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Fruit, are but a few of them.

We ask for no small boon when we pray
for " the kindly fruits of the earth, so that
we may enjoy them." Moreover, it may even
be possible that " there are many new joys
unknown to man, and which he will find
along the splendid path of civilisation." l

It is our own fault if we do not enjoy lue.
" All men," says Ruskin, " may enjoy, though
few can achieve."

One of the greatest talismans in the Ara-
bian Nights is the Magic Carpet, on which if
a man sat, he was transported wherever he
wished to be. Railways do this now for all

1 Mantegazza in Ideals of Life.



iv RECREATION 73

of us, and " as we increase the range of what
we see, we increase the richness of what we
can imagine." *

Again, I should rank a good talk very
high among the pleasures of existence. It is
an admirable tonic, food both for mind and
body. Herrick vividly acknowledges his debt
to Ben Jonson, and describes their suppers

"When we such clusters had
As made us nobly wild, not mad ;
And yet, each verse of thine
Outdid the meat, outdid the frolic wine."

When Johnson wished to describe a pleas-
ant evening, Sir, he said, " We had a good
talk." And I have often found an hour with
Darwin or Lyell, Kingsley or Ruskin, Hooker
or Tyndall, as invigorating as a draught of
fresh air.

There are few gifts in which men differ
more than in the Art of Conversation. I
have known very clever men, men, too,
who could be made most interesting, but
from whom nothing was to be expected unless
it were absolutely extracted from them. A

1 Ruskin.



74 THE USE OF LIFE



CHAP.



good talker is always welcome. Like every-
thing else, the art can be cultivated. No one
can expect to talk well without practice.

"The first ingredient of good talk," says
Sir William Temple, " is truth, the next good
sense, the third good-humour, and the fourth
wit," and the first three at any rate are in
the power of any one.

Many people have learned much of what
they know from conversation. " He that
questioneth much," says Bacon, " shall learn
much and content much ; but especially if he
apply his questions to the skill of the persons
whom he asketh ; for he shall give them occa-
sion to please themselves in speaking, and
himself shall continually gather knowledge."

We do not sufficiently cultivate in children,
or, for that matter, in ourselves either, the
sense of Beauty. Yet what pleasure is so
pure, so costless, so accessible, indeed so ever
present with us ! One man will derive the
keenest delight from scenery, trees and foli-
age, fruit and flowers, the blue sky, the fleecy
clouds, the sparkling sea, the ripple on the
lake, the gleam on the river, the shadows on



IV



RECREATION 75



the grass, the moon and stars at night. To
another, all this is nothing. The moon and
stars shine in vain ; Birds and Insects, Trees
and Flowers, River and Lake and Sea, Sun,
Moon, and Stars give him no pleasure.

" For of the Soule the bodie forme doth take ;
For Soule is forme, and doth the bodie make." 1

Our artificial colours are " good enough for
the splendour of lowly pride, but not good
enough for one wreath of perishing cloud,
nor one feather in a wild duck's wing." 2

" There is yet a light," says Ruskin, " which
the eye invariably seeks with a deeper feeling
of the beautiful, the light of the declining
or breaking day, and the flecks of scarlet
clouds burning like watchfires in the green
sky of the horizon." The colours of the sky
seem to lighten up the earth, and " the orange
stain on the edge of yonder western peak re-
flects the sunset of a thousand years." Sun-
sets are so beautiful that they almost seem
as if we were looking through the Gates of
Heaven.

1 Spenser. 2 Hamerton.



76 THE USE OF LIFE CHAP.

The Talmudic Commentators tell us that
in Manna every one found the taste he liked
best, and so in Nature every one who seeks
will find what he most enjoys.

I have no idea, however, of attempting to
exhaust the long list of true pleasures. And
where there are so many innocent pleasures,
why choose any which are bad, or even doubt-
ful? At any rate exhaust the good, if you
can : it will then be time enough to think of
others.

Those who have, as the saying is, " seen
life " and think they know " the world," are
very much mistaken ; they know less of the
realities of existence than many a peasant
who has never left his own parish, but has
used his eyes wisely there.

A life of indulgence, a " gay life," as it is
falsely called, is a miserable mockery of hap-
piness. Those who have fallen victims to it
complain of the world, when they have only
themselves to blame. " Lorsque les plaisirs
nous ont epuises, nous croy ons que .nous avons
epuise les plaisirs." l " I am young," said

1 Vauvenargues.



IV



RECREATION 77



De Musset, " I have passed but the half of the
road of life, and already weary, I turn and
look back." What a melancholy confession !
If he had lived wisely he would have looked
back with thankfulness, and forward with
hope.

