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terial advantage-but I am not at all the art of conversation, and it is this convinced that this is to be deplored. that makes them such interesting Often you will go for an all-day ramble companions. I used to wonder wby i: up some grassy plateau which rises was that even small gatherings at gradually toward the mountains, home were usually so tedious. To be climbing on and on until you reach sure, words flowed perpetually, but a vantage point where, on the one they had little significance or inter. hand, you have a view into the depths est. We were bored with each other of a great valley dappled with the without knowing why. The trouble shadows of the clouds; and, on the was, I think, that we did not know other, of the palm-clad lowlands and how to talk or what to talk about. the broad lagoons beyond; and, be- Things and events alone had imporyond them again, of the sea-50, 60 tance as matter for conversation; 30 miles of blue sea. There, listening to we discussed them, and, if you had the silence, busy with your own had the courage and the patience, you thoughts or deep in fathomless rev. might have sat through an endless erie, you will sit until evening, sur- number of those so-called conversa prised that evening comes so soon; tions without hearing so much as a and the strange thing from the old, fleeting reference to an idea. high-latitude point of view is that The best method of getting things such a waste of time brings not anxi. done at home is to set aside a day for ety but peace of mind. It is easy to doing them. We have Mother's Day believe that you have been fulfilling, when we must think of our mothers, during those long hours of idleness, a and Father's Day when we must think small but important function in the of our fathers. Well, why not have scheme of things. On such days you an Idea Day when those who are too are convinced that loafing is.a virtue busy during the rest of the year think and that three-fourths of the unhappi. and talk ideas to the exclusion of ness of the world is caused by the everything else? fact that men have forgotten how to My experience leads me to believe loaf.

that good talk is likely to result, even The strange thing, to me, is that in groups of quite ordinary individu. so few people seem to want any soli- als, when favorable conditions lead to tude. They fly from it as though it favorable occasions. In Tahiti one has were the wrath to come, and seem to ample leisure, not only to talk, but have lost the capacity for being aloue to think between periods of talk. Men even during very brief periods.

come together after weeks or months Optimism is a crowd quality, and it of solitude, their minds surcharged is only fair to say that during my with energy, their opinions carefully residence in Tahiti I have met but weighed and sorted against the time very few optimists. I have often won. when they may be brought forth in dered why it is that this small island company. During their lonely medishould draw so many authentic pess- tations, they are seized by great conimists. They are of all nationalities, victions or great doubts, and to share from every walk of life, men of edu- these is as necessary to them as cation, men of no education; but, di. breathing. The moment two or three verse as they are in many respects, of them meet, the conversation imthey have two qualities in common: mediately centers around ideas, for they are all interesting men, and all things are conspicuous only by their are suffering from disillusionment. absence, events by the rarity of their Almost without exception, these men occurrence. What a satisfaction it is are lookers-on at life, out of sympathy to escape the dominance of thingswith the spirit of their times; and so, not to be perpetually reminded of not being able to act with any enthusi- them, stimulated to think of them or asm, they talk.

to want them, or to acquire them with: Many of them, through years of out wanting them! Very few peopie practice, have become past masters in here have accumulated possessions.


As for the pessimists I have been speaking of, nearly all have achieved añuence in the Diogenic sense, esti. mating their wealth in terms of the things they can do without.

Although not yet among the truly opulent ones in this sense, I live much more cheaply than would be possible, eren for a journalist, in America. In fact, my scale of living is about that of a small mechanic-even that of a day laborer-at home.

My disillusioned friends are great readers, and this is another important minor advantage of living here: one bas both the leisure and the inclination to read extensively. Most men Fould agree that literature is the finest of the arts, music alone except. ed. If this is true, then the time one gives to the reading of good books should be considerable, and here it is 80.

In America, although I got through many books during the course of a year, it was reading with the eyes for the most part-rarely were mind and spirit fully engaged. There were 100 many distractions, and even when most deeply absorbed I was conscious all the while of the likelihood of interruption, so that I entered only halfheartedly the world of the imagina. tion, like a doctor who goes to the theater expecting at any moment to be called away. For reading, one must have solitude and the assurance of treedom from interruption, and in Tabiti as nowhere else I have been able to fulfill both of these conditions. I have a small house which stands on a peninsula about an acre in extent. No road passes through it-only a footpath used by two or three native families. The house faces the sea, Filth a no: thwest exposure, and the bearest neigubors in that direction are some 800 miles away. Those to the right and left are closer at hand,

but they are the most discreet and thoughtful of neighbors and never intrude. Often I see no one for days, and in the secluded, sunny silence of the place it is easy to imagine that I am living on an otherwise uninhabired island. Here, many a time, securo from interruption, I have read for a solid week-mornings, afternoons, evenings, living in books more intensely than I have ever lived in the world of reality.

