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What to do with Old People.

«What to do with our boys,' is not alone the burning social question of the hour if Professor E. Max Muller, as a man of science and devotion, is to be accepted as an authority. To the New Review he contributes a paper bearing the above title. He hazards the assumption that a great menace to the welfare of society is found m the fact that, after passing the age of maturity, people mist on keeping right on living, and not only tbat, but cling to the property they have acquired and the positions they have attained long after the younger generation are fully ready to come into succession. Professor Muller tells of the ancient Indian system embodied m the laws of the Manovas. . According to this, the life of a male of caste \v;us divided into four periods—that of education, extending it least to 20 and sometimes to 40 years. Enforced celibacy and a form of honourable servitude attended this time When the lirahman received his sheepskin; ;]ie at once took a wife and entered *ip6n his second period, taking active part m aftaira and performing »fr the duties of his caste.

When his children had grown up to manhood, and his own hair turned grey, it was deemed time for hijn to, give up all his superfluous property to his sons and return to a lodge m the forest. There he could have the company of his wife, and be visited by his friends. Ho took no part m affairs, but, if his opinion was asked, was allowed to give counsel. Even here, however, he could only stay for a time, and when signs of real decrepitude came. was compeUe.4~Jtp,*go far away into the remote forest, alone, unsheltered, and Without food, to await death by .exposure'starvation, or the wild'beasts. . FroJessof'fluller seems to regard this final regulation as somewhat severe.^ . The author then speaks —not as an advocate 'of the custom, but. quite; judicially—of the habit of nomadic tribes who kill any of their number too weak ito tikvel, and of our yeomen ancestors, who reduced their old people" to 'the most menial work, and m the very early days ' removed them when they ceased to be useful.' He also says that storks, when preparing for migration, .kill any sick or crippled birds that might be m the flock. Prof. Muller does not want to kill, the old men of the modern world, but, he wants them to <get out of the way m due season. -, jWhen their children are grown .he wants the property divided ; and i|v business, the learned professions; and m our schools, he wants the gray beard to step aside. He is, not confident even of the wisdom of'ftge. It has been'said that a man fancies he knows more than his own father until he reaches the age of 40, and it then begins to dawn upon him that he knows little or nothing. Prof. Muller evidently holdsdifferentopinion.

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Bibliographic details

What to do with Old People., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2532, 1 October 1890

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What to do with Old People. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2532, 1 October 1890

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