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those whose inheritance is one of insanity. The primary object of all education should be to symmetrically develop all portions of the system, and thus to fit them for the most perfect exercise of their several functions. In this process no rule can be devised which will be applicable to all cases alike. There will be exceptions, and none of more importance than those of persons now under consideration. A sound arm or leg may be made more strong by such active and oftentimes vigorous exercise as would ruin a weak or unsound one, and the exercise of such activities would only serve to develop and bring to light the weakness of such organ if it exist. In the same manner the strain of the brain incident to the race for an education in the public schools, with thirty or forty other pupils in the same class, all of whom are endeavoring to understand and absorb a multitude of dry facts and constructive propositions, is almost sure to develop any latent tendency which may exist in the brain into something more than a tendency. Such a brain, therefore, requires special attention in its training, rather than such as is necessarily incident to a large public school.
Again, bearing in mind that in many of these cases the evolution of energy in the motor centres greatly exceeds that in the inhibitory centres, which leads to inordinate and aimless expenditures of nerve force, education should be directed toward training the hands and arms in the execution of particular and definite movements. For this purpose nothing is better than lessons in drawing and learning some handicraft. This may be confined at first to the drawing of simple lines, then of geometrical figures, and later may be advanced to the construction of small articles and regular work. In other words, the system of education should be industrial—a learning of how to do and make things, rather
than how to remember facts. Education should also relate chiefly to the phenomena of an external world, such as is presented in natural history and science, and can be observed, rather than learned from books. The powers of observation rather than those of retention require special instruction and exercise.
After all, there is much danger that in many of these cases there will be little systematic education, either general, individual, or industrial, except such as unfavorable experiences afford. The child fails to learn as other children learn; he dislikes and fights against the restriction and discipline sought to be enforced, and the parent is inclinednay, too often is forced to give up the idea of an education in school, and the child is left to run riot. It, therefore, becomes of the first importance that the will of the child be supplemented by that of others until the age of eighteen or twenty years, and that the psychical centres be educated, as far as they can be educated at all, mainly through the discipline of the motor centres, in the regular performance of some form of light manual labor.
Old Age-Characteristics of —Evolution No Longer Keeps Pace with Involu
tion—Ætiology-Physiological and Pathological Changes in Brain and Nervous System-Diminution of Functional Activity-Vascular Changes
– Nerve cells— Mental Symptoms-Impairment of Perception-Excitement-Loss of Memory—Ilusions-Depression - Physical SymptomsThree Varieties-Senile Dementia-Senile Mania--Senile MelancholiaCases Ilustrative-Suicidal Tendencies— Treatment-Should Such Cases be Removed to an Asylum?— Testamentary Capacity.
Old Age.-Age is a relative matter and not a question merely of the number of years one may have lived. While some persons become old at fifty or sixty, others are active and vigorous at sixty-five or seventy. The periods of youth and middle age are associated in our minds with activity and enterprise; old age with quiet and rest; the one with anticipation, expectancy, confidence; the other with retrospection, doubt, and a tendency to believe that the former days were far better than the present. In middle
. life the mind displays its largest activity, greatest endurance, and soundest judgment. Yet there exist all degrees of activity and endurance even in this period. Some people seem to have been born old, and never to become young
Their movements, both mental and physical, are moderate, and they go through life at a snail's pace. The cell batteries connected with motor and mental activities generate force lazily, and soon become exhausted. Race, heredity, and environment have much influence in this, as in all other respects, in determining characteristics; the slow Turk and Asiatic repeat themselves and grow old slowly. But in the midst of the modern requirements of living, necessity often proves a severe master, and drives with both whip and spur, while the length of time occupied in expending the unit of vital force depends upon the rate of speed kept up. The child sent on the street at five or six years of age, to hawk about matches, pins, or newspapers until ten o'clock at night, day after day, half fed, and poorly clad, will pretty surely become old while yet young, unless he dies too soon for this to take place.
Old age means that the process of evolution no longer keeps pace with the opposite process of involution. There exists a period in life when the two counterbalance each other, and the system moves on, maintaining its own, and capable of large expenditures of nervous energy in many directions. In old age this adjustment no longer continues; but, on the contrary, there exists a diminution of all the forces of the system, and it gravitates earthward. Generally the brain is the last organ in the system to participate in this downward course. As in youth it is the last to mature and become strong, and its highest faculties are the latest in development, so in the period of decline, it generally exhibits failure later than other organs, except from the effects of adventitious disease. When, however, the process of degeneration begins, those faculties which are the highest and last to develop are generally the first to fail. Imagination, and its outcome, expectancy, in a large degree cease to exist, and the individual tends toward a life in the retrospect and introspect, and he again lives over the years long since past.
Spontaneity in inception and purpose no longer exists. Habits which are the outgrowth of the observation and experiences of past life determine the course of action, more than influences which arise from present experiences. The emotions and aspirations toward something higher and larger in the relations of life, which may have produced a determining motive toward courses of conduct, are now no longer present.
Not unfrequently the individual himself is the last to discover and appreciate his own weakness and the oncoming of decay. He still clings to the belief that he can endure and execute as in the past, and any suggestions to the contrary encounter incredulity and quick opposition. Self-confidence, irritability, and eccentricities of all kinds tend to increase as ability diminishes. The brain becomes less capable of protracted application and sooner gives evidence of exhaustion. It requires longer and more frequent periods of repose and sleep. The individual inclines to hold with a strong grasp to the traditions and associations of the past, and when he has been largely absorbed in the accumulation of property, not infrequently degenerates into the true miser, and runs his little round of daily activity in counting over his much or little of the results of life's work. Such seems to be the natural order in the course of old age, and may exist without the individual being regarded as either insane or technically demented. But a stage arrives in the lives of many when they move on into conditions further advanced, and which must be regarded as resulting from true pathological changes in the brain.
Ætiology.-At first thought we might conclude that insanity is less likely to occur in old age than during the younger period of life, and this is doubtless true in relation to some forms of disease. What may be termed the