There is one more reason for living in Tahiti which has great weight with me: in a small island world one way comprehend all individual, social, and political activity at a glance. This adds enormously to the pleasure of living. One is bewildered by the complexity of life on a great continent. Here there is diversity without complexity, a mingling of races comparable to that_in America, but on a small scale. To visit the Tahiti market of an early morning is to see the world in miniature: Polynesians, Chinese, French, English, Americans, Russians, Danes, Scandinavians; and it is of endless interest to see how these di. verse elements accommodate them. selves to their environment and to each other. But the ultimate result of this mingling is already clearly ap. parent. Within 50 years tb Chinese have conquered Tahiti as completely as they will conquer all of French Polynesia well before the conclusion of this century.

But the Pacific is wide, and spangled with islands as the sky with stars. Although there is but one Tahiti, other crumbs of land exist where the anar. chists may still find solitude and peace of mind, scaling lofty mountains for a distant view of the world, or walking lonely beaches, deep in unprofit. able thought.


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(Continued from Page 6) The tailor boss called him over to talk with us. The young fellow thrust his hand out at me confidently and he looked me square in the eye, smiling. He was the new American criminal personified; the laughing, 20th century, thrill-hunting kiíler of our great cities. He had gone to high school and had stood well there. But his fall from honesty had been sudden.

"Some of these young lifers," an. other warden told me, "keep on kidding and joking and don't seem even to realize they're in prison. And lots of them seem to think they're heroes because they are in prison."

They take nothing seriously, these new criminals. One warden, who, ac. cording to prison rules, must censor all letters, read me a letter which a young "dude bandit," who had nine years of the penitentiary before him for robbery, had written to his girl in Chicago. There wasn't a serious word or a decent thought in that "love letter."

Warden Preston E. Thomas of the Ohio State Peniteatiary, one of Ameri. ca's old-timers in prison work, described this new criminal to me: “The old-time safe blower or burglar took the greatest pains not to have a dan. gerous weapon on his person. He didn't want to kill. He didn't want a gun or even a large knife. He wanted to be able to prove to the police, if he was caught, that he had not intended to murder; that he planned to run away rather than fight it out with his victim.

"But these days it's different. The first thing these young fellows do 18 to get a gun. They intend to use it. They don't depend on their skill or their wits or their physical strength

not these little hair-polished rats. They depend entirely on their revoly: ers and on killing."

Even the old-time crooks cannot understand these young criminals. For instance, the old-time crook had few slang words that dealt with shoot. ing. The word "croak," meaning to kill, was about the only slang for murder.

A "rod" in the new slang, means it revolver. A "stick" means the same thing. "Unhook it" is a signal to shoot. “Give him the works" is an order to pour bullets into the body of a victim. “Step on it" means “pull the trigger." There is terribie meaning behind each light and easy phrase of murder slang.

“Can you walk?” is a question meaning "Are you brave enough to risk going to the electric chair?" To say you "can't walk" is to admit that you're afraid to kill.

"Capital punishment is a terrible thing," Warden Thomas told me, "but I believe there are times when it is justified. When three or four of these young new crooks get together, and talk about getting their ‘rods' into shape and pick out the one of their number who is to give the signals and the one who is to pull the trigger which will give some citizen "the works, it seems to me that you have the highest possible essence of premeditated murder.”

Warden Thomas describes our new young criminals as "young fellows who have lost their feelers." They seem without any of the attributes that come from emotion. "What's the matter with most of them!” I asked him. “They never had any home life,” he answered.

A Binder, specially designed to hold twelve copies of The Reader's Digest, is supplied for the convenience of subscribers at cost price, $1.50 postpaid, returnable if it does not please you. It is strongly made of red buckram, with THE READER'S DIGEST in gold letters on the back.

Bridging Schools with Life

Condensed from The Review of Reviews (March "26)

Charles A. McMurray, Peabody College for Teachers

HE curriculum of the common



mushroom, expanding from year to year with the influx of new studies. The result is that it is gorged with an excessive quantity of knowledge. Our children have no such omniverous appetite for learning. Besides, this overfeeding forbids proper assimilation. By common consent the first necessity is reduction or simpliScation.

Progressive schools are now blazing a new trail by organizing the course of study


few thought-centers in the leading studies. Typical projects drawn from life constitute these centers. A miscellaneous collection of detached facts, no matter how numerous or bow important, can never take the place of one of these strategic centers of organized knowledge. Such thought-centers, with their unity and broad perspective, furnish a means for mastering the world.

