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What are the chief objections to deliberate contra. ception? Dean Fremantle says that rather than artificial restriction he would see continued the struggles of parents with large families, from which he says, '8 large part of the moral greatness of our people has resulted. We doubt very much this theory that the
' moral fibre was engendered by this struggle ; and against the achievements of those who succeed have to be weighed the misery and hopelessness to which many noble women have been reduced by too rapid succession of births. Dean Inge thinks that high-minded married people should avoid preventives except as a last resource in the failure of self-restraint. It will be disastrous indeed if we settle down into materialistic or farmyard views of marriage and having children, or if we imagine that we can substitute mechanical for moral control without serious loss, but it is foolish to expect the supernatural from ordinary mankind. It is well known that great restraint and great conjugal temperance may soon be followed by too many babies—too many for their health and the mother's too.
Prof. Pembrey, a distinguished physiologist, regards birth control as a degenerate evasion of a virile struggle for existence, but suggests that it may be a blessing in disguise by assisting in the elimination of the types who practise it, 'types in whom physiological processes are inadequately balanced.' But it appears to us that it will be very difficult to prove the lack of balance in most of those who practise birth control. They have had as many children as they can hope to care for well; they have had as many children as the mother's health, in the widest sense, will stand.
In fairness, however, we wish to quote a paragraph from Prof. Pembrey, for the difficulty of the problem must be admitted. We would preface what he says with the note that those who advocate methods of birth control,' because they see no other way out, are not advocating more than a restriction of parentage. Prof. Pembrey writes:
"The modern crusade of birth control," supported though it be by some biologists, is not based on biological principles or the theory of evolution. It involves the view that the environment is more potent than the stock; it ignores the
value of the struggle for existence and the survival of the fit. It is no evidence of self-control, sacrifice, and a yearning for the higher life, but a desire for luxury and a loss of belief in the capacity of the offspring. Its practice degrades woman both physically and morally, for the production and rearing of children will always be the biological test of her womanhood and her greatest service to the state.'
Our answer is that even with great conjugal restraint there is often too rapid child-bearing; that this tends to lower health and happiness, and to intensify the struggle for existence beyond the limit of useful sifting. Prof. Pembrey speaks of motives, and one recognises the danger that contraceptives may be used to evade the consequences of self-indulgence and free love, but it is a gross error to suppose that the motives behind the control of births are necessarily selfish.
Our view is that a diminished birth-rate, within limits of safety, tends to improve the health of children and mothers, and may tend to substitute quality for quantity. Better forty millions healthy and vigorous and joyous, than sixty millions riddled with bad health, weakness, and depression. There may be a price to pay for diminishing the birth-rate, but it may have its reward in making life less anxious, more secure, and with greater possibilities of fineness. We need not be afraid of lack of opportunities for struggle, but the hope is of lifting the struggle away from a scramble around the platter of subsistence. Perhaps birth control will make earlier marriages more feasible; perhaps it will still further increase the independence of women and their opportunities, beyond maternity, for self-expression; perhaps it will work against war, which is partly due to expansive population.
Perhaps the objections to birth control, which we have tried to state fairly, are stronger than we think; perhaps the price to be paid is heavier than we realise ; our point is simply that large families in rapid succession are productive of much bad health and misery, and we see no way out save in such birth control as medical experts will not disapprove of. At the same time we are sure that if we lose the chivalry and tenderness of lovers, the joyousness of the springtime of the heart, the adventurousness of early marriage, and the delight in having children while we are young enough to sympathise with them, we are missing the most fragrant flowers of life.
The seventh, and it must be the last, suggestion of the biologist trespasses on the field of psychology, for it concerns education. But it is with biological education that we are concerned ; and perhaps the most powerful of all levers is here. There are two points of great importance. The first is that increased urbanisation and pre-occupation with mechanism
remove the school children more and more from experiences of Animate Nature and from biological ideas. Nature-study is doing wonders, with the current against it, but its necessity is not sufficiently recognised. Necessity we say, for the advancement of health is in part dependent on having some understanding and appreciation of growing and developing, of varying and habit-forming, of the beauty and ecstasy of life. Much as we may dislike it, there is no escaping the nemesis of being too much taken up with chemistry and physics-wonderlands as they are. There is nothing that can replace biological experience and biological ideas. It is the lack of them that partly accounts for the apathy of many minds to the ideal of health; it is the lack of them that partly accounts for false ideas of wealth and success, and for false methods which forget that things organic cannot be manufactured, but must grow. One always welcomes a statesman or an administrator who knows about the country and loves it.
