Front Page Titles (by Subject) 379.: BAIN'S ON THE APPLICATIONS OF SCIENCE TO HUMAN HEALTH AND WELL-BEING EXAMINER, 2 SEPT., 1848, P. 565 - The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume XXV - Newspaper Writings December 1847 - July 1873 Part IV
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379.: BAIN’S ON THE APPLICATIONS OF SCIENCE TO HUMAN HEALTH AND WELL-BEING EXAMINER, 2 SEPT., 1848, P. 565 - John Stuart Mill, The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume XXV - Newspaper Writings December 1847 - July 1873 Part IV 
The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, XXV - Newspaper Writings December 1847 - July 1873 Part IV, ed. Ann P. Robson and John M. Robson, Introduction by Ann P. Robson and John M. Robson (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1986).
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BAIN’S ON THE APPLICATIONS OF SCIENCE TO HUMAN HEALTH AND WELL-BEING
Alexander Bain (1818-1903), Mill’s friend and future biographer, who had written for the Westminster and helped Mill to revise his Logic, had held several posts as lecturer in moral and natural philosophy in Scottish universities. The pamphlet here reviewed was the first of four lectures, all on the same subject, which he had given at the Edinburgh Philosophic Institution in 1847. Mill’s review, in the “Literary Examiner,” is headed “On the Applications of Science to Human Health and Well-being, being a Lecture, introductory to a Course ‘on the Application of Physics to Common Life,’ delivered at the Edinburgh Institution in June, 1847. By Alexander Bain, [London:] A.M. Taylor [in fact, John J. Griffin]. [Glasgow: Richard Griffin, 1848.]” This review is not in Mill’s bibliography, but may be confidently attributed to him on the basis of the comment by Bain: “Chadwick had the fancy that my introductory lecture to the Edinburgh Course would be a recommendation in procuring the official consent to my being appointed [to the Metropolitan Sanitary Commission]. Accordingly, I threw off a number of copies, and gave them as presents, and exposed some for sale with Griffin, the publisher. John Mill prepared a notice of the lecture in the Examiner newspaper.” (Bain, Autobiography [London: Longmans, Green, 1904], p. 197n.)
there is no more popular subject at present than the applications of physical science; and there can be none more appropriate for a popular lecturer, combining as it does an inexhaustible store of wonders with a direct influence on the most obvious and universal interests of life. Few persons are so competent to treat this class of topics usefully and attractively, as Mr. Bain. His knowledge of the leading departments of physical science is accurate and profound; and he has a happy faculty for clearly explaining and familiarly illustrating what he knows. To these he adds the still rarer attribute, of a mind which looks ever through and beyond its immediate subject; scrupulously exact in details, yet not treating them like a mere man of detail, but as materials towards building up a nobler and happier scheme of human existence.
These general ideas and aspirations naturally come most distinctly to view in the present publication, which is but an introductory lecture. The following extract is illustrative of this portion of the author’s views:
There are two great stages in the progress of the various arts and productive occupations of human life. The earliest set of devices are derived from men’s ordinary and unassisted observation of the usual course of nature. The methods of mining, building, ploughing, sowing, spinning, dyeing, metal working, carrying from place to place, navigating, and so forth, are got at after trying many different methods and implements until it is seen that some answer better than the rest, these being once approved of, are then handed down to posterity, and they may often remain unchanged for a long course of ages. In fact, unassisted reason soon comes to a stand-still; as we see in such nations as the Hindoos and Chinese, who have never reached scientific methods of acquiring a knowledge of Nature. The second stage of progress is entered on, when, by the perfection of the knowledge-seeking art, the hidden laws of things are brought to light, and a vast number of additional properties discovered in the various objects of the world; when, for instance, by looking into the composition of vegetable bodies, and into the matters making up the soil that nourishes them, we can specifically and exactly suit the one to the other, instead of depending on a vague experience of gross results. On this second stage the European world entered last century, in regard to the mechanical arts; so that, in fact, we are only beginning to develop the vast resources of our planet, and we have now to look forward to a long and unremitted series of improvements.
But I must next call your attention to the difference between the Arts of Life, and the Art of Living,—or between man’s powers in farming, building, manufacturing and trading, and his ability to apply the results of all these to his own life and well-being; for this is the final intention of such manifold labours. Because we have very much improved the Arts of Life, it does not follow that we have equally improved the Art of Living. We may increase our abundance of the things that are useful and good, without acquiring the skill to apply them in proper measure, and in well-timed arrangement to the highly complex structure and constitution of our living framework.
It is, beyond all question, desirable that each one of us should contrive our arrangements and daily ongoings so as to make the very most of life; to render our existence as rich and effective, and great and brilliant, as it can be made; to combine the choicest enjoyments with the most wide-ranging and beneficial activity. Now it is only by knowledge and skill going along with adequate force of resolution, that we can so use the resources of the world on the one hand, and so control the impulses of our own nature on the other, as to maintain the highest possible pitch of vitality, and cause a constant current of our finest emotions and activities.
The Art of Living is the method of stretching out the resources of the world to the measure of human wants, desires, and capabilities. Each person has to consider his own peculiar situation and framework, and to select from among his possessions and opportunities, what will do most to yield him a grand and beautiful existence. We have all a certain command of what supports and gratifies body and mind; we have our homes, our city, our companions, our books, our means of accomplishment and instruction, our walks and excursions, the face of nature, the inspiration of art, the ongoings of the world, and many other things capable of influencing us to our very inmost being; on the other side, we are liable to burdens and toils, to violent shocks and slow miseries, to weariness and depression, to temptations and failures; and it becomes our task to dispose all these things to the making our lives joyous rather than grievous, powerful and benignant, rather than empty and hurtful.
After showing the insufficiency of merely empirical observation, without a scientific study of the powers of nature to form an adequate basis for the regulation of life, the author continues:
That the Art of Living has not yet come to great perfection is testified by the deplorable experience of the human race. The perplexity, and discord, and difficulties of life have been the theme of complaints that ring through all the ages of men; yielding Cynic and Stoic philosophies, self-inflicted tortures and immolations, voluntary banishment from the world, gloomy speculations, suicides and crimes. It is surely worth while trying whether a better knowledge of the actual course of things, and of the beneficial agencies wrapt up in the womb of nature, may not help, among other causes, to stem such a torrent of despair, and prove the possibility of a great and harmonious existence for man.
For this end we are anxious that the Art of Living should be based, not as heretofore, upon vague experience, however extensive, but on the well-sifted and thoroughly tested experience that constitutes our Exact Sciences. And it is a satisfaction to know that several of these sciences have already yielded important contributions to this great practical object.
A brief survey follows of what has been done, and of much more which is yet to be done by the various sciences, in furnishing means to lighten the burdens and increase the enjoyments and powers of human existence; not omitting the, as yet, infant sciences of the human mind and of human society.
A brief syllabus is annexed of the course, consisting of four lectures, of which the one now published was the first. The topics treated appear to have been chiefly the application to the health and comfort of life, and of what science has ascertained respecting the laws and properties of heat, water, air, and the effects of action and repose. A portion of the second lecture is given at length, relating to the bath and its uses, which affords a favourable idea of the lecturer’s talent for popular exposition of the details of his subject.