The worth of a life is to be measured by
its moral value. " Further, the Soul and
Body make a perfect Man, when the Soul
commands wisely, or rules lovingly, and cares
profitably, and provides plentifully, and con-
ducts charitably that Body which is its part-
ner and yet the inferior. But if the Body
shall give Laws, and by the violence of the
appetite, first abuse the Understanding, and
then possess the superior portion of the Will
and Choice, the Body and the Soul are not
apt company, and the man is a fool and mis-
erable. If the Soul rules not, it cannot be
a companion : either it must govern or be a
slave." l

1 Jeremy Taylor.



CHAPTER V

HEALTH

THE soul is of course the noblest part of
man, but in the present conditions of our ex-
istence at any rate, it can only act through
and by the body. An amusing illustration
is afforded by the first experiment of our
great countryman, Faraday. He began life
as a boy in a chemist's shop, and being one
day sent to a customer, he could not make
any one hear when he rang the bell. He
put his head through the railings to try and
see whether any one was at home, and then
the question occurred to him, on which side
of the railings he really was? He decided
that a man was where his head was, but at
that moment the door was suddenly opened
before he could move out of the way, and
squeezed his leg against the railings, bringing

78



CHAP, v HEALTH 79

forcibly home to him the truth of the old
parable about the head and the other mem-
bers.

The conditions of our life render the study
of health now especially important. Our an-
cestors lived more in the country, more in the
open air, more in agricultural operations. We
are to a much greater extent concentrated in
cities, work much more in houses, shops and
factories ; our occupations are sedentary and
stooping, and are a greater tax on the brain
and nervous system. It can, I fear, hardly
be doubted that the people of our great cities
are less vigorous than their forefathers. No
one can drive through the poorer parts of
London, or any other great manufacturing
centre, without being struck by the want of
vitality, the pale faces, and narrow chests of
both men and women. Moreover, our very
sanitary improvements are in one respect a
danger, by keeping alive the weak and the
diseased. Much of the misery of disease is
due to causes which might be obviated by a
little care and attention, and some elementary
knowledge of the laws of health.



80 THE USE OF LIFE CHAP.

Even in the earliest times of which we have
any record, wise statesmen paid much atten-
tion to the subject of health. They realised
the great importance of the Mens sana in
corpore sano.

The care of our health is a sacred duty.
It is sometimes said that the hygienic rules of
Moses formed a considerable part of his relig-
ious teaching. This, I think, is hardly correct.
We must remember that what we have in the
Bible is a code of laws civil and social, as
well as religious. Nevertheless, the laws of
health, if not strictly a part of religion, have
always been regarded as coming near to it.
" What ! know ye not that your body is the
Temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you,
which ye have of God, and ye are not your
own ? " * The Egyptian reverence for the
body was wiser than the Mediaeval contempt,
and there is no inherent virtue, but really the
reverse, in rags and dirt.

The Greeks " made physical as well as in-
tellectual education a science as well as a
study. Their women practised graceful, and

i St. Paul.



v HEALTH 81

in some cases, even athletic exercises. They
developed, by a free and healthy life, those
figures which remain everlasting and unap-
proachable models of human beauty." r

" 7 Tis Life, not Death, for which we pant:
'Tis Life, whereof our nerves are scant :
More Life, and fuller, that we want."

Cleanliness is next to Godliness, says the
old proverb, and the modern discoveries in
medical science not only confirm the old
adage, but explain clearly the reason, and
show why it is so.

We now know that many diseases are not
primarily due to any abnormal condition of
the tissues, but are actual invasions by other
organisms; that cholera, small-pox, and prob-
ably several other diseases cannot originate
of themselves, but that the germs must be
planted in us. Hence the great importance
of cleanliness, not only in ourselves, but in
the houses we live in, the clothes we wear,
the water we drink, and the air we breathe.