The biologist's second note on education will probably excite more disapproval. Considered biologically, education is the control of nurture so as to induce the best possible development of hereditary nature, meaning by best' that which makes most definitely for the kind of life that is a satisfaction in itself. Education is the endeavour to shorten the individual's recapitulation of racial evolution, and the endeavour to help the individual to utilise the extra-organismal social heritage, that is to say, all that is registered in literature, art, institutions, and stored knowledge.
It is generally admitted that education seeks to develop the personality partly by feeding the mind and partly by mental gymnastics, the two methods often
overlapping. Thus arithmetic is an excellent brainstretcher, but it is not much of a mental food. History, properly taught, is good food; but it is not a suitable gymnastic for young minds. Now, leaving aside the problem of mental gymnastics, our question is : What is the most profitable, the most indispensable, kind of mental equipment? What are the essential furnishings of the mind, if we mean by furnishings not static pieces of information, but idea-seeds that develop roots and shoots, leaves and flowers and fruit? What kinds of living knowledge are most essential? The sad answer is : those that are most conspicuously absent in the youth leaving school to-day. Our educational endeavours form the most colossal instance of misdirected wellintentioned energy in the world. Our son asks us for bread, and at great cost to ourselves and to him we coerce him into accepting a stone-of varied texture, but never nutritive. Our son asks us for a fish (nature study, of course), and we press upon him a serpent, like premature chemistry; he asks us for an egg (history, for instance), and with a heroic gesture we direct his attention to a scorpion (such as grammar). No doubt all this is passing. Our point is that the quicker it passes the healthier we shall be.
Pupils leaving school should be interested in the world without, both animate and inanimate; they should be able and willing to make short excursions-metaphorical and literal-by themselves. They should have open sesames' to treasure-caves and keys to treasurerooms, and the curiosity to use them. They should be familiar with some good examples, showing how new knowledge has been gained, and how the search for clearness has brought new control over things and life; they should be aware of the general meaning of a Law of Nature—a uniformity of sequence that can be relied on, in which no wishes of man can produce a shadow of turning; and they should have a sense of joyous wonder. To speak thus, you say, is like a child crying for the moon, but that is not so, for all we look for in the case of the less promising material is that their face should be set in the right direction. As things are, we attempt too much and miss the whole. We enforce premature and often insincere analysis, and we kill interest. Vol. 246.-No. 487.
In the second place, the pupils leaving school should have, what they almost never have, some vision of human history in the widest sense. They should have familiarity with the more obvious' significance of say a score of the greatest events or changes in the historical evolution of mankind. These should have possessed the mind dramatically, through school pageant, tableau, and celebration; and every momentous change should be associated with picturesque personalities and with correlated treasures of literature and art. Every school should have an illumined chart showing the most eventful milestones, but the milestones will be books as well as battles, creations as well as conquests, discoveries as well as dynasties.
But along with some knowledge of the way in which twenty great men and twenty great events and twenty great ideas have counted in human history, there should be a growing awareness that many of the waves—as from Egypt and Athens, Jerusalem and Rome-reached this town or parish, and left their marks there, and that the distant past lives on in our midst. The very stones cry out; there is something to be got from a regional survey which the study of world-history cannot give. The twofold corollary is that the pupils should have the conviction that if they are to understand the present they must know more about the past, and the realisation that history is always a-making, and that they are themselves either swimmers or drifters in the stream. It is also plain that real, as contrasted with regal, history will involve a reasonable amount of human geography, which is the other eye of history.
It is essential, then, that the youth should have some interest in and understanding of the Order of Nature, and secondly, some appreciation of human evolution and its achievements. What is the third essential ? To
. some the answer here suggested will appear a bathos; yet what can the answer be but this—a vivid knowledge of the elementary conditions of health and happiness, using both these words in a broad organismal sense, including psychical just as much as physical aspects. It will also include something between the two-some sensory education; and just as there should be in every school an emblazoned historical chart and some good