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Dr. Dewey's Theory.-Now also we are able to see the truth and limitations of Dr. Dewey's theory. We know now that the true interests of society consist in the increase of precisely this “spiritual wealth,”1 and we understand that we must learn how to contribute to it, and do our utmost to promote it, because in this way only can we attain to a realization of our best self. Aristotle was wiser than Dr. Dewey. The Greek philosopher saw that no deeper reason for any course of activity could possibly be assigned than that through it only could one's true self find expression. Dr. Dewey writes as though the promotion of the interests of society were an end in itself; as though the interests of society could be made intelligible until one understands the interests of individuals, as though the interests of society could be of ultimate significance until one has found the ultimate value in the life of the individual.
From this standpoint, also, we are able to see the truth and error in the contention of the educational Philistine. “Give us the three R's,” he says; “they are the essential things.” They certainly are essential. The first error of the Philistine consists in supposing that nothing else counts; the second, in the assumption that the life to which they minister is the life of the body. We want the three R's for the sake of the mind, and we want everything else that can contribute to its well-being. The pagan Plato saw that religion, art, science, literature, government, life itself may be utilized in the development of the growing mind.
The Constituents of Rational Living : Knowledge. - It will, perhaps, serve to give greater definiteness to our conception if we note the constituents of the complete or rational life for which education is to prepare us.
1 The phrase is George Eliot's.
The first one, manifestly, is knowledge. All the goods of the world, whether ultimate or subordinate, are attainable only by mediate processes. Health, for example, is a good; but in order to regain it, if we have lost it, we must do and leave undone a great many things. What shall we do? what shall we avoid ? Evidently without some knowledge of the laws of health we are absolutely in the dark. And so it is with everything else that we would accomplish. Whether we would teach school, or build a house, or manage a farm, or conduct a bank, or carry on a government, without knowledge we can do nothing.
Intellectual Power.— But if we have knowledge and knowledge only, we are almost helpless. We can acquire a knowledge of the laws of health from books and lectures. But how much and what to eat, how much exercise and how much sleep we require, no one can tell us. We learn those things through reflection upon the laws of health and through our own experience. We can learn from teachers and books the laws of the mind. But laws of the mind will not apply themselves. No amount of knowledge of them will tell us what we shall teach this particular child at this particular time, or how we shall discipline him when he goes astray. We can learn, also, from books and lectures the facts of history and some of the facts that underlie them. But this knowledge alone will not enable any one to say with certainty whether it was wise for the United States to acquire the Philippine Islands. One's opinion on that subject must be the result of reflection. In a word, intelligent, rational living requires not oniy knowledge, but reflection, and that of a kind which is only possible to a well-trained mind.
A Cultivated Emotional Nature. - Once more: it is not enough to have the knowledge bearing upon any department of activity, and to be able to apply the laws that underlie it to particular cases. As the late Thomas Davidson put it : “It is perfectly obvious as soon as it is pointed out, that all criminal life is due to a false distribution of affection, which again is often, though by no means always, due to a want of intellectual cultivation. He that attributes to anything a value greater or less than it really possesses in the order of things has already placed himself in a false relation to it, and will certainly, when he comes to act with reference to it, act criminally.” We shall realize at once what Davidson meant if we recall the methods employed by many men to get rich. Why do they do it ? Because they care too much for wealth ; because they put upon it a valuation far in excess of what it really possesses.
An Effective Will. — But a man may have knowledge, a disciplined intellect, properly trained emotions, and still not act intelligently. Take the case of Coleridge. He certainly lacked neither knowledge nor the power to apply it, and there is no evidence to show that he did not estimate the goods of life at their proper worth. But the weakness of his will prevented him from holding the values of things steadily before his mind and governing his action accordingly. These four, then, knowledge, discipline, a true estimate of the values of things, an effective will, are the constituents of rational living. He who apprehends the great ends of life, who knows the facts in those departments of knowledge in which he is obliged to act in order to attain those ends, and the principles that underlie them ; who has the ability to apply those principles to the various cases that present themselves in the course of his daily life; whose emotional nature is so trained that his love for things is in proportion to their proper worth, and whose will impels him to control his actions accordingly, he alone is the educated man, for he alone is capable of living rationally.
QUESTIONS ON THE TEXT. 1. What blunder did the old Greeks make ?
2. In what sense may the earning of a livelihood be regarded as incidental to the service of society ?
3. What is the meaning of the quotation from Ruskin ?
4. Show that the various elements of Mr. Spencer's conception of complete living become clear in the light of our conclusions.
5. State and illustrate the various constituents of rational living.
SUGGESTIVE QUESTIONS. 1. Do you know any men who render important services to society without compensation ?
2. What statement made in the text do they illustrate ?
3. Can you cite examples from your own observation which prove the truth of Ruskin's opinion ?
4. Mr. Spencer writes as though the only knowledge needed to train the mind wisely is the knowledge of psychology ; is he right?
5. How does it happen that so many parents and teachers who are ignorant of psychology have considerable success in training children ?
6. The mind of every teacher, according to the classifications of psychology, consists of intellect, sensibility, and will; which of these have to do with the education of the pupil in Mr. Spencer's opinion?
7. In what way is a child affected by knowing what his father likes and dislikes ?
8. How do you account for this? 9. Apply your conclusions to Mr. Spencer's theory of education.
THE END OF ELEMENTARY EDUCATION.
“LIFE is so strange," says an old song; and few things about it are stranger than the conflict between the demands of the intellect and the exigencies of practical life. The theoretically desirable is so rarely the practically possible ! Theoretically it would seem that we ought to spend our lives in reflection, the contemplation of beauty, and so on; practically we have to measure calico, wash dishes, and hoe
Theoretically it would appear that every one ought to have money and capacity enough to get a thorough university education; as a matter of fact from ninety to ninety-five per cent of our children never get beyond the elementary school, and the remarkable thing is that the capacity and the pecuniary circumstances of many of them probably make it undesirable for them to go farther.
Material and Intellectual Needs. — This fact must exercise a controlling influence in determining the purpose of elementary education. Mr. Booker T. Washington wisely insists that the crying need of his race is industrial education, an education that will improve the material condition
If a conflict could arise between the material and the spiritual needs of our elementary pupils, if it were necessary for us to choose between a sacrifice of the training that looks toward the earning of a living and that which lays emphasis on the cultivation of the mind, it
of the negro.