject has evidently been studied, and its results incorporated in the present work, which is, we think, valuable more as a summary of what is at present known on the subject than on account of any striking additions made to our knowledge by the author. In treating of the causes of idiocy, in which, as the generic term, he includes imbecility, Dr. Ireland, although laying is disposed to consider the tuberculous diathesis, much weight on heredity, of which we do not hear so much as formerly, the most important of all. He quotes Dr. Seguin as attributing the increase of idiocy in New York to the assumption by women of the anxieties pertaining to both sexes. He accepts fright to the mother during pregnancy as a cause. Notwithstanding the multiplicity of stories supposed to show the influence of maternal impressions on the bodily and mental characteristics of the foetus, it is as difficult to frame any rational hypothesis as to their modus operandi in such cases before as after birth, and there will probably always be many who will be sceptical on this point. The classification adopted 34 is founded on etiological grounds. The