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knowledge of human nature. We must know the people to whom we appeal and we must vary our appeals to suit their various interests. The skillful politician works on one man's feelings through his pride, on another's through his love of independence, on another's through his avarice. Of course these appeals are often made with unworthy ends in view. It is only when the object is a worthy one that they are justifiable. Nor does that mean to say that a worthy end will justify any means whatsoever, but that the particular means contemplated here can scarcely be open to great objection. At the worst it is only taking advantage of men's faults for their own and others' good. If a man notoriously fond of ease and inaction can be roused to action by playing upon that very weakness, where is the harm? And besides that, as we have said, there are many kinds and degrees of egoistic desires that cannot be called faults.
Here is a case in point. A certain student was injuring his health by too severe mental work supplemented by too little physical exercise.
On the score of health his friends expostulated with him in vain. But when it was represented to him that if he would devote one-tenth of his time to exercise he would accomplish more and better work in the remaining nine-tenths than he could otherwise accomplish in the whole time, he was willing to make the experiment. Thus his friends effected that in which they were chiefly interested by holding forth an inducement of a very different character -- the only one that appealed to the student's self-interest as he was pleased to consider it.
That is one of the secrets of effective persuasion. Another is this. If you venture to appeal to a motive so conspicuously selfish as to be unworthy, you must either conceal the fact that you think it unworthy or else in some way ingeniously conceal the fact that you are appealing to the motive at all. But there is always the danger that ingenuity even in a good cause may descend to artifice, and though such methods are freely employed in high places they are not always to be recommended. Self-respect should be maintained at any price, and if there is no other way of effecting an object except by an appeal to base motives it may be better in the end to leave the object uneffected.
A delicate way of persuading others is to pretend to be persuading yourself. The subject “ Why do I Need Exercise?” suggests this method of procedure. In any case the address need not be direct.
be assumed and the person addressed be trusted to see the similarity between his own case and the assumed one. Fables and parables are commonly constructed on this plan. Or direct address may be deemed the most cogent. The method pursued must depend on the time, the person, the nature of the appeal. The prime requisites are tact and the ability to read character and to divine motives.
A case may
A PLEA FOR MORE GENERAL INSTRUCTION IN
If anyone doubts the importance of an acquaintance with the fundamental principles of physiology as a means to complete living, let him look around and see how many men and women he can find in middle or later life who are thoroughly well. Occa
sionally only do we meet with an example of vigorous health continued to old age ; hourly do we meet with examples of acute disorder, chronic ailment, general debility, premature decrepitude. Scarcely is there one to whom you put the question, who has not, in the course of his life, brought upon himself illnesses which a little knowledge would have saved him from. Here is a case of heart disease consequent on a rheumatic fever that followed reckless exposure.
There is a case of eyes spoiled for life by overstudy. Yesterday the account was of one whose long-enduring lameness was brought on by continuing, spite of the pain, to use a knee after it had been slightly injured. And to-day we are told of another who has had to lie by for years, because he did not know that the palpitation he suffered from resulted from overtaxed brain. Now we hear of an irremediable injury that followed some silly feat of strength ; and, again, of a constitution that has never recovered from the effects of excessive work needlessly undertaken. While on all sides we see the perpetual minor ailments which accompany feebleness. Not to dwell on the natural pain, the weariness, the gloom, the waste of time and money thus entailed, only consider how greatly ill-health hinders the discharge of all duties makes business often impossible and always more difficult; produces an irritability fatal to the right management of children ; puts the functions of citizenship out of the question, and makes amusement a bore. Is it not clear that the physical sins — partly our forefathers' and partly our own - which produce this ill-health, deduct more from complete living than anything else, and to a great extent make life a burden instead of a benefaction and a pleasure ?
To all of which add the fact that life, besides being thus immensely deteriorated, is also cut short. It is not true, as we commonly suppose, that a disorder or a disease from which we have recovered leaves us as before. No disturbance of the normal course of the functions can pass away and leave things exactly as they were. In all cases a permanent damage is done — not immediately appreciable, it may be, but still there ; and, along with other such items which Nature in her strict account-keeping never drops, will tell against us to the inevitable shortening of our days. Through the accumulations of small injuries it is that constitu
tions are commonly undermined, and break down, long before their time. And if we call to mind how far the average duration of life falls below the possible duration, we see how immense is the loss. When, to the numerous partial deductions which bad health entails, we add this great final deduction, it results that, ordinarily, more than one-half of life is thrown away.
Hence, knowledge which subserves direct self-preservation by preventing this loss of health, is of primary importance. We do not contend that possession of such knowledge would by any means wholly remedy the evil. For it is clear that in our present phase of civilization men's necessities often compel them to transgress. And it is clear further that, even in the absence of such compulsion, their inclinations would frequently lead them, spite of their knowledge, to sacrifice future good to present gratification. But we do contend that the right knowledge impressed in the right way would effect much ; and we further contend that as the laws of health must be recognized before they can be fully conformed to, the imparting of such knowledge must precede more rational living come when that may. We infer that as vigorous health and its accompanying high spirits are larger elements of happiness than any other things whatever, the teaching how to maintain them is a teaching that yields in moment to no other whatever. And, therefore, we assert that such a course of physiology as is needful for the comprehension of its general truths, and their bearings on daily conduct, is an all-essential part of a rational education.
Strange that the assertion should need making! Stranger still that it should need defending ! Yet there are not a few by whom such a proposition will be received with something approaching to derision. Men who would blush if caught saying Iphigénia instead of Iphigenia, or would resent as an insult any imputation of ignorance respecting the fabled labors of a fabled demi-god, show not the slightest shame in confessing that they do not know where the Eustachian tubes are, what are the actions of the spinal cord, what is the normal rate of pulsation, or how the lungs are inflated. While anxious that their sons should be well up in the superstitions of two thousand years ago, they care not that they should be taught anything about the structure and functions of
their own bodies nay, would even disapprove such instruction. So overwhelming is the influence of established routine ! So terribly in our education does the ornamental override the useful ! Herbert Spencer.
PERSUASION BY APPEAL TO SOCIAL DUTY.
Few if any of us live entirely to ourselves; we may not therefore live entirely for ourselves. As long as we continue to be the sociable creatures we are and take pleasure in human companionship, so long shall we recognize that there are certain duties which we owe to others in addition to the duties which we owe to ourselves. And just in proportion as any man conceives of this altruistic duty as paramount to the egoistic one is he hailed as philanthropist, public benefactor, patriot, hero, martyr. To say that the selfish ambition to shine in these roles is in all cases the leading motive is to malign human nature, to make men out more selfish than some of the lower animals. These social duties are as a rule cheerfully performed and quite as often from instinct as from training and habit. They range from the unwritten laws of courtesy that are observed in our everyday intercourse to the codes which