THE DISPLAY OF DISEASE

THE desire to know about things is a very spontaneous and fundamental impulse of human nature, and when it is educated into a lively interest in everything that is good and beautiful, it becomes a pilot of discovery, a prophet of growth. When, however, it degenerates into an attraction for the gruesome and the distorted, it is both an evidence and an occasion of moral degradation. One is led to think of all this by the fact that never in the history of the press has so much space and display-type been devoted to events that are tragic and unclean. Not only do papers openly cater to the demands of a depraved taste, but one frequently finds editorial expressions of self-gratulation that some dreadful event or some slanderous suspicion has been placarded by their organ hours in advance of other publications!

Further evidence of this sense of degeneracy is presented in the ever-increasing public exploitation of disease, its laws, likelihood, and phenomena. Whatever the justification of such a course, from their point of view, by physicians who are seeking, as best they know, to lesson humanity's suffering, to turn this tide of thought about disease into all the channels of human consciousness is to prepare the soil and plant the seed of every earthly ill, and for this offense there is absolutely no palliation. In the fields of art and literature also the picturing of degraded types has reached a point which leads Stopford Brooke to say, "We are flooded to-day with poems of despair, verse which boasts that it describes the real when it describes the base, which takes the vulture's pleasure in the corruptions of society."

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Editorial
LECTURE IN THE MOTHER CHURCH
October 17, 1908
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