The human body is indeed a standing mira-
cle ! Consider for a moment the marvellous

1 Kingsley.



82 THE USE OF LIFE CHAP.

amount of knowledge stored up in the brain !
Consider the rapidity with which the muscles
answer to the will ! Sir James Paget has
told us that a practised musician can play
on the piano at the rate of twenty-four notes
in a second. For each note a nerve current
must be transmitted from the brain to the
fingers, and from the fingers to the brain.
Each note requires three movements of a
finger, the bending down and raising up, and
at least one lateral, making, no less than
seventy-two motions in a second, each requir-
ing a distinct effort of the will, and directed
unerringly with a certain speed, and a certain
force, to a certain place.

The skin is a delicate and most elaborate
organ, built up of millions of cells, and con-
taining miles of veins, and ducts, capillaries
and nerves. It is continually renewing itself,
and to fulfil its functions properly, requires
a reasonable amount of care, and plenty of
water. The use of the brush is, moreover, al-
most as necessary for the skin as for the hair.

It may be said of many an invalid, as it
was by Milton of Hobson, that " ease was his
chief disease."



v HEALTH 83

" The luxuries of Campania weakened Han-
nibal, whom neither snows nor Alps could
vanquish : victorious in arms, he was con-
quered in pleasure." *

The senses, full of innocent delight as
they are, will no doubt, if we yield to
them, wreck us, like the Sirens of old, on the
rocks and whirlpools of life. We bring many
diseases on ourselves by errors of diet. The
word drink is often used as synonymous with
Alcohol the great curse of northern na-
tions. In some cases a valuable medicine,
but yet so great a temptation as to be the
source of probably half the sin and misery
and suffering of our countrymen. Honest
water never made any one a sinner, but crime
may almost be said to be concentrated alco-
hol. "Where Satan cannot go in person,"
says an old Jewish proverb, a he sends wine."

" Once the demon enters,

Stands within the door ;
Peace, and hope, and gladness
Dwell there never more." 2

"Wine," says Pliny, "maketh the hand
quiver, the eye watery, the night unquiet,

1 Seneca. 2 Challis.



84 THE USE OF LIFE CHAP.

evil dreams, a foul breath in the morning,
and an utter forgetfulness of all things." Sir
W. Raleigh quotes this passage, and adds,
" Whosoever loveth wine shall not be trusted
of any man, for he cannot keep a secret.
Wine inaketh man not only a beast, but a
madman ; and if thou love it, thy own wife,
thy children, and thy friends will despise
thee."

Shakespeare has several excellent passages
in condemnation of drink.

" Oh that men should put an enemy in their mouths
To steal away their brains ! that we
Should with joy, pleasance, revel and applause,
Transform ourselves into beasts."

"To be now a sensible man, by and by a
fool, and presently a beast." This is, how-
ever, really unfair to beasts.

On the other hand, how rich is the reward
of moderation !

" Though I look old yet am I strong and lusty :
For in my youth I never did apply
Hot and rebellious liquors to my blood.

Therefore my age is as a lusty winter,
Frosty, but kindly." l

1 Shakespeare



v HEALTH 85

Surprise has sometimes been expressed that
the evils of drunkenness are not more often
denounced in the Bible, but we must remem-
ber that it was written in a hot country.
Drunkenness is especially a vice of cold cli-
mates. It is, however, denounced by Solo-
mon

" Who hath woe ? Who hath sorrow ?
Who hath contentions ? Who hath babbling ?
Who hath wounds without cause ? Who hath red-
ness of eyes ?

They that tarry long at the wine ;
They that go to seek mixed wine.
Look not thou upon the wine when it is red,
When it giveth his colour in the cup :

At the last it biteth like a serpent,
And stingeth like an adder." T

There are some grounds for hope that
drunkenness is a decreasing evil. The
greater opportunities for intellectual occupa-
tions, the easier access to music, pictures and
books, the more respectable and comfortable
homes of our people, have done, and are
doing, much to encourage temperance.

1 Proverbs.



86 THE USE OF LIFE CHAP.

But if the evils of alcohol are more con-
spicuous, those of overeating are also very
common. Probably nine people out of ten
eat more than they need, more than is good
for them. An occasional feast matters little ;
it is the continual daily overloading ourselves
with food which is so injurious, so depressing.
It is easy to eat too much ; there is no fear
of eating too little.

Moderation should run through the whole
of life. " In truth, refining the gold of both
knowledge and vigour, it increases tenfold
the value of both, and adding gentleness to
strength, and temperance to enthusiasm, is
perhaps the great secret of success in work." 1

Moderation is strength, not weakness ; it
implies self-command and self-control.