The Muscle Shoals project, as a hydro-electric power station, is dealt with (in the sixth or seventh grade) in a fully elaborated classroom treatment. The dam and power house are presented as an object-lesson in the control and use of river power for doing man's heaviest work. Agriculture demands the nitrates as cheap fertilizer for worn-out lands. The cities within a radius of 200 miles require cheap power for all kinds of manuiacturing, lighting, etc. The railroads can use electricity for transportation. As a substitute for coal, water power is rising into vast importance. The dams and locks would

open cheap transport for heavy - freight on the Tennessee River. The

South and, io some extent, the whole

country is affected by Muscle Shoals.

By comparing the power at Muscle Shoals with other water powers at Keokuk, at Niagara, at Great Falls, and on dozens of rivers, the national eignificance of hydroelectric power begins to reveal itself in full measure. An elaborate treatment of this important topic surprises boys and girls with a view of new forces at work in our modern world. We do not need to be told that these youngsters respond with open eyes and ardent minds.

The progrtesive school is thus beginning to deal with life problems in their full setting and in their native habitat. In this kind of study children are not trying to memorize words and phrases. They are getting experience. They are dealing with home and community interests at first hand. Their thoughts are taking root in life. They are getting a clear intelligence about necessary activities and arrangements in the surrounding world. The structure and organization of our modern society are gradually unfolding theinselves to the minds oỉ the children.

An illustration, drawn from school studies, is the steel industry at Pittsburgh. One of the large companies has its own iron mines in Northern Minnesota. Its operatives dig and load the ore upon the company cars and send it to Lake Superior ports. The company vessels transport it to Cleveland. From Cleveland it is transferred by cars to Pittsburgh. Unloaded at the steel works, it is fed into blast-furnaces and converted into pig-iron. Still molten, it is carried by ladles to the converters and changed into steel. Passing under great rollers it comes out in steel

plates, rails, and special shapes re- tion of knowledge. They think they quired for buildings, bridges, etc. The must learn a great number of facts same company has offices in the about each of a great multiplicity of larger cities where draftsmen are at subjects. This is a serious mistake, work making plans for steel con- because it tends to convert the school struction and sending in the orders into a droning misery instead of a to Pittsburgh. From its own coal happy hunting ground. For example: mines coal and coke are brought by boat to the furnaces.

An elaborate type study of the ear

ly history and later enlargements of If one traces the steps in this pro

the Erie Canal, brought into comcess through its whole course and

parison with other canals and traffic sees the relation of all these parts

routes, illuminates a hundred years in their orderly progress, one can

of the marvelous growth of this couneasily grasp the meaning of this

try in commerce, population and whole industry in its relation to busi

wealth. ness and to life. Taken as a whole, it is an almost perfect type of the

The graphic story of the life and same steel industry at Cleveland, at

adventures of Daniel Boone, comGary, at South Chicago, at Birming

pared later with several others, will ham, Ala., in England, and on the

throw into a clear light the whole Ruhr in Germany. Briefly, this 11

story of the backwoodsmen who lustrates what we mean by a large

crossed the mountains and took posunit of instruction, organized into a

session of that important domain natural whole, duplicating life.

west of the Alleghanies. But the school is accustomed to A careful study of the vertebrate handle this topic not as one unit but structure of the horse, followed by a in fragments. The steel industry at comparison with the like structure Pittsburgh is discussed in one place of a bird, a fish, a frog, and a few in the book, lake shipping in another, other backbone animals will furnish iron mines elsewhere, the coal mines coinprehensive interpretation of somewhere else, Pittsburgh, the city, this division of the animal kingdom. in still another connection.

The reconstruction of Vienna is a Our present bulky curriculum has

striking type and demonstration of outgrown all reasonable limits. A

the change that has taken place in complete relief can be had from this

the cities of Europe during the last miscellaneousness and bulkiness by

century. the wise selection of the few centers

These life projects bring to the around which to organize knowledge.

front the things that children find A few main topics or types, well mas

attractive and bave a right to be tered, are far better than an endless

interested in. The big outside world multitude of bare facts, scattered and

is always powerful magnet to disjointed. We must learn to be

children. Compared with this, textsatisfied with the best possible samples and not try to gobble up every

books and school exercises are quite

on a lower plane. thing. Fortunately the vast world of knowledge is simple, because, in its Moreover, these life projects are whole structure, it is built on this full of action. They are not tame, principle of types. The illustrative Jifeless data. They have in them the case, fully understood, is the inter

same energy that is pulsing in the rreter or explainer of a multitude of minds of children. The schoolmassimilar cases. Know one thing well ter should learn that the children and you will quickly interpret a are all the time trying to break out million.

from their narrow limits to make Our children and teachers are now

connection with this active, on-gooppressed by the quantitative concep- ing world.



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