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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 78

Mind and Body

Mind and Body.

The discussions that have recently taken place with regard to physical degeneration, the feeding of school-children, medical inspection, and the like have brought to the front, and impressed upon the public mind, views that to many are startlingly fresh. For thirty years we have tried to educate the mind while neglecting the body. As a nation we are only just growing out of the shackles of the Puritas teaching that looked upon the body as a vessel of clay the proper care of which was unworthy of a seriously-minded man. We now know and the knowledge is slowly permeating the people, that the same blood nourishes muscle and brain alike; we know that in the average man the development of moral character and of intellectual power needs a body fitly nourished and warmly clothed. We are not prepared to argue that the State should directly concern itself with feeding and clothing except by the dissemination of know ledge; though in the long run such an expenditure would probably prove to be less than we pay now for lunatic asylums, prisons, homes, and hospitals of al sorts. But we are inclined to blame the medical profession in the past for keeping too jealously to itself the secrets of good health. Knowledge as to the laws of health had to be sought in long, forbidding, technical treatises, or else in the writings of quacks, whose conclusions were rightly looked upon with suspicion. But of recent years the doctors have realised their duties a citizens. The most eminent of the profession—Sir Lauder Brunton, Sir Thoma Barlow, and Sir Crichton Browne—have taken the lead in organising congresse of hygiene and arousing educators to a sense of their physical responsibilities. They have even induced the Head-masters' Conference to appoint a special committee.