Do not linger long over meals, but do not
eat quickly. It is said that you should
always rise from the table feeling as if you
would wish for more. The brain cannot
work if the stomach is full. " After dinner
rest awhile" is a good rule, but it is a poor
life if you eat so much that you have to rest

1 Miss Sewell.



v HEALTH 87

from one meal to another. Eat to live, but
do not live to eat. Long meals make short
lives.

When savages wish to become " medicine
men," one of the preparations is a long fast.
The result is an increased activity of the
nervous system, which they take for inspira-
tion. They carry it, no doubt, too far ; but
any one who tries, will find that he can do
better mental work if he keeps down the
amount of his food.

A light stomach, moreover, makes a light
heart. High feeding means low spirits, and
many people suffer as much from dyspepsia
as from all other ailments put together.

" Beware," says Bacon, " of any sudden
change in any great point of diet, and if
necessity enforce it, fit the rest to it, to be
free-minded and cheerfully disposed at hours
of meat, and of sleep and of exercise is the
best precept of long lasting."

" If you wish to be well," said Abernethy,
" you must live on 6d. a day, and earn it
yourself." This wise saying comprises in a
few words the requisites both as to diet and



88 THE USE OF LIFE CHAP.

as to exercise. You can buy, especially in
these cheap times, sufficient food for 6d.,
good wholesome food, but you cannot get
drunk, and you are not likely to overeat
yourself. It emphasises also the necessity of
exercise.

As we are now situated, scarcely any time
spent in the open air can be said to be
wasted. Such hours will not only be counted
in life, but will actually add to it, will tend
to make " your days long in the land." The
Romans had an excellent proverb " In aere
salus," and you can hardly be too much out
of doors.

Pure water is as important as fresh air.
Plenty of water, cold if you can stand it, and
both outside and in. Even what may seem
minor matters, such as attention to the teeth,
may make no small difference to the comfort
of life.

Health is much more a matter of habits
and of diet than of medicine. Our ancestors
used to take drugs to keep off disease. Not
only the College of Physicians, but even
Bacon, recommended them. Yet it was a



v HEALTH 89

radical error. Locke seems to have been the
first to point out the fallacy. The very name
of Medical Science seems to point to the use
of drugs. But if we live sensibly we shall
require to spend very little on medicine.

Give Nature fair play and let her alone.
" Do not," said Napoleon, " counteract the
living principle : leave it the liberty of de-
fending itself : it will do better than any
drugs."

With plenty of air, plenty of water, and
moderation in diet, most of us may enjoy the
glorious feeling of health and strength, and
even retain the spring of youth until far on
in age.

But health is not merely a matter of the
body. " Anger, hatred, grief and fear are
among the influences most destructive of
vitality." * And on the other hand, cheerful-
ness, good-humour, and peace of mind are
powerful elements of health.

We are told that Lycurgus dedicated a lit-
tle statue to the god of Laughter in each of
the Spartan eating-halls. Most people, said

1 Dr. Richardson.



90 THE USE OF LIFE CHAP.

Buffon, " might live to be older, but they die
of conceit and chagrin." He was speaking
of his own countrymen, but it is true of
others also.

When we are out of sorts things get on our
nerves, the most trifling annoyances assume
the proportions of a catastrophe. It is a
sure sign that we need rest and fresh air.

We often hear of over-pressure in children,
and of older people who have worked them-
selves to death. In most cases it is not hon-
est work, but excitement, worry, and anxiety
which rum the constitution. Idleness, dissi-
pation, and self-indulgence have killed many
more than good hard work. The brain re-
quires exercise as well as the muscles. If
you train yourself to early hours, temperance,
and wise habits, work, even hard work, if
only not excessive, will do you more good
than harm.

Most of us have at some time or another
to pass through a period of sleeplessness. It
is certainly most depressing ; one feels as if
some great misfortune were impending ; little
difficulties, which at other times it would be



v HEALTH 91

a pleasure to surmount, appear insuperable;
the mind seems to fly from everything pleas-
ant, and broods over anything which has
gone, or possibly may go, wrong. Do not,
however, despair ; I believe sleeplessness
never killed any one. But above all do not
take drugs ; that is the real danger. Be as
little in the house, and as much out of doors
as you possibly can, take things as easily as
you may, and depend upon it, the blessing
of sleep will one day return. If it has not
lasted too long, you will be to a great extent
repaid, for you will have learnt to know the
blessing of sleep, which as a rule we do not
half appreciate.

Many bodily ailments have their origin in
the mind. Medical men have not to consider
physical symptoms only, but will often find
themselves face to face with the question

"Canst thou not minister to a mind diseased;
Pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow ;
Raze out the written troubles of the brain;
And with some sweet oblivious antidote,
Cleanse the stuff' d bosom of that perilous stuff,
Which weighs upon the heart ? " l

1 Shakespeare.



92 THE USE OF LIFE CHAP.

Moreover, health is not only a great ele-
ment of happiness, but it is essential to good
work. It is not merely wasteful but selfish
to throw it away.

It is impossible to do good work, at any
rate, it is impossible to do our best, if we
overstrain ourselves. It is bad policy, because
all work done under such circumstances will
inevitably involve an additional period of
quiet and rest afterwards; but apart from
this, work so done will not be of a high
quality, it will show traces of irritability and
weakness : the judgment will not be good :
if it involves co-operation with others there
will be great possibility of friction and mis-
understandings. Let any one try to make a
sketch, and he will see at once that his hand
is not steady, not under proper control, and
this is not merely a matter of muscular
fatigue, but of nervous exhaustion. Labour
ought to be enjoyed ; and to enjoy it, we
must work steadily and energetically, but not
incessantly, not neglecting food and rest,
exercise and holidays.

The weakening and lowering tendency of



v HEALTH 93

ill-health is especially marked when it is self-
incurred. On the other hand, there are some
who, through no fault of their own, are born
to a life of suffering. It almost seems in such
cases as if Nature often compensates for the
weakness of the body by the clearness and
brightness of the mind. We have all met
some great sufferers, whose cheerfulness and
good-humour are not only a lesson to us who
enjoy good health, but who seem to be, as it
were, raised and consecrated by a life of suf-
fering.



CHAPTER VI

NATIONAL EDUCATION

FROM the earliest times of which we have
any record, the wisest of men have urged the
importance of education. 1

" Of all treasure," says the Hitopadesa,
" knowledge is the most precious, for it can
neither be stolen, given away, nor consumed."
'< Education," says Plato, "is the fairest thing
that the best of men can ever have."

Montaigne stated broadly that ignorance
was " the mother of evil." " Learning," said
Fuller, " is the greatest alms that can be
given." 2 " Pouvoir, " said a French moralist,
"sans savoir est fort dangereux." An igno-
rant life must always be comparatively a dull

1 It is, however, rather remarkable that so far as I know
there has been no book expressly written for children until
quite within recent years.

2 Fuller's Worthies.

94



CHAP, vi NATIONAL EDUCATION 95

one. It has been well said that Man needs
knowledge, not merely as a means of liveli-
hood, but as a means of life.

Petrarch said that what he cared for most
was to learn, and Shakespeare probably ex-
pressed his own .views in the words which he
put into the mouth of Lord Say, that

" Ignorance is the curse of God ;
Knowledge the wing wherewith we fly to heaven."

Solomon in a beautiful passage tells us
that

" Happy is the man that findeth wisdom,

And the man that getteth understanding:
For the merchandise of it is better than the mer-
chandise of silver,

And the gain thereof than fine gold.
She is more precious than rubies :

And all the things thou canst desire

Are not to be compared unto her.
Length of days is in her right hand ;

And in her left hand riches and honour.
Her ways are ways of pleasantness,

And all her paths are peace." l

And again

" Wisdom is the principal thing ; therefore get wisdom :
And with all thy getting get understanding."

1 Proverbs.



96 THE USE OF LIFE CHAP.

And yet the prevailing opinion was long in
the opposite direction, especially as regards
girls. There was a German saying that the
wardrobe was the library of women, and a
French proverb that girls should be kept either
within the four evangelists or four walls. It is
not so long since it was thought that neither
poor people on the one hand, nor gentlemen
on the other, had anything to do with edu-
cation. It was supposed to be a mere mat-
ter for priests and monks. The very word
"clerk" conveys this idea.

Even so wise and good a man as Dr. John-
son laid it down almost as a self-evident
axiom, that if every one learnt to read it
would be impossible to find any one who
would do the manual work of the world. Dr.
Johnson was a great literary authority, and
did not realise the dignity of labour.

That was one stage. A second was that
education had special reference to the business
of life. That it was necessary to be careful lest
children should be raised above their station.
That reading, writing, and arithmetic